DIY tips

10 Essential Tools for Your Home Paint Kit

Having the right tools for a painting project can turn a seemingly insurmountable task into a  fulfilling and even fun way to spend a day. (Believe it or not!)

It’s only taken 30 years (and many trips to the paint store because I didn’t have a paint tool I needed) to compile the following list.

Here are 10 essential paint tools you can use to start and complete almost any small to medium-scale painting project (with a bonus tool, your drop cloth!).



A five gallon bucket is a much improved replacement to the messy pan you see at the hardware store. Dip your roller in and roll off the excess on the grid to get a consistent application on your walls. You can pick your bucket up, move it, and hang your roller on it.  And you won’t step in it!


I use Purdy brand brushes exclusively due to their exceptional quality and long lasting durability. If properly cleaned and cared for, a Purdy brush will last several years. I recommend keeping two sizes in your home paint kit: a 3-inch full-size brush, and a smaller brush (1.5 - 2.5 inch), which will allow you to brush in paint at any angle.

Protip: A small wire brush will help you remove paint from the bristles during each soap and water cleaning.


Smoothing rough surfaces with sandpaper is an essential prep task if you want your paint to lay correctly (and believe me, you do). Our favorite sandpaper is 3M Pro Grade Advanced Sandpaper 120 Grit, with No-Slip backing

Protip: keep a sheet of sandpaper tri-folded in your pocket when you’re working on a paint project. This way, you’re using only 1/3 of a sheet at a time instead of the entire sheet at once, which can be unwieldy. Flip over to a fresh side as needed. 


A multi-tip screwdriver, retractable razor knife and putty knife in your pocket will allow you to remove fixtures, cut tape and plastic, and scrape debris and chunks from your paintable surfaces. 


Costco to the rescue.  We use Kirkland Gloves, because of cost and quality. And they are always in stock!  These gloves will keep your hands clean, and paint chemicals from absorbing into your skin. There’s nothing like standing over the sink scrubbing paint off your hands at the end of the day. With gloves, you can forgo the task altogether.


The extension pole cuts down the time it takes to paint, by enlarging the area you can reach with your roller. Holding your roller by hand is frustrating, painful, and slow! Use the pole.

In a pinch, you can actually use a broom-handle stick with a threaded end.  We use Wooster Sher-Lock Extension poles, because of their quality construction and durability.


Taping edges where you want to stop your paint application is the first line of defense to create a clean paint project.  3M blue tape is expensive, but the lighter adhesive won’t ruin your furniture or pull off existing paint when you remove it. So make sure to pick up the blue stuff!


Cracks in walls, ceilings and trim can be smoothly filled with paintable acrylic caulk. The caulking gun requires a light squeeze on the trigger, and a damp rag will remove the excess material off your surface.


Fill nail holes and other gaps with your putty knife, then sand smooth when dry. DAP CrackShot is a high-performance spackle that we prefer, because of its sandability.  You can even use it to repair dents on a steel door.


A 9-inch full-size, and a 7-inch weenie roller frame and cover will get your paint on any surface with ease. We use Wooster roller frames, again because of their quality and durability. 

As a final note, keep your tools clean, and together in one container between uses. 
With these basics at the ready, you can paint like a pro!

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