How to Start and Finish Painting Over a Long Weekend - Home Decorating & Painting Advice

How to Start and Finish Painting Over a Long Weekend

Do you like check lists and direction?  DIY Blogger Diane Henkler of tells Glidden® step by step how to get the job done - in one weekend!!

Need to paint a room or two? Do you keep putting it off because you have never done it or would rather go to the dentist than have to get out the rollers and drop cloths? The actual process of rolling-on or brushing-on paint is very easy; it is the prep work that takes the most time and planning and I think is what makes us procrastinate when it comes to getting the rooms painted in our homes.

If you have a room or two that you would like to paint, but just haven’t had the energy to get completed, it may help if you put it on your calendar just like you would any other event. Scheduling it in will make it feel more like a commitment, and not so easy to put off. It also lets you build up to it like any other event in your life that you plan ahead for.

Last week I started transforming the office in my home that I dub my studio office. I rearranged the furniture, but it was not enough change. I wanted bright and cheery, and the tan on the walls that I painted 7 years ago was just looking too dreary. I found some fabric that I plan to use and picked a white for the walls called Pink Petal White.

White Petal Pink is discontinued, but Winter Morn is a close match.

It is white, but has a slight pink cast to it that changes ever so slightly during the day. I used super high gloss white paint on the trim so there would be some contrast from the eggshell finish walls. I wasn’t even finished painting and I knew I loved it. 

Before I started, I did a bit of planning to gear myself up. Here are some tips to help you plan ahead.

  1. Choose a weekend and commit to it. Mark it on your calendar.
  2. A week or so beforehand make a plan or map out which room(s) you plan to paint along with what parts—walls, ceiling, trim, windows, etc. Figure out how much paint you will need. If you are not sure here is a quick way to figure it out:

    How Much Paint to Buy:
    Step 1: For wall area, measure each wall’s width; add together.  Multiply total by room height.
    Step 2: Find area (length x width) of doors and windows; subtract from wall area found in step 1.
    Step 3: If painting the ceiling, multiply its length by width and add that number to the area found from steps 1 and 2.

    Glidden has a paint calculator here to help.

    You now have the square footage of the entire room.  You will need about one gallon for every 400 sq. ft. of surface area to be covered, but be sure to check the back of the specific paint you choose to be sure of the coverage. If you are still not sure, ask at the paint store and they will help you figure out how much you will need.
  3. Write everything down and list the color, color #, and sheen of paint needed for each room.
  4. If you are trying to get a few rooms done over one long weekend, then enlist the help of some of your friends and family. Tell them you are hosting a painting party, with pizza for lunch and grilled steaks that evening for all to enjoy. If you have small children, see if they can stay with grandparents for the day or weekend.
  5. Early in the week before the painting weekend, buy all of your supplies. Buy quality brushes, and rollers- it will make all the difference in how your finished product will look. Buy short nap rollers for a smooth finish; get full nap if you want to add texture to your walls and ceiling.

Painting Supplies for a Long Weekend

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Brushes
  • Rollers
  • Trays and Tray Liners
  • Paint Can Opener
  • Stirring Sticks
  • Paint Roller Extension Pole
  • Painter
  • Drop Cloths
  • Rags
  • Sandpaper and Sanding Block
  • Screwdriver (to remove outlet covers)
  • Spackle and Putty Knife (for wall repairs)
  • Slider Disks (to easily move furniture)
  • Ladders
  • Garbage Bags

Note: If more than one of you will be painting, make sure to get a paint tray for everyone, along with enough rollers and brushes.

Load up your iTunes and speakers with some upbeat songs so that you have high-energy music to paint along with. Create a fun atmosphere so that all weekend long as you paint it feels like a party, not a chore.

Open each can of paint to make sure it is mixed right. Believe me when I say this. Check each and every can. You don’t want to be surprised come Saturday morning when you open up the can and the color is not right. Mark each can by room and color with a magic marker.

Know that you are going to forget something and a trip back to the paint store is inevitable.

