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    ·               Always “size” new brushes for best results. Loosen brush tips with fingers and rinse in cool, clean water until the bristles become dull. Pat dry.

    ·               Wash brushes in warm, soapy water immediately after use to extend their life.

    ·               Be sure to use only warm water — hot water will loosen the glue and cause brush damage.

    ·               Always begin painting with a moist but blotted brush.

    ·               Shake your paint before using.


    2.             THIS END UP!

             Use the pointed, wooden end of your paintbrush to make perfect dots.


    3.             HERE’S A GOOD POINT!

             When using paint pens, reverse the tips for a different point. They’ll last twice as long!


    4.             SAVE MONEY!

             To make inexpensive pallets, use paper or foam plates and old foam egg cartons.


    5.             LIGHT INTO DARK!

             When painting, put on the darker colors last because they help to define and hide uneven lines.


    6.             IT’S A FINE LINE!

             Hold your breath while painting a fine line. You’ll be amazed at how much more control you have.


    7.             COLOR YOUR WORLD!

             Add a bit of white paint to paints that are more transparent. It will make them hide better and you’ll use fewer coats.


    8.             NOT A TRACE!

             Use a colored pencil when tracing to remind you which lines you’ve already traced.


    9.             THE PRESSURE’S OFF!

             Be careful not to lean on your patterns when tracing. This will prevent smears and unwanted marks that may be difficult to erase or cover.


    10.         COOL IT!

             Use an old ice cube tray to mix your paints. If you have paint left over, put the tray in a sealed plastic bag and store in your refrigerator. The paint will keep until you need it again.


    11.         MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!

             Be sure to use the same measuring tools throughout each project. The calibration of two seemingly identical tools can be off by up to 1/8”— enough to adversely affect even simple jobs.


    12.         OH, BEANS!

             Pour small uncooked beans, rice or split peas into mason jars to hold paintbrushes upright. The brushes stay separated while drying and the hairs of the brushes retain their correct shape.


    13.         THE GREAT OUTDOORS!

             If your project will be displayed outdoors, be sure to use exterior grade plywood to prevent warping.


    14.         BE PREPARED!

             To prepare a perfect surface for painting, lightly sand the wood and apply a thin coat of Gesso. This will give you a wonderfully smooth surface to paint on.


    15.         MORE POWER TO YOU!

             Remember, power tools have no conscience. If you get in their way, watch out! Use the proper guards, guides and push sticks. Always wear safety goggles.


    16.         CUT IT OUT!

             If you’re using a router without a table, always be sure to take shallow cuts, using multiple passes to achieve the depth you want.


    17.         HIDE & SEEK!

             If you want to hide nail heads on your finished projects, you can always plug them with putty (but it can change color over time). Instead, carefully lift a sliver of wood with a knife or chisel, drive the nail through the exposed wood, then glue the sliver back in place.


    18.         BLUEPRINT FOR SUCCESS!

    To ensure success with your projects:

    Be sure you thoroughly understand the step-by-step plans.

    Have the proper amount of required materials.

    Make sure you have the best, well-honed and oiled tools for the job.


    19.         Im-PRESS-ive!

             To get rid of folds in patterns, place a dry cloth over the pattern and press lightly with an iron set on the steam setting.


    20.         Fabulous Fur

    ·               An easy way to paint fine hair, fur and grasses is to use a rake brush (sometimes called a comb). The ends of the bristles come to a sharp flat edge and are thin and staggered. You can make your own version of a rake brush by trimming an old worn-out brush. Be sure your paint is extremely thin so it flows easily.

    ·               To create hair or fur, load the brush and hold it perpendicular to the surface, then pull down with short, quick strokes, lifting to a taper as you end the stroke.

    ·               To create the look of wavy fur, try grouping sets of strokes that fan out slightly, with each set remaining distinct from those around it.

    ·               For large areas of fur, create a row of longer strokes, then move halfway up and make another row that overlaps the first. Successive overlapping layers will create the unbroken look of a realistic coat for your animal.



    21.         Special FX

    ·               Create dramatic and elegant special effects of reflecting light with a vibrant translucent glow using Iridescent Glazes (made by Delta). For use on a variety of surfaces, these brilliant varnishes in Gold, Red and Blue shimmer and shine like the rainbow. This special effect is intensified when applied over Delta Ceramcoat® Acrylic Paint.


    ·               Iridescent glazes can be used as a varnish on wood. They’ll add intensity to darker colors and give a subtle effect over light colors or unfinished wood.



    22.         Over & Over

             Need to fill large background areas with a pattern? Make a stencil from cardboard. It will help you paint repeat designs quickly and easily.



