Day 11 – Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

I love to paint rooms! It’s one of those meditative tasks that leaves you with instant gratification when  you are done. But, I don’t like the clean up afterwards. Several years ago I came up with an Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner that costs next to nothing!

All you need are two plastic grocery bags and two strips of painter’s tape.

Day 11: Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner

Make sure your grocery bags are clean and don’t have any holes in them. Turn the bags inside out if there is printing on them. (Sometimes the ink is water soluble and can mix with the paint.) Observe as my sister gives her best Vanna White impression and shows you how to invert that bag:

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

Slip the first bag on from the top of the tray and tape it at the bottom.

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

Slip the second bag over the bottom this time:

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

Tape the opening of the bag across the entire paint tray width.

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

You’re ready to rock and roll, errr roll and paint!

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

When you are done, carefully remove the plastic bags and throw them away. If you are pitching your roller, you can grab the roller through the bags and pitch it too.

Easy Clean Up Paint Tray Liner | Pretty Handy Girl

No need to clean the tray (unless some paint seeped inside.) Unfortunately, you’ll probably still need to wash your paint brushes. But, if you clean your paint brushes correctly, they should last you a decade or more!


I’m participating in Nester’s 31 Days Challenge. Check out all the other bloggers who are participating!

31 Day Writing Challenge

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Shur-Line Touch Up Painter Product Review


I’m picky about my painting products. In fact I rarely stray from the same brushes, edgers and paints that I’ve used for over 10 years. As a DIY blogger, I will receive “new” painting gadgets to try from time-to-time. It is rare that I end up liking or using them after initially trying it (consequently I won’t blog about them.) The Shur-Line Touch Up painter, although “new”, actually proved to be a product that I do like! I was skeptical when I first received it two months ago. The concept is that you can store a small amount of your leftover room paint and have it available for touch ups. (Anyone who has kids and pets knows that keeping your walls fresh is a challenge. I’ve used the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with good results, but sometimes it scrubs away too much paint.)

After filling the Touch Up Painter over a month ago, I set it aside in our garage until this week.


I had 10 minutes before my girlfriends were coming over for coffee. In one of those last minute scrutinies of my home, I noticed the scrapes on the wall! Eeek.


It was the perfect time to try out this new gadget and quickly touch up the scuffs from the crown molding installation.


When I first opened the Touch Up Painter, I was dismayed to find a big blob of dried paint on the roller. [Read more...]

Top 10 Cleaners that You Can Make Yourself


Anyone else detest cleaning their homes? {Major hand raised over here!} I don’t like to clean, but what I really dislike is paying those exorbitant prices to purchase store bought cleaners. Did you know that you can make your own cleaning products using ingredients that cost pennies compared to a bottle of cleanser!

For example, baby oil makes an excellent stainless steel sink shiner (who knew!)

[Read more...]

Painting Like a Pro – Part 2. Paint and Sheen


Let’s talk about Paint, Baby…

Before we start, let’s talk paint. One factor for a perfect paint job is the quality of the paint you choose. Do yourself a favor, don’t settle for the cheap store brand paint. You may save yourself a few bucks, but you will be looking at streaks and imperfections from the cheap paint for years to come. Or worse, the paint won’t hold up to wiping or moisture (not good!)

Benjamin Moore Aura Paint – Love this stuff! Serious love affair here. Not only is it low VOCs and low odor, but the coverage is amazing and you don’t see any of the roller marks. It is thick like a chocolate milk shake and spreads slightly after it is rolled on. This is the only paint I’ve been able to get away with only using one coat. But, it was because I was painting a lighter shade of sage over a pine green color. Other rooms where I was going from a much darker color to a light color, I had to use two coats, but I definitely didn’t use as much paint as I would have if I used another brand. Be prepared for the sticker shock, this paint isn’t cheap at $56 a gallon, but you will use less and you will be saving the environment!

