Paint Like A Pro

13. Paper the windows
When painting wood windows and sills in a humid climate like we have here in the Deep South, leave the windows open to dry for a day, then put waxed paper across the sill and close the sash. The paint will cure without sticking.—Cathi Gray, Gulfport, Miss.

14. Mask off the floor
Before you nail down shoe molding at the baseboard, put a strip of painter's paper between the molding and the floor. Then you won't have to tape off the floor when you paint. After you're done, cut off the paper. No one will ever know it's there. —Mark Shearman, Philadelphia

15. Note the paint color
Keep the paint names for each room handy by writing each name on a piece of tape and sticking it behind the light-switch cover plate. —Robert Socha, Green Lake, Wis.

16. Bag the paint tray
Put your roller tray inside a drawstring kitchen trash bag and pull the strings tight, then pour the paint into the tray as usual. After painting, turn the bag inside out so that the paint is inside. Pull the strings and throw the bag away. The tray is clean and ready for another color. —Ruffin Waller, Richmond, Va.

17. Swab wall holes
Before you spackle nail holes, cut a cotton swab in half and push it into the hole, stick end first. For larger holes, fold the swab in half and use it all. Then trim the excess and spackle. You won't need to go back for a second pass.—George Martins, New Bedford, Mass.

18. Smooth with a roller
When I repaired a cracked ceiling, I waited until the joint compound was barely set up and used a dry paint roller to smooth out the knife seams. A damp sponge got rid of any residual roughness after the compound dried, so no sandpaper and no dust. —Jim McNamara, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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