    23.         Get in Line!

    ·               Add interest to a plain surface by dividing it with contrasting bands or stripes of color.


    ·               Do your striping with a ruling pen. It takes a little practice but, once you get the hang of it, it's a terrific way to achieve precision you can't get with a brush. And, no taping required!



    24.         Best Blends

    ·               Want to extend your paint’s drying time? Use Delta Ceramcoat® Color Float. This is a concentrated medium that MUST BE DILUTED, 1 DROP TO 1 OZ. OF WATER. When Color Float is added to water, it makes blending, shading and line work easier. Color will last longer with less brush reloading. It can be used in rinse water at all times for easier painting.


    ·               Gel Blending Medium is thicker than Color Float and does not have to be diluted. Mix with Ceramcoat® Acrylic Paint to extend drying time for easier color blending. Work a small amount into a flat brush, side-load color on brush and blend. Gel Blending Medium can be used to soften colors, too.



    25.         Wipe Out!

             Ever want to change Rapidograph pen lettering on a project after it’s been sealed with varnish?  Apply window cleaner to a cotton swab, and with a slight rub, the lettering will be gone.



    26.         Clean Up Your Act

    ·               If you’re a messy painter and spill oil paint on your clothes, it’s easy to get it out even if it’s dried. Apply spray-on oven cleaner to the spot and then wash as usual.


    ·               Some "baby wipe" products contain alcohol and can be used to remove paint from your hands, clothes and brush handles. Be sure to read the label.


    ·               To quickly get your hands clean, mix some sawdust into your liquid hand soap. The abrasiveness of the sawdust really helps.



    27.         Without a Trace

    ·               When tracing a pattern, lay down graphite paper, then the pattern and top it off with a piece of tracing paper or waxed paper. This way, you’ll be sure not to miss any lines. Also, during painting, if you ‘lose’ your outlines, you can put your tracing paper over the painted surface (no need to use graphite and leave black smudges).


    ·               Here’s a quick way to transfer a pattern onto a work piece: make a photocopy of the pattern and use an ordinary household iron. With the photocopy placed face-down against the work piece, slowly move the iron (set on high) back and forth. The heat from the iron reactivates the toner on the photocopy and transfers the image to your work piece.



    28.         Top Treetop Tips

    ·               To make scenery look more natural, paint the sky color down into the tops of the trees a bit so the sky shows through the groups of foliage.


    ·               Paint a bit past the tracing line to give a loose, irregular look to your treetops. The tracing lines are only a suggestion of how tall to paint the trees.


    ·               When painting leaves, tap with the corner of your brush, pushing the paint off the top of the bristles to build up heavier and brighter foliage at the top and side of your leaf clusters. Tap a lot of overlapping foliage to build up a fairly large grouping of leaves, thus building the shape of the cluster.


    ·               When painting trees, work with both lighter and darker values by varying the amount of water mixed with the paint. The lighter trees will look more distant.



    29.         A Grand Finish

    ·               To get a smooth finish, use a slow brush stroke with a fully loaded brush and work from dry to wet so you always have a wet edge for each stroke to blend with. A slow stroke allows the finish to flow onto the surface very evenly, and it takes longer for the brush to run dry.


    ·               To remove a bristle, paint run or speck of dust dried in a finish, without ruining the finish, use a utility blade knife as a scraper. Grind the sharp points off the ends of the blade so you don't accidentally gouge the finish. Do not cut the flaw off; simply scrape it. First let the surface dry at least 24 hours (otherwise you’ll risk pulling the finish off the wood). Then, to remove hairs and bristles, lightly scrape with the wood grain until the flaw is removed and the finish is smooth.


    ·               Always finish the backs and undersides of your work pieces with a basecoat and varnish. It creates a much better presentation of your beautiful art.



    30.         Dust-B-Gone

             Many painters use tack cloth to remove sandy residue. Unfortunately, the resin in the cloth can sometimes stick to your surface. If you've had this problem, try dusting the surface with a wide, flat brush — or, save your used fabric softener sheets for easy wipe ups!


    31.         Trial Run

             When mixing values, test the colors on a piece of manila folder that has been painted with the background color to see how well the mixed values settle into the background.


    32.         To Paint or Not To Paint

    ·               You can apply liquid frisket using a paintbrush on areas you want to remain unpainted. Let it dry, but wash your brush right after applying frisket. When you’ve finished painting, use an eraser to gently remove the frisket.


    ·               To mask an area with contact paper, cut a piece into the shape you want to remain unpainted. Peel off the backing and stick the paper on the surface, pressing the edges firmly so that paint can't seep underneath. When finished painting, carefully peel off the contact paper mask, using a craft knife to lift the edges.


