Your Place: Tools to make a paint project shine

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Itís the end of January, and Iím still thinking about which painting projects Iíll tackle as the light gets better and the weather warmer.

Just before Christmas, the Paint Quality Institute sent me a list of last-minute gifts for the do-it-yourself painter.

I donít write about products anymore, but I thought the list was worth passing along, even post-holidays:

A cutting-in tool. The most time-consuming part of a paint job can be cutting in corners and edges. This can reduce the time required.

A masking tool. Another way to speed painting around edges and corners is with an automatic masking-tape dispenser. Similar to packing-tape dispensers, such tools allow the painter to quickly apply the tape and cut it to the desired length with a quick flick of the wrist.

What about an aluminum bench? When painting interior walls and ceilings, the pros use a sturdy bench, which is easier to work from, easier to move, and makes for a more stable painting platform than a ladder. Itís also a handy place to sit down and take a break.

Then thereís the short-handled paintbrush. If youíve ever done any painting, you know what a challenge it can be to use a brush or paint roller behind toilets, radiators and heavy furniture, or in tight areas, for that matter. Thatís why this is such a a good idea ó the mini-brush makes it easy to apply paint in those hard-to-reach spots.

A paintbrush light. Remember what I said about waiting for the light to improve? Cloudy days and dim lighting can make painting difficult. But a battery-powered source of illumination that attaches right to the brush handle? That can counter the gloom, and brighten dark areas to make painting easier.

A brush comb. This handy little item helps stretch the life of those expensive paintbrushes by removing paint residue from the bristles. Some models even double as squeegees that remove excess paint from roller covers.

My go-to source about all things paint is the Paint Quality Instituteís Web site, www.paintquality.com . The institute was started in 1989.