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Painting is the least expensive way to upgrade your home. Even a small project can make a big difference. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to help your next paint job turn out like a masterpiece!

Cleaning the walls before painting is very important. It may take time, but not much money at all.

Repair any small holes with spackle and cracks with tape and drywall compound.

When choosing a paint, a primer-and-paint combination will save you time and give you really good coverage. Choose a paint that also cleans up with soap and water, which will save you time as you work and, after you have finished, when it’s time to clean up.

Do a large enough test area and live with it for few days until you are sure it’s the right color.

Take accurate measurements and buy a little more paint than you need. You can save the extra for touch-ups later on.

If you are using more than one can, mix a little of each can together so that it won’t show when you switch to a new can. Make sure you thoroughly mix each can before using it.

Use the best tools you can afford.

Wear protective clothing so cleanup will be confined to other things, not yourself.

Mask off areas that you don’t want to get paint on.

It’s smart to do the ceiling first before the walls, if you plan to do both. And woodwork or trim gets done last.

Do the cutting in first and try to get to the roller before the paint has a chance to dry. Try to do one whole wall at a time so that you don’t have paint drying as you work.

If you take a break, close up paint cans, place brushes and rollers in sealable bags. Don’t forget to stir the paint again before returning to painting. If breaking overnight, place sealed brushes and rollers in the refrigerator.

While painting, keep heating and air conditioning vents closed so dust won’t get stirred up.

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Q: I have a couple of chips in my bathroom sink. I have seen repair kits for white sinks but not for beige. What can I do to fix my beige sink? – E.W.

A: Look on the sink to see who the manufacturer is. You might have to do a little searching online, but you should be able to find a kit made just for your brand and color of sink. They do make them and they do a pretty good job of covering those little boo-boos.

A Super hint

We just bought another package of metal shower curtain rings at the discount store. These are perfect for holding a set of wrenches, an assortment of washers, nuts, saw blades and lots of other hardware goodies. You can hang these rings right on your shop wall, too.

Shoptalk

You have to see the WORX JawSaw in action to see what all the talk is about. This jaws-of-life-looking tool is amazing! The electric chainsaw is more safe and efficient than a standard chainsaw. The special design protects the chain and bar from damage, as well as the user. The steel teeth hold the wood in place while cutting through it at the perfect angle. The easy-to-install 5-foot extension pole gives you extra reach, and the Auto-Tension features makes chain replacement quick and precise. It even has an automatic oiler, and is covered by a limited three-year warranty. Check it out at www.worx.com.