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Interior Project Guide

How To Paint

How To Paint

ideal painting conditions:

Is the washing on the line drying? If not, your paint won't either! The ideal conditions to paint in include:

  • 15-30 degrees celcius
  • 50% humidity
  • Cloudy, but not raining
  • Gentle breeze

Making sure your space is well ventilated will not only improve the drying conditions, but will also reduce the lingering paint smell.



Touch Dry

The coat of paint has dried enough so it’s no longer wet to touch. When a coat of paint is “touch dry”, the wet edge no longer exists. An oil based paint is usually touch dry in 6-8 hours, and water-based paints are usually touch dry in 30-60 minutes.

Recoat Time

The amount of time needed to be left between a first and second coat of paint. The recoat time allows enough time for the first coat to dry, and still cure effectively.

Cure Time

This is the amount of time for a paint to reach its maximum hardness.

* Note: Refer to the instructions on the paint can for specific recoat and curing times as times will vary dependant on paint manufacturer and type.


Cutting in is the technique that is used when painting the tight areas of a room: edges of walls, the ceiling line, corners, around window and door frames, skirting boards, architraves … Basically anywhere that a roller can’t quite get into!  

You want to cut in first before painting with a roller, and make sure you cut in and paint one section at a time. If you cut in all areas first and then roll the entire room, the paint that was applied when cutting in will have dried quicker and you will be left with a patchy, uneven finish.

Don’t cut in too wide, only paint a strip approximately 50mm wide. You want to paint a strip that will allow you to get close enough to the adjacent side with your roller but isn’t too wide that your wall dries patchy and with visible lines.

The best order to cut in is:

  1. Cornices and ceiling lines;
  2. Corners of the walls to about half way down;
  3. Middle of the wall down to the bottom of the wall;
  4. Skirting boards.


When cutting in, you want to maintain a ‘wet edge’ – where you keep the edge of the painted area wet so that when you roll the broad surface the wet paint blends smoothly so no lines appear when the paint is dried. Maintaining a wet edge while painting – and cutting is as you go and not all at once – will result in a consistent finish.


To use a roller you'll need a tray, frame, roller cover and possibly an extension pole. Make sure you have the right roller cover for the job – check out our guide on rollers to make sure you have chosen the best roller for the surface you are painting.

  1. De-fuzz new roller sleeves prior to use by washing them in water.
  2. Fit the roller to the frame.
  3. Pour paint into the reservoir at the end of the roller tray. Do not overfill.
  4. Dip the roller lightly into the paint, the paint should cover less than half of the roller. Then roll it backwards and forwards on the ramp of the tray to evenly distribute the paint on the roller cover.
  5. Roll the paint onto the surface in a large zigzag pattern. Then fill in the space with criss-cross strokes.
  6. Once you’ve covered the area, level the finish by laying-off with long, parallel strokes. Laying-off needs to be done before the paint has commenced drying, so it’s best to work in sections at a time.
  7. Never leave a paint-covered roller exposed to the air for any length of time. Wrap it in plastic cling wrap when you take a short break, and make sure to clean it completely after use. 


To achieve a great finish, always work in sections and paint up to a natural break before stopping. Never try to paint over an area that is partially dried, as the brush will leave marks in the surface. If you see a run in the wet paint, paint over it as soon as possible with light even strokes.

  1. Before use, flick the bristles back and forth to remove dust. Then moisten the brush in water if you are about to use a water-based paint, or turps if you are about to use an oil-based paint. Make sure you remove excess liquid before painting.
  2. Fill the brush by dipping the brush into the paint can so half the length of the bristles are in the paint.
  3. Tap it gently against the side of the can: don't wipe the brush hard against the lip. The bristles should flex only slightly as you brush - don't over press - let the paint flow from the brush.
  4. Start at the top of the surface and work down, painting with light even strokes, working back into the wet edge.
  5. If you are painting a large area by brush, apply paint to an area about 50cm x 50cm, then brush the paint in horizontal strokes to even the paint out and finish off with light vertical strokes all in one direction. If you are using a brush and roller, paint the edges of the area first.

painting a room:

prep the room

Start with a blank canvas! Before you start painting, clear the space. Take down any curtains, mirrors and pictures. We personally prefer a completely empty room for painting, but if you can’t remove everything move lightweight furniture out of the room and move the larger items to the centre of the room and cover with drop cloths. As for fixtures and fittings, always remove as many as you can before painting. Carefully scrape old paint out of screw slots before you try to unscrew them. For any tape plastic around pendant light fittings.

Thoroughly washing walls with Selleys Original Sugar Soap will remove grease and dirt, providing a clean surface that ensures the best possible performance from your finish coats

Masking before you paint makes the job faster and cleaner. Push the edges of the tape down firmly to ensure straight edges.

