How to touch up paint so it matches
You may not realize it, but your walls can take a beating from normal day-to-day living. This doesn’t mean you’re forced to live with dings and scratches, though, as long as you learn how to properly touch them up. With the right materials and the correct technique, you can seamlessly blend new paint into the old coat to cover up unsightly spots. Here’s how to do it.
Know your paint. Besides the actual painting aspect of this process, knowing what color of paint you need is the most important step. Get the shade wrong, and your touch-up job will be obvious. However, there is an easy way around this. If the initial paint job was done professionally, contact the painter to see what brand and type of paint he or she used. They will most likely be able to access that information easily and set you in the right direction for the rest of the job. If you painted it yourself, you probably have some paint left over that is still usable, depending on its age. You’ll want to dilute this paint a little bit, either adding 5 to 10% water for latex paint, or the same amount of mineral spirits for oil-based paint.
Clean and repair. Once you have your paint, take the time to make the wall beneath the paint look its best. After all, a ding in the wall is not going to be fixed with a new coat. Make any necessary repairs with spackling and sanding to ensure that the wall is as even as possible. You’ll need a putty knife and a piece of fine-grit sandpaper to get through this step, but it’s well worth it for a wall that looks perfect.
Prime. If you think you can skip this step because you’re not covering a large area, think again. Priming allows the topcoats of paint to look their best, and can give your touch-up the longevity it needs. You’ll be thankful for doing this at the end, when your wall looks beautiful again. To save time, look for a paint-and-primer-in-one product.
Keep it small. The idea of a paint touch-up is to do just enough to cover up a blemish. Keep the idea of repainting the entire wall as a last resort that you’ll (hopefully) never have to use. Only paint over the area that needs it; start to stretch too far and you’ll probably find yourself unhappy with how it looks.
Use the right technique. Start by using a roller that’s the exact same as the one used for the initial paint job. Try to mimic the existing texture through a process called tipping-off. Roll the paint evenly onto the area you’re trying to touch up, then give it one more gentle roll starting high, and finishing low. If the touch-up dries and looks the same as the rest of the wall texturally, you’ve used the correct side of the roller cover. If it doesn’t match, try flipping the frame and giving it a pass again.
Best Ways to Touch Up Paint [TrueValue Projects]
Mastering The Art of Touch-Up Painting Your Walls [Image Works Painting]