Have plenty of damp rags on hand for quick clean-up of paint spills, drips, and smudges. Have a few big trash bags ready for used painters tape, paper towels, etc.

Ok, you’re ready to go.  Let the weekend begin!

Friday Night

This is the time for prep work only—no painting. Clean all the trim and baseboards with soap and water. Painter’s tape will not stick to dust. Clear out any cobwebs in the corners of the room. Move the furniture into the center of the room and cover it with plastic sheeting or a drop cloth if you are painting the ceiling. Cover floors and use tape to make sure the drop cloths stay in place. Remove outlet covers, fill holes with Spackle and sand* smooth.

Remove window grids if painting windows, and tape off trim. Remove curtains and rods and items hanging on the walls. Place all the screws and hardware in marked plastic bags so you can easily find them when you put the room back together again.

Gather all the supplies in one area. Lay a drop cloth down and place everything on top of it. You can call this your work station or staging area. Make sure all the paint cans are marked with the color, room, and wall, ceiling or trim. Place the liners in the trays and take any new tool out of its packaging.

Season the steaks, and have the pizza delivery phone number handy as well as cash to pay for it and the tip when the pizza is delivered come lunchtime the next day. Make sure all the food for Saturday night’s dinner is ready to go or you have a reservation at a local restaurant. If you are eating at home, have paper plates and napkins ready as you will be too tired to wash any dishes.


Today is paint day. If prep work still needs to be done, do that first.  There are different schools of thought on what sequence you should paint the room in. I find it best to go in this order.
  1. Edge or cut-in the wall first: using a brush or a paint pad, paint a 3” wide strip where the ceiling meets the walls. Repeat in each corner of the room where the walls meet as well as the floor or baseboard and around windows and doors.
  2. Paint the ceiling: After edging the ceiling, use a roller with an extension pole to do the remainder. For best results, and to prevent streaks and roller marks, you should paint the entire ceiling in one session.
  3. Paint the walls:
    Paint walls with a roller. For even application, roll in a “W” formation, then go back over the area with vertical strokes.
  4. Save the windows and trim for last: 
    Mask the glass with painters tape. Paint trim with a 1 ½” or 2” stiff angled brush. Leave window slightly open until the paint is completely dry.
Store brushes and filled paint trays in plastic bags when you break for lunch.

If you still have painting to do on Sunday, clean out the trays and brushes, but double wrap your rollers completely in plastic bags and place in the freezer away from any food.


Remove rollers from the freezer as soon as you get up. Keep them in the plastic bag until ready to use. It won’t take long for them to get back to room temperature. Complete any painting that needs to be done. Double check that you didn’t miss anything before clean up begins.

When the painting is finished, start removing the painter’s tape and then the drop cloths. Have a damp rag with you to wipe away any paint splatters or paint that seeped under the painters tape. Once the paint has dried, hang things back on the walls and move furniture back into place.

If you have any paint left over, make sure you can still see the color name and store it for future touch-ups. It is also a good idea to keep a list of all the paint colors along with the color chips in your house so if you need more you can use the list as an easy reference and won’t have to guess.

Once your room is back in order you will be rewarded for all of your efforts. Painting the walls in my studioffice was the first step in transforming the room. Even though I have just started and the room looks a little disheveled, as I look around all I can see is a fresh start. It kind of feels like New Year’s Day.

It is a good feeling to see that change and move forward. That is the power of paint! If you want to make a few changes to your home, schedule a painting weekend and mark it on your calendar. You will be happy you did.

As always, please refer to the Product Label, Technical Data Sheet and Safety Data Sheet for safety and detailed application instructions.

*WARNING! If you scrape, sand, or remove old paint, you may release lead dust. LEAD IS TOXIC. EXPOSURE TO LEAD DUST CAN CAUSE SERIOUS ILLNESS, SUCH AS BRAIN DAMAGE, ESPECIALLY IN CHILDREN. PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD ALSO AVOID EXPOSURE. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself and your family by contacting the National Lead Information Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to
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