    33.         Brush Up!

    ·               To provide better coverage when applying stain to a dowel, cut a V-shaped notch in a foam brush.


    ·               Make "instant" foam brushes by sticking pieces of self-adhesive foam weather-stripping on sticks made from scrap pieces of wood or craft sticks. For larger brushes, wrap the weather-stripping around the end of paint stirring sticks.


    ·               If you run out of glue brushes, use an old toothbrush.  The bristles push the glue around well and the toothbrush is wide enough to cover an entire edge in one pass.


    34.         Sandpaper Capers

    ·               When applying liquid stains, the stain soaks deeper into the pores of the end grain than the face grain, darkening the ends much more than the face. One way to even out the stain color is to sand the end grain with a higher-grit sandpaper than the face grain. If you sand the face with 220-grit and the end grain with 600-grit, you’ll get a much better color match.


    ·               To sand coves, wrap sandpaper around small lengths of clear flexible plastic tubing (most hardware stores carry this type of tubing). Choose a diameter smaller than the radius of the cove. Slice the tube down its length and slip one edge of the sandpaper into the slit. Then wrap the sandpaper around the tube and hold it tightly while sanding.



    35.         Tape Trick

             To prevent pipe clamps from staining wood while you’re gluing, apply a strip of masking tape to the side of the pipe that is near the wood. The tape prevents the iron in the pipe from reacting with the water in the glue.



    36.         Wood Work

             To prevent a power sander (particularly a belt sander) from tilting near the edge of a work piece and rounding over the edge, place another board that's the same thickness against the end of the work piece. This way, the sander rides across the edge instead of rounding it over.



    37.         Chalk Up Success!

             To determine if the entire surface of a board that has been run through a thickness planer is truly flat, scribble a chalk mark on the surface of the board. Then run it through the planer until the chalk mark disappears



    38.         Carpet Tape Capers

    ·               To keep the point of a compass from marring the surface of your wood, use a scrap of Plexiglas, carpet-taped to your work where the compass point will be.


    ·               To make square corners, make triangular clamping blocks and stick them to the outside edges of mitered corners with carpet tape. Then use regular straight clamps across the blocks for the glue-up.


    ·               Stick carpet tape on the flaps of hinges to keep them from moving while you mark their location, drill screw holes and position doors.



    39.         Hold It!

    ·               To prevent pencils from disappearing, make a ‘pencil cushion’ from a piece of pipe insulation that fits onto a wall stud. Sticking pencils in the cushion keeps them handy and keeps the tips from breaking.


    ·               Apply lip balm to the threads of screws to make it easier to drive in the screws.


    ·               Do your small, sharp tools for scribing, marking and cutting get dulled by keeping them loose in a drawer? To protect the sharp edges and still keep each tool close at hand, make a small knife and tool holder. Use a piece of dense foam insulation (blue board) and anchor to your workbench by building a wood frame to fit around the foam. When the foam gets too chewed up, just flip it over.


    ·               To keep power cords rolled up and tangle-free, tie them with elastic ponytail holders. The best holders are the type with a small plastic ball at each end. They can be found anywhere beauty supplies are sold and are very inexpensive.



    40.         Vise Advice

             Clamping an irregular-shaped work piece in a bench vise can be a problem. If you exert enough pressure to hold the work piece, you may end up marring its surface. One solution is to use scraps of polystyrene insulation as “vise pads.” When you tighten the vise, the insulation conforms to the shape of the work piece without damaging it!



    41.         Get a Leg Up!

             Outdoor furniture will last longer if the legs can't wick up moisture from the ground. A thin-bodied epoxy, applied to the base of the legs of your piece soaks, in the best. Hobby stores usually carry it in several formulations. Just pick the runniest one. It'll probably have an extended open time. If you get too exuberant and drip epoxy over the edges, clean it off with acetone before it cures.



    42.         Bag It!

             A neat way to mix powdered putty, two-part epoxy, etc., is to put the ingredients in a small plastic sandwich bad and “squish” it until it’s mixed. Then, just snip off the corner of the bag and squeeze out what you need!



    43.         Stop!

             For a quick and simple bench stop, mount an old deadbolt taken from a door to the end of your workbench. In the “locked” position, the bolt stays put; in the "unlocked" position, it can be pushed down so you can use the unobstructed top.



    44.         Get It On Film

             Have you ever wanted to position a pattern so the wood grain matches the shape of the pattern or to avoid a knot? To solve the problem of not being able to see the wood grain through the pattern, photocopy your pattern onto a sheet of clear self-adhesive film. (Clear self-adhesive film is available at art and office supply stores. Two brand names are Letracopy and Raven Reprofilm; they sell for about 70¢ for an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet.) The film makes perfect patterns for cutting with a band saw or scroll saw. Its adhesive isn't quite sticky enough to hold it on wood when cutting on a table saw or while drilling, however.