Valspar – Hi Def Paint – Before we were spoiled by the Benjamin Moore Aura paint, Pretty Handsome Guy and I used to paint with Valspar paints for all our walls. In fact, we still use the Flat Ultra White for our ceilings. We were always happy with the results, but the idea of using a Low VOC paint really appealed to me.  Last week, as I eyed the “oops” paint at my local Lowe’s (a normal habit of mine), I was lucky enough to spot a color that was very close to a color I was craving for our bathroom. I grabbed it up for $5 ($10 at register with a $5 rebate. Normally $32). The paint was a gallon of the new Valspar Hi-DEF paint. I have to say, I was impressed by the coverage. It almost covered all of the old color in one coat (I was covering dark purple with a light aqua.) This paint would be a good option if you didn’t want to shell out the $56 for the Aura paint.

Benjamin Moore Impervo paintThis is my new favorite trim paint! This stuff goes on smooth and spreads like an oil paint. It also has a durable finish that resists chipping and really stands up to our kids’ shenanigans. Before I found the Impervo, I thought I was doomed to use an Alkyd (oil paint with a dryer added) paint for our trim. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of using oil based paint, you know that it has a strong odor and the brushes have to be cleaned with turpentine. Not at all good for you or the environment.  You can imagine my excitement (and skepticism) at finding a water based trim paint that is supposed to hold up like oil. Our living room trim paint has lasted 1.5 years and it still looks great! Again, this amazingly durable paint isn’t cheap, it costs $48  a gallon, but at least you don’t have to paint your trim every year if you have little devils boys in your home.

Please note: There are other good paints available (Sherwin Williams is also a favorite of many other DIY bloggers.) This is just a list of the paints that I love to use.


Let it Shine, Let it Shine (or maybe a little less shine) - Flat, Eggshell, Satin, Semi-Gloss, or  Gloss. How do you know which one to choose?

Gloss - The only time I use gloss or high gloss is for trim and cabinetry. (Or the things that get grubby fingers ALL over them.) The gloss surface cleans up much better than non-gloss, and it doesn’t hold onto oils or grease like the other finishes.

Semi-Gloss - This sheen is great for painting a bathroom, kitchen or walls that will see a lot of moisture, water and basic abuse.  Similar to the gloss, it will be easier to wipe clean and water splashes won’t show as much on this surface.

Satin - I know I just said you should paint kitchens and bathrooms with semi-gloss, but I rarely do. Why? Well, because my walls are far from perfect. We have two rooms that had wallpaper painted over (not my decision.) After spackling and sanding the seams (doing my best to smooth them), I used a satin paint.  Satin has most of the durability of a semi-gloss, but less sheen. If you use paint with a sheen you will see highlights wherever there is a seam, bump or edge.Therefore highlighting your imperfect walls.

Eggshell - Low sheen, but not flat. Eggshell is best for rooms with imperfect surfaces or bedrooms. Eggshell has an almost matte or flat appearance and is very smooth and hides bumps and dips fairly well. It’s not as easy to clean, but will stand up to an occasional wiping better than flat paint.

Flat - I never use flat, except….when painting ceilings. Then we grab our favorite ceiling paint: Valspar Flat Ultra White for maximum light reflection. (Read more about bright white ceilings HERE.) So, unless you are painting ceilings, don’t use flat, it is too chalky and hard to clean.

Just call me Ms. Mix-a-lot. How to Save $ by Mixing Your Own Paint:

Some of  the paints I mentioned can cost quite a pretty penny. So, I thought you might like to know the way I save money on paint. I frequently scour the “Oops” or “Mistint” paints. If I see a color that is close to what I want, I grab it. For my downstairs bathroom I spotted this sea green color and knew it was close to the color I wanted, but just a shade darker. All I needed to do was purchase an empty paint can and use some leftover white paint to mix a prefect color.

You can mix any two sheens as long as they are next to each other in the list above. In other words mixing gloss and semi-gloss is fine; semi-gloss and satin; satin and eggshell; or in my case eggshell and flat paint.  You definitely don’t want to mix a semi-gloss with a flat or eggshell. You might get some streaks and it is hard to mix.

To mix paint, I like to use this paint mixer attachment that fits on my drill. It is a dream come true for a custom paint mixer like myself.

