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I’ve stared at enough white this winter, including walls—it’s time for color! And green painting can be fun and economical.
Pick the right paint, the first time!
If I wasn’t picky about color and material, I could head to Ivy MUC (Materials Utilization Center) and check their PEP (paint exchange program) paints; but I want to ensure a low-VOC or zero-VOC brand (like Natura from Benjamin Moore) to protect indoor and outdoor air.
Easy-to-clean latex-based paint with satin or semi-gloss finish is vital for my boys and me (outdated oil-based are higher polluting). Request Green Seal certification to limit and prohibit some toxins. My post-1978 home is lead-free, but be safe and visit www.epa.gov/lead for your project. I get 2-4 oz. samples and paint a 12x16 square behind a door: Colors can appear darker inside.
Stick to the basics
After rummaging my garage, I need one high-quality brush, an angled brush, a roller, painters’ tape, and a re-usable aluminum tray. I’ll borrow a step ladder and protect floors and furniture with old sheets or newspaper. Calling—instead of driving—around for prices and selection, I head to Nature Neutral, prep my walls with castile soap and water rinse (or a primer base) and I’m set! A paint calculator on the web tells me exactly how much I need.
If you have less than 1/4 can, let it dry outside. More? Use kitty litter or sawdust to soak up excess, and then dispose as trash. More than a gallon? Call local schools, Discovery Museum, other kid-centered places, or head to the Ivy MUC. (Notice the stunning red at Discovery Museum the next time you're there. That's my friend Kate's "Old World" - hysterical story behind that. When ordering her paint, she accidentally left off the "Romance" in "Old World Romance" and instead of a buttery, creamy color, she came home to vibrant cherry red!!) Reselling on craigslist is another option.