    45.         KITCHEN HELPERS

    ·               Easily transfer a pattern onto a curved surface by first transferring the pattern onto a piece of flexible plastic wrap (the cheapest, least-clingy brand you can find). The plastic wrap will “mold” to the rounded surface much better than a stiff paper pattern.


    ·               Tape regular waxed paper on your work space, instead of the more expensive wax pallets, to protect your table when painting.


    ·               When tracing a design, place the pattern on your project surface, then place a piece of waxed paper on top of the pattern. This will help to eliminate indentations on your project and, in case you’re interrupted, the wax paper will show where you left off tracing.



    46.         WIPE OUT!

    ·               Think your project might look better with a border or antique finish? Varnish it first, then add the border or antique medium. If you don’t like the look, you can easily wipe it off!


    ·               Everyday make-up sponges are great tools to erase mistakes on a painted project. They’ll pick up surface paint without damaging the basecoat. Plus, they can be washed and reused.



    47.         MAGIC MATERIALS

    ·               If you need a carrot nose for a snowman, simply sharpen the end of a pencil or dowel rod and paint it orange.


    ·               Keep a strong magnet handy to quickly and easily pick up dropped nails, screws, tacks and washers. A magnet is also a great way to keep small adjustment tools (like Allen wrenches and chuck keys), in order, near your band saw, drill, etc.



    48.         LET IT FLOW!

             If you’re painting a big sign or another large project, squirt a line of paint directly onto the wood. It spreads quite quickly and evenly — and you’re not forever reloading your brush from a palette.



    49.         ARM YOURSELF!

             When carrying large pieces of wood into your shop, use a claw hammer as an extension of your arm. You can hook it on the bottom of the wood and carry the piece easily.



    50.         BROWN BAG IT!

             To create a lovely, smooth finish on your projects, apply two coats of water-based varnish. Then “sand” with a piece of brown paper bag before applying two more coats of varnish. You’ll be surprised how this seemingly smooth paper actually finely sands your piece! You can also use a piece of quilt batting if you have scraps handy. Then finish your piece with painter’s wax and buff to a lovely finish.



    51.         A BRIGHT IDEA

             Keep those strange plastic trays that Christmas lights come in. They make excellent drying racks for wet painted pieces. All of the little plastic tips keep newly painted pieces up off of the table and you can basecoat all sides at once!



    52.         SCREW IT

    ·               If you keep stripping the heads of brass screws, try assembling your project using steel screws first (use the same size and thread as the brass screws you plan to use later). Simply replace the steel screws with the brass screws at the end.


    ·               Before screwing into hardwood, you should always pre-drill a “pilot hole.” If your screw still refuses to go any further, simply rub a little moist bar soap or paraffin wax on the threads to act as a lubricant. This is especially useful when using soft metal screws made of brass or aluminum. DO NOT use oil or grease as a lubricant because these products may leach into your wood and stain it.


    ·               Metal screws are a lot harder than wood and it doesn’t take much vibration or stress for them to begin to work their way out. Rather than replacing the screw with a larger one, try this: insert a few toothpicks and a little glue into the hole. The toothpicks will help tighten up the hole and re-secure the screw. NOTE: in more stubborn cases, you might need to re-drill the hole, tap in a glue-covered dowel and then drill a new pilot hole for the screw.



    53.         CUT IT OUT!

    ·               When cutting plywood, here are some helpful tips:

    ·               Apply masking tape on the lines you’re cutting to prevent the plywood from splintering.

    ·               Use a second sheet of plywood as a rip guide when no long straightedge is available.

    ·               Sometimes, it’s easier to finish a sheet before cutting. Do this to save time when you can.

    ·               Break edges by running sandpaper from the inner portions of the plywood sheet outward to the open edge.

    ·               Avoid cross-cutting. Plywood tends to chip the most when cut across its width (grain). Cut along the length of the wood, whenever possible, to reduce chipping.



    54.         BLADE AID

             Remember, many different saw blades are manufactured for many different cutting jobs. The number of teeth, width, angle and rake of the blade will all impact your cut. Brush up on blade knowledge and always choose the blade that best matches your specific cutting needs.



    55.         WARM UP!

             If you have a can of spray paint that tends to spray too coarsely or speckled, try soaking the can in warm water for a couple of minutes before using.