Without going into too much color theory, here are two mixing formulas I like to use.  Keep in mind your paint color has to be fairly close to the final color you want before attempting these mixes.

Too vibrant, intense or bright - Let’s say you find a color that you like, but it is too intense and you want to dull or tone it down. You can add either black or brown paint (I use acrylic craft paint) to tone down the color. Pour some of your paint into an empty bucket or paint can, then add a big squeeze of black (or brown.) Mix it, put a dab on a piece of paper and dry it with a hair dryer (because I’m too impatient to wait.) Still too vibrant? Add more black (or brown) until it is the color you want. I used this method for my dormer hallway shutters. You’ll have to play with the mixing until you get the desired results.

Too dark, need a shade lighter - Add white paint to a bucket, then slowly add small amounts of your paint color and mix it. Put a dab on a piece of paper and dry it to check the color. Still too light? Add more color or if it is too dark, add more white.

I hope this post helps you find the perfect paint for your next paint job.

Other Steps in this Series:

Step 1. Prep work

Step 3. painting your room and finishing touches


Shaklee Review and Giveaway


Two weeks ago, Elizabeth contacted me to see if I wanted to offer a Shaklee giveaway to one of my lucky readers. I told her that I would appreciate if she sent me a sample first to try out the product before offering it to my readers. Before I received the sample, I did some internet research on Shaklee. I wanted to make sure that the company wasn’t a scam and basically check up on the products before offering them to my readers. What I found was that it is a Multi-level marketing company in which part of the profits come from signing on new distributors. What I also found is that the Shaklee products are supposed to be environmentally friendly and chemical-free.  There are many people who use Shaklee products and love them. A few celebrities that endorse them are: Oprah and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Being the ultimate pessimist when it comes to product claims and celebrity endorsements, I still wasn’t satisfied. I proceeded to do some more research and found that Shaklee has been around for 50 years and puts a lot of research into each product. With that information under my belt I was willing to give their products a try.

Elizabeth’s package arrived a few days later and I opened it up to find a teeny tiny sample of Basic H2. At first, I thought, REALLY?! She couldn’t have sent me any more?

But then I read the directions:

"Inside this tiny capsule is enough power to make a whole bottle of all-purpose super cleaner and another whole bottle of glass cleaner..."

Come on. Seriously?! Again, I was skeptical, how could that tiny vial make two bottles of cleaner? But, I gave it a try. I mixed up the one bottle of glass cleaner (2 drops to 16 oz. water). Then eye-balled a little more than 1/4 tsp. into 26 oz. of water to make a bottle of all-purpose cleaner.

My assistant, just think of him as a mini Vanna White. Wait, he kind of looks like Billy Mays (the Oxi-clean guy) doesn't he?!.

Now, you should know that while I was downstairs mixing my Shaklee potions, my boys were being suspiciously quiet upstairs. So, I headed up to see what those {umm-yeah}…sweet  little angels were up to. I should have known better!

Toothpaste smeared on the vanity top

Water splashed all over the mirror.

This was the perfect opportunity to try out my newly mixed Basic H2 concoctions. “Let’s see if you can handle this mess, Shaklee!”

First I sprayed the glass and let it sit for a minute while I sprayed down the sink and vanity top.

Then I went back to the mirror and was thoroughly amazed that the glass cleaner (remember only 2 drops and 16 oz. of water) worked on the smeared toothpaste and who knows what else. And the most perfect sound was emitted from my rag as it swiped the mirror. A very loud squeaky sound. It truly was squeaky clean!

Next I wiped off the vanity top and sink. Truth be told, I had to spray and wipe the goopey toothpaste trails twice, but they came clean.

And it cleaned everything else in the bathroom, spic and span.

Later that week Elizabeth emailed me to ask if I received the Basic H2 and how I liked it. I told her I thought they worked great, but I was missing my old cleaner’s lemony scent. Here was her reply:

“I am glad the cleaners worked well. If you are missing the “clean” scent, why not try adding a drop or two of essential oils to the cleaning mix like I do? If you really think about it.. CLEAN doesn’t have any smell.. right? haha There are Basic H products with regular scent. The one I sent you is fragrance free.”