Ensure the masking tape is removed at a 45° angle before the paint dries completely. If the paint is too dry, the masking tape can rip the paint film when it is removed. If the paint dries before the tape is removed, using a sharp blade, score the edge of the tape before removing so that it doesn’t pull paint away from the wall.


Ceilings are often overlooked when completing a paint project, but with a refreshing colour and a flawless finish you’ll give people a reason to look up and admire your handy work.

Begin by cleaning your ceiling and remove any cobwebs with a clean broom. Tape around cornices, edges and any down lights.

Now you can start cutting-in areas where the roller won’t reach. Using a brush, paint around down lights and edges to create a border. Cut-in small areas at a time to ensure when you eventually paint with a roller it’s still wet and will blend smoothly. Once you’ve loaded your roller evenly, begin in one corner and move fluidly in a parallel motion. For best results, work in 1 metre sections painting across and then down. Roll as far into the previously brushed sections as possible.

Once you’ve finished a large section of your ceiling, and while it’s still damp, you can begin laying-off the paint. This is a crucial step in achieving a smooth and consistent finish. Using an unloaded roller begin in the top left corner of your ceiling and gently pull towards you in a straight line with no pressure. A lightness of touch will prevent new brush strokes from forming. Repeat this action and slightly overlap your last movement so your roller rubs away the line created by the previous stroke.

Repeat the cutting in, rolling and laying-off until the ceiling is completely painted. If your ceiling requires two coats, simply wait the recommended recoat time on your paint can for your first coat to dry then start again at cutting in and follow the step to complete your ceiling.


The walls of your home colour your world. They are what set the mood for everyday life. So, the way you apply your paint can be just as important as the colour itself.

Start by preparing your surface - clear the area of any furniture, lay down a drop sheet and clean your walls with sugar soap.

Apply masking tape to your trims for cutting-in. Load your brush by dipping it into the paint roughly half the length of the bristles. Tap the brush on the side of the paint pot to remove the excess. Start brushing a few centimeters from the corner or edge. As you move the brush, you will establish the line of the edge of the paint. Drag the brush in to the edge so that the line on the paint follows the edging.

Once you have finished cutting in a section of your area, you can begin to roll out the wall. To load your roller push it forward on the tray then lift it to see if it spins evenly. If your roller is unbalanced, it’s because the paint isn’t evenly applied, so continue rolling it over the tray with full rotations to spread the paint evenly. Start rolling from where you cut in and roll across the wall. For best results, roll as far into the brushed area as possible. Paint in a ‘W’ motion to ensure an even distribution across your wall.

Once you have completed rolling out a section of the wall, it’s time to lay-off to get a smooth finish. This is arguably the most important step in rolling a wall and should be done when you’ve painted a section roughly 3-4 meters. Laying-off your wall means giving it a smooth consistent finish and hiding those streaky brush strokes. Simply place your unloaded roller at the top left corner of your wall. Ensure the handle side of your roller is to the right. Then with almost zero pressure roll straight down your wall until you reach the bottom. Remove your roller, return to the top, and slightly overlap where you just rolled so that each panel rubs away the line from the previous lay-off.

Complete this process until the entire surface has been painted.


Windows are one of those places in the home that collect dust and cobwebs, so be sure to give yours a good clean with Selleys Original Sugar Soap before painting.

You should now mask around your window frame and glass with tape to prevent accidental splatters interfering with your walls or view.

Dip your brush half way into the paint and tap it against the side of the pot to remove any excess. Working quickly, paint next to the glass around the sills first using long brush strokes. Avoid dabbing the paint. Work around the window frame progressively outwards until you finish with the edge against the wall.

While your paint is still damp, lay-off the surface using an unloaded brush and a very light touch. Use long, smooth strokes to smooth the surface and produce flawless results.


Hot Tip: As tempting as removing your door immediately is, don’t. Take a look at how much room is between your door and the frame when it’s closed. If it’s a tight fit you may need to sand the edges to allow for extra coats of paint. It’s a little trick that can go a long way.

You can now begin removing your handles and anything outstanding such as coat hooks. Using a couple of door stops, wedge the door securely while you remove the hinges. Leave one screw on each hinge to support the weight of the door and make removal safer.

Once the door is off its hinges, lay it flat across a pair of sawhorses, chairs or even a table. Wash the surface thoroughly with Selleys Original Sugar Soap before painting.

If your door has already been painted with enamel, give it a light sand until the shine has become dull. Wipe off the dust, and then you can then use Dulux 1 Step® Primer Sealer Undercoat to undercoat the door before applying a topcoat.

Stir your chosen paint to ensure even colour throughout the paint can. Using a synthetic brush, start with the shortest panels, and work towards the longest panels. When the door is dry, flip it over and repeat the process. You should work quickly to prevent the paint from drying and creating streaks.

Before applying a second coat, give your door a light sand with 360 grit sandpaper, and then thoroughly wipe down the surface.