    56.         MAKE YOUR OWN!

    ·               Using foam, a tongue depressor and masking tape, you can make your own disposable foam brushes. Cut the tongue depressor with scissors to straighten one end. Wrap a 1/2-inch strip of foam around the end and fasten with masking tape. Voila! A disposable foam brush for pennies.


    ·               A homemade dust collector will help to keep your work area clean and dust-free! Fit a standard furnace filter to the back of a box fan (use large rubber bands, straps or a permanent homemade frame). Set the fan behind your work space and it will help to collect much of the dust before it becomes airborne.



    57.         GLUE GONE!

             When gluing a project, some glue always seems to squeeze out of the joint. Wait for the glue to “gel up” a bit before scraping it off with a sharp chisel or razor blade. Wiping up the glue before it gels can spread it out over the surface and cause you a lot more sanding later.



    58.         NAIL IT!

             Driving a nail near the end of a board can often result in a split. (As the nail is driven into the wood, it forces the fibers apart and causes the grain to split.) An old carpenter’s trick is to flatten the tip of the nail with a hammer. The flattened tip allows the nail to “chop” through the wood, “crushing” the fibers rather than splitting them.



    59.         FAN-DANGO

             Keep a small fan near your work space to blow away unwanted hairs, dust, lint, etc., while you’re painting. A mounted aquarium pump with 2-inch air tubing can help blow stuff away, as well, before you start.



    60.         IN STYLE!

             Use your stylus to make easy comma strokes! It’s also the perfect tool to use for painting delicate facial features on smaller projects. Use it to create perfect brows, eyes and lips.




    ·               Remove the sponge from old, worn-out sponge brushes and use the inner plastic base as a spatula for mixing paints or adhering glue. When the plastic piece dies, pry it off and use the wooden base for a project dowel!


    ·               Save the metal ends from frozen juice cans and use them to mix small quantities of paint. Wash and reuse. They can also be primed and painted as ornaments or your own unique gift tags!




    ·               Save old pieces of Styrofoam (the kind that computers and other products come packaged in) and use them as paintbrush holders. Just poke the wooden ends of the brushes into the Styrofoam. Now you can easily see all of the brushes you have on hand for any and every need.


    ·               Use small plastic clothespins to hold items together while drying. The plastic won’t mar your projects.


    ·               Save that old #6 round brush that’s splaying by winding thread around the hair near the ferrule. Secure the thread in place with a dab of glue. Or, Fabric Tac works great, too!




    ·               Save the wire from old used spiral notebooks. You can easily reshape it or use it all curly — makes the perfect accents or hanging wire for your projects and ornaments.


    ·               Save or buy old roll-up-style window shades. They take paint well and you can easily cut the old shade into any patterns you like. Great decorations for kids’ rooms! The material also makes great placemats!




    ·               If you get “junk mail” that includes magnetic advertising pieces, save ‘em! Cut the magnet into strips and glue pieces to the backs of your finished wood magnets. Remember, magnets aren’t just for fridges any more — decorate your washer, dryer, dishwasher, utility cupboards and more.


    ·               Use the clear plastic Mylar tops from greeting card boxes to make stencils. Even the sides can be used to create small stencil patterns!



    65.         DENT-B-GONE

    ·               If you have a piece of dented wood, you can easily repair it by steaming out the crevice. It’s not a quick fix but, if you’re patient, you’ll find that this works really well:

    ·               Cover the crushed wood fibers with a damp towel.

    ·               Apply a hot iron on the towel until it begins to dry out.

    ·               Remoisten the towel and repeat several times.



    66.         FLOAT YOUR BOAT

             To float paint easily, simply dampen a small piece of paper towel, wring it out well and wipe it over your painted project. Then float in your usual manner. You’ll find that there’s just enough moisture on the surface to prevent unwanted float lines.



    67.         E-Z CLEAN

    ·               For Dried-Up Brushes:

    ·               Spray “De-Solv-It” on dried-up brushes and wait 15 minutes. The dried paint will soften. Wash the brush with Ivory soap and it will be returned to excellent condition.


    ·               For Your Hands:

    ·               When washing up with soap after painting, squeeze some moisturizer into your hands at the same time. The acrylic paint will come right off and soften your hands, too!



    68.         SQUEEZE EASE

             Save old squeeze-style bottles (like from ketchup or salad dressing) and wash them thoroughly. When you buy large cans of paint or varnish, transfer it into the squeeze bottles (note: the caps resemble 2-oz. acrylic bottle caps). You can then squeeze out just the amount you want and easily clean the caps, eliminating messy paint can lids.