Well, she has a point there doesn’t she? But, I couldn’t go fragrance-free (after all I do have two stinky boys and a dog ;-D), so I added a few drops of essential Lavendar oil to the all-purpose cleaner and have been happily spraying calming lavender all week!

Next I put the glass cleaner to another test. I wear glasses, mostly just for driving and watching movies. But, I’m finding as I am heading (at super-sonic speed) towards my 4oth birthday, I’ve needed to wear my glasses more often especially while staring at the computer screen. Therefore, my specs have been getting dirty faster. I have an anti-reflective coating on them, and anyone that knows about anti-reflective coatings know that you can’t just wipe your glasses on your shirt. You have to use a special cleaner and/or cleaning cloth to get them really clean and so as not to scratch them. Well, I decided to try the Shaklee Basic H2 glass cleaner  on them (I was a little nervous, but seeing as I had already scratched my glasses slightly a few years ago, I really didn’t care.) Okay, I need to be truthful here, I was thinking “If I scratch this pair up beyond repair, then I can get a new pair that much sooner.”  Shhhhh, don’t tell Pretty Handsome Guy!
So, I took my smudged glasses and sprayed the Basic H2 glass cleaner on both lenses on both sides. Then I used a brillo pad (Just Kidding!)
Seriously, I used a soft cloth to wipe them clean.
Sparkly clean! (Except the tiny scratches that have been there for years.)
So, here is my overall take on the Shaklee Basic H2 Cleaner:
  • Do I think the product works? Yup!
  • Does it work better than my regular cleaners? No, but they do work as well as my cleaners.
  • Are they healthier and more environmentally friendly than the products I’ve been using? I believe so, and I think they are healthier to use in our home and especially around the kitchen where I have a fruit bowl and unfinished water glasses sitting around all the time.
  • Is the Shaklee Basic H2 Cleaner expensive? NO! At first look, you might think at $12 for a 16 oz. bottle of the Basic H2 Cleaner, that is expensive. However, if I tell you how much of that little  .07 fl. oz sample vial I used you will see that $12 for a 16 oz. bottle is a deal compared to the cost of buying average cleaners:
I used roughly .05 oz. (really I used less than that, but just for easy math work with m.)  of the .07 oz. vial to make 1- 16 oz. bottle of glass cleaner and 1- 26 oz. bottle of all purpose cleaner!     Are you ready for this…
…based on my math (and you may want to double check) I’d be able to make 320 bottles of glass cleaner, plus 320 bottles of all purpose cleaner with ONE bottle of the Super Basic H2 Concentrated cleaner. GTFO!!!  That is 640 bottles of cleaner in that little 16 oz. bottle of Basic H2 concentrate! To purchase that much of my regular cleaners, I would pay $2,336 for 320 bottles of glass and 230 bottles of all purpose cleaners. And, I don’t even want to think about all that plastic that goes into the landfill!
Thanks for sticking with me, because I have some great news. I have a Get Clean Mini Household Starter Kit to offer to one of my lucky readers!

And, Elizabeth will be offering 5 additional readers their own sample of the Basic H2 Cleaning Concentrate (so you can be Wow’ed too!)

The Get Clean Household Mini Kit contains (More Info):
  • Basic H2® Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate, 16 oz.
  • (1)Basic H2® Wipes (35 count)
  • Germ Off Wipes (35 count)
  • Scour Off
  • MeasuringSpoon
  • Dropper Pipette
  • Spray Bottles (3-pack)

Okay, now that all my alarm bells have been silenced, I’m off to order a bottle of the Basic H2 cleaner, some Scour Off (which Sarah, aka Thrifty Decor Chick, really likes) and some of those cute spray bottles.

Rules to Enter the Giveaway:

  • What about you? Can you find a Shaklee product that you’d use from Elizabeth’s Shaklee site? Or do you already use a Shaklee product that you love? Please leave me a comment and tell me more about it to enter to win.
  • Then for an additional chances to win, tweet about this giveaway (and leave a comment that you did.)
  • And mention the giveaway on Facebook (and leave a comment again.)