    69.         E-Z FIX

             How many times have you carefully burnished the edges of your painter’s tape only to find that some paint has still seeped underneath? Here’s an easy fix: instead of painting over the mistake, dab a bit of extender onto a cotton swab and rub off the unwanted paint.


    70.         THE EYES HAVE IT!

             To create a perfect highlight when painting eyes, apply a strong white dot, then lightly “smoosh” it with your finger. This creates a translucent look for the perfect “eye-light.”


    71.         FLOWER POWER

             When painting flowers, such as daisies, sharpen the wood end of your paintbrush to create a dual-purpose tool. After you finish the flower petals, dot around the outer edge of the center of the flower with the sharpened end of your brush. Saves time. Looks pretty!


    72.         SEAL THE DEAL!

             After applying your entire base coat, apply a thin coat of varnish to seal it. Then, if you have to do a “wipe-out” on any of the following layers, your base coat will remain intact.


    73.         OH, BABY!

             Use inexpensive baby wipes (ones with no alcohol in them) to quickly wipe up mistakes. They’re great for wiping out graphite marks, too.



    74.         MAY THE FORK BE WITH YOU

             Here’s an easy way to paint four perfect dots in a row. Dip the tines of a fork into a puddle of paint, then press the tips onto your painting surface. Ta-da! You’ll have four uniform dots. Reload the fork each time to create a line, or rows and rows, of perfect dot points.


    75.         FILL ‘ER UP!

             You can paint cute little “filler roses” quickly and easily with a cotton swab! Dip one-half of one end into white paint, the other half into red. Tap once on your palette, then place on your project, turning/twisting the cotton swab slightly to “swirl” a rose! Experiment on a piece of paper first. See how easily you can create these darling little blooms! Add them as add accents, to fill in a bouquet or brighten those empty spots on your projects. Be creative and create a whole glorious garden — mix red and white, coral and ivory, mauve and white and more.


    76.         SMOOTH OPERATOR

             To help prevent scratches on your finished, varnished surfaces, apply a generous coat of paste wax or neutral shoe polish, then buff to a pretty, protective shine!


    77.         ALL A-BOARD!

             To easily paint tiny little pieces (like for pins or magnets), coat a piece of heavy cardboard with spray adhesive (the kind you use for stenciling), then mount the little pieces in rows on the cardboard. Now you can paint the tops and edges easily, without moving the pieces or getting paint all over your fingers. You can reuse the cardboard several times.


    78.         ON THE STRAIGHT & NARROW

             Need to paint a really THIN, STRAIGHT line? Use a pizza cutter that has been rolled in very thin paint.


    79.         BE CENT-IMENTAL!

             Here’s a great way to date your projects — especially those you make for special gifts. Drill a 3/4” dia. x 1/16” deep hole in the base or underside of your piece. Then epoxy a bright, shiny new penny in place. Your family and friends will love to get a “lucky” penny and a very special reminder of the year they received your most precious gift!






    80.         When transferring a pattern, put a piece of wax paper over your pattern sheet so your pencil will glide smoothly and your pattern will be protected


    81.         Keep a small bottle of water on your work table. Use an old 2 oz. acrylic paint bottle that has been thoroughly cleaned. If you need to add a few drops of clean water to your acrylic, just drop a few drops onto your palette either into the puddle of paint or just onto the palette. Just a drop or two, beads up and stays in place on a clean spot. The puddle of clean water is handy for quick cleanups and also to keep the right amount of moisture in your brush when you are sideloading.


    82.         So often if your basecoat is white or a light pastel color, using graphite can cause nasty dirty marks to remain. To over come this, obtain a gray chalk pencil.....a Pastel Conte A Paris France 1355 #33 works well. Rub the chalk pencil on a plain piece of paper...about the size of a 4x4 square. Then use this in place of black graphite. You will find that the white or pastel basecoat stays clean and as you paint the moisture will "erase" the chalk lines. Any lines that may be left can be "lifted" by using a damp flat brush.


    83.         If you do not always have textured paint for a snowy project, use very fine saw dust and mix it with white paint...you can produce great looking Santa’s beards this way.  If you use white paint and waterbased varnish it is less likely to "flake" off. Ratio....Teaspoon of white paint, to 1/4 teaspoon of waterbased varnish. Mix in the sawdust to create a creamy consistency that you can put on with a palette knife. Please do not mix water with just the sawdust...water will bring out the color of the wood and this will give you an 'off-white' color when you mix in the white paint. Dry overnight....repaint with straight white if necessary after the texture has dried.