A winner will be picked with the always eager assistance of at midnight on Saturday, April 2nd.

Disclosure: This post was an unpaid product review, however in full disclosure, I wanted to tell you that Elizabeth purchased advertising for three months and paid to have a product giveaway on my blog. BUT, I can honestly say (and sleep well at night) that the review was my honest opinion about the Shaklee Basic H2 product and I was not swayed by her payment for advertising, etc. You should know that If I don’t like a product, I will not write a review. Plus, I will offer to return any money that has been paid towards advertising,etc. Fair enough? I hope you also realize, that I value my readers’ time and intelligence, and I would never intentionally steer you wrong. If you would like to be bored by more information about product reviews and advertising, you can read more HERE.

Okay, so feel free to go slam me in the comment section (and then you will be entered to win the giveaway, HA!)

Coming up this week…I’ve gone Forkin’ crazy and am using flatware in all my projects!


Paintbrushes: The Good, The Bad, and How to Make them Behave

Today I have the skinny on paintbrushes, they all look alike, but they don’t behave alike! Pretty Handsome Guy and I have painted our fair share of rooms, especially dated brown trim moulding. One thing we learned early on is that buying a good brush was key to making a difficult job more manageable. When we first moved in and were cheap didn’t know any better, we bought the least expensive store brand brush we could find. What a mistake! Those brushes barely held up to one room of trim. The bristles frayed and the paint brushes lost their chisel shape.
Case in point:

(That being said, the same thing can happen to a good quality paint brush if you don’t clean and care for it properly. More on that later.)

But, if you spend a little more to buy a good quality brush and take good care of it, you can use that brush for years!!!

Above you can see the cheap store brand used maybe 2-3 times.
A brush we have owned and used for 8 years!
And a brand new never used Purdy brush.
(I encourage you to click on the picture to see it enlarged!)

 Close up of the layers of paint on that 8 yr. old Purdy!

Recently Purdy contacted me and asked if I wanted to try one of their brushes  and maybe blog about it. I said sure, but I felt a little guilty. Why? (Whispering: Well, because we already have an arsenal of Purdy brushes in our painting supplies. When it comes to brushes, that is all we buy.)  Okay, this is where I need to tell you that –  yes, Purdy sent my a free brush and 5-in-1 painting tool to try out. But, did they pay me? No. And, did they ask me to write a positive review? No. So, I am being totally honest with you when I say that I do like their brushes. That being said, I have not tried some other high quality brushes. The only thing I do wish was different about Purdy brushes, is that they would develop an ergonomic handle for their brushes. After an hour of painting trim my hand always cramps up.

I haven’t bought any ergo handle type brushes, but I have seen this brush from Proform Technologies:

I might just have to try one of these next time.

Okay, so I sold you on buying a good brush, and you were shocked by the price tag. Now I want to show how to care for that brush so it will behave for you (and you won’t have to replace it anytime soon.)

Be sure to clean your brush before the paint can dry on your brush. If you can’t wash it immediately, go ahead and leave your brush in a jar of water (or mineral spirits or turpentine for oil based stains or paint).

When you are ready, here is how to properly wash your paint brush:

1. Rinse out as much paint as you possibly can.

2. Bend the bristles against your palm or the bottom of your sink.
Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Gently separate the brush to expose the core
and rinse any paint out of the inside of the brush.
4. Squirt some dish or hand soap in your palm.
Working in a circular motion, mix the soap in your hand with your brush
until a big lather forms.


5. Then rinse all the soap out bending the bristles if needed.
6.Repeat steps 2-5 until the water runs clear. 
7.Squeeze all the paint out of your brush using your fingers like a squeegee.
Then hang your brush upside down to dry.
I used large paper clips to make these hooks that hang over the sink.

If you are using an oil based paint you will want to substitute mineral spirits or turpentine for the soap and water. I also try to keep the brushes I use for oil paint or stains separate from my latex brushes.

Happy painting for years to come!