    84.         Use a piece of packing styrofoam and push straight pins through the styrofoam so that the ends come out the top side.  When finished painting an item (pot, etc.)  place it on the pins and the freshly painted surface dries quickly and without smudging. ( the styrofoam must be thinner than the length of the pins)


    85.         Use a travel baby wipe container for a wet palette. Just cut a cellulose sponge to fit ,wet and top with tracing paper. This makes a great, airtight portable container.  Paint can last for a week.


    86.         Wet Ones or any other similar type wipe will remove acrylic paint from hands, even after it dries. It will also remove it from clothing if you get to it before it dries. It will also remove wet mistakes off your project without harm (go lightly).


    87.         Use colored chalk and rub it on the back of patterns, then transfer it to your project. When painting the project the chalk absorbs into the paint or can be brushed away after the painting has dried.


    88.         An excellent way to get stain off your hands is to use WD40. Just use one small spray and rub your hands together as if using soap. Then wipe with a paper towel. A real handy item to keep in the shop.


    89.         Use small plastic containers (like Crystal Lite comes in) to hold wooden balls while painting and let them dry on it. This makes it easy to do strokework and other designs freehand.


    90.         Most yellow paint makes a difficult base because of its transparent nature. Basecoat with white first then cover with the yellow to get an even and brilliant color.


    91.         To get a nice final surface on wood products pefore painting, use a brown paper bag as the last sanding material used. It leaves no scratches and gives a nice smooth surface. It must be a brown paper bag.


    92.         Use rubbing alcohol to clean brushes that could have some dried paint on them. It also works well for getting paint of clothing.


    93.         Once you have completed your basecoat and you want to use tape to create a 'straight line' of painting. On the side where you are going to paint, always paint along this edge with the color of the basecoat. This will 'seal' along the tape with the basecoat color. Let it dry and then paint on top of this with the chosen color. Remove the tape as soon as possible.....this should give you a very nice crisp line with no bleeding taking place under the tape.


    94.         When painting many Chrismas items, save the little amounts of red and green paints in quart jars (pour reds in one, greens in one and so on). Use the new colors for basecoating, painting frames, on big items that take a lot of paint or what ever else.



    95.         For a great disposable paint palette, use an inexpensive clip board, fill with copy paper and as the sheets fill with paint lift clip and take off. You are always ready with a clean paper to begin painting again.



    96.         Wax paper makes a great table cover. Just tear off a sheet to the length you need and place your piece to be painted on top. This helps with fly specking keeping those specks in at least a smaller area.



    97.         Purchase inexpensive nail files, the kind used for acrylic nails, at the beauty supply shop for sanding the edges of your wood before sealing. They work great, last quite a while and also work great to make your piece look primitive after painting.



    98.         Always wipe off all sanding residue with a tack cloth before proceeding with another coat of varnish or acrylic paint.



    99.         Use a small piece of cheesecloth to apply stain. Touch it into the stain and then rub it onto the wood.



    100.      To relieve eye strain when painting fine details on a project, try to look up, at something in the distance and focus in on an object at that distance. This keeps your eyes from feeling so much strain. It really works best if you do it every few minutes.


    101.      To clean brushes use a little "Purell" handcleaner. It works wonders even on old brushes with hardened paint .



    102.      Always use a dust mask when sanding to avoid getting dust particles in your lungs.



    103.      If you make a mistake or don't like a finished piece once its completed, simply antique it.  Sand the project to give it that old worn look and/or apply an antiquing glaze and wipe off until satisfied. Most people will think you wanted it that way from the beginning.



    104.      Keep some isopropyl alcohol near at hand when using acrylic paints. It helps to remove accidents from your clothes. Spot clean with alcohol, then use regular spot remover methods.



    105.      Using an ironing board makes a great table to paint on because it adjusts up and down. You can either sit or stand or walk around it when painting large surfaces. Just throw a plastic cloth over it when use it for a painting table.



    106.      If you buy the larger size can of sealer and hate to always be opening and closing the lid, just rinse out ( very well) a soap detergent bottle and you have the perfect spout for pouring with no mess and then just pop the top back down to close.



    107.      When you need a clear, sparkle glaze or finish - just add fine glitter to your varnish. It saves from having to buy prepared glitter glaze and is inexpensive



    108.      When you want to basecoat holiday projects with a vibrant red, be sure to use Delta's Opaque Red. It provides beautiful coverage in just a couple of coats, unlike most other red paints.



    109.      Use an airtight container to save all your workable excess paint mixes or paint from your palette. Just pour all the paint colors together. Then use this odd mix whenever you want to practice your strokework. It's always ready to go and you will never be wasting any paint.



    110.      A rake brush is an ideal dry-brush tool for forming grass, fur and hair. A filbert shaped rake brush is easy to use in tight spaces.



    111.      Use denatured alcohol to clean surfaces, remove sanding dust as well as latex and acrylic paints. Plus it doesn't leave residues like tack cloths or possibly change the natural color of wood like some window cleaners can (ammonia is use to change the color of some woods)



    112.      When sanding wood surfaces, wet the surface with a damp cloth before final sanding. This will raise the grain of the wood. When this is sanded smooth, and removed the dust with a tack cloth, the surface is very very smooth. This makes it easier for basecoating and less, if any, further sanding is needed.



    113.      Sand with the grain of the wood.



    114.      If you need to paint many wooden balls or tiny pieces the same color for a project, place them all in a zip-loc baggie.  All you need to do is pour your paint into the baggie and squish the pieces around!


    115.      Save finishing time later by staining wood pieces as soon as they are cut and sanded. Then put on a basecoat, sand lightly, then put on pattern, etc. By preparing this way, there seems to be much less raising of the grain, and time is saved with much less sanding.



    116.      Use chunky stamps and dip into clear varnish, then press it onto your painted surface. Then take glitter and sprinkle the design, shake off the excess. Now you have a glittery design. It looks very special for holiday projects.



    117.      When you need to glue a painted item, first cover a small area with tape where the glue will go, then paint as normal. Remove tape when paint is dry and you have a clean area the glue will hold to much better.



    118.      Add a little bit of blue to objects in the distance because it will push them into the background. Adding warmer colors to objects brings them forward.



    119.      When painting small items, take an old cookie sheet and place rows of double-stick carpet tape in it. Then place the small items on the tape and paint away. This will hold securely and can be used over and over. When the tape is too covered with paint, just put a new strip over that one!



    120.      Rub screws over beeswax before putting them into your project. This allows the screws to glide in easily and helps to prevent splitting.


    121.      To prevent a power sander (particularly a belt sander) from tilting near the edge of a workpiece and rounding over the corner, place another board that's the same thickness up against the workpiece.  This way, the sander rides across the edge instead of rounding it over.


    122.      When installing hinges, you need to be ready to make a few adjustments. This can mean putting on and taking off the door a few times. And one thing to avoid is breaking one of the brass woodscrews. So use a single steel woodscrew to hold each leaf during the fitting process.  If the hinge mortise is too deep, use a thin piece of cardboard as a shim.


    123.      The problem with assembling a large project is it’s hard to keep it from racking after you add the glue and then try to screw it together. This problem can be solved by making several plywood “clamping squares” that resemble a framing square. When clamped in place, they square up the cabinet and hold the pieces in position.



    124.      When keeping several different size dowels on hand, make a simple storage rack. The rack consists of three pieces of PVC pipe that “stairstep” up in height (10", 22", and 34").  If a dowel is too short to stick out the top of a pipe, it’s still visible through a “window” opening in front.  When cutting this opening on a bandsaw, it’s a good idea to clamp the pipe to a board to keep it from rolling.

    125.      When cutting plywood with a circular saw,  place the good surface of the plywood down because the blade causes chipout on the top ("up") side. When you want a clean cut on both sides of the plywood, to prevent chipout on the top side, attach an auxiliary plate to the saw's base plate. The auxiliary plate has a "zero clearance" blade slot cut in it. This backs up the wood fibers along the cut line and prevents chipout on the top side of the plywood. The idea is pretty simple. Screw a piece of ¼" Masonite to the saw's base plate. Then plunge the blade through it. Now you've got a plate with a zero clearance blade slot. The only problem is that now the blade guard won't work. It's held back by the auxiliary plate, so the blade is left exposed -- and that's not safe. To solve this problem, cut a wide second slot centered on the first.  Cut it wide enough to allow the guard to move freely, but stop it ¾" back from the forward end of the blade slot. The shortened blade slot still prevents chipout because it occurs at the leading edge of the blade. And that's still buried in the narrow slot.

    126.      No matter what blade you're using, or what material you're cutting, you'll almost always have splintering along the edges of a freehand sabre saw cut. To prevent this, make a plate of 1/8" Masonite that attaches to the base of the sabre saw with double sided carpet tape. A slot in the Masonite fits tightly against the sides of the blade preventing splintering. A notch at the front of the plate helps you follow the pencil line.


    127.      Clamping an irregular shaped workpiece in a bench vise can be a problem. If you exert enough pressure to hold the workpiece, you may end up marring its surface. One solution is to use scraps of polystyrene insulation as "vise pads". When you tighten the vise, the insulation conforms to the shape of the workpiece without damaging it.


    128.    What is the difference between a Single and Double Action Airbrush?

                Single Action refers to airbrushes with triggers controlling only the air flow. Fluid is released by turning the needle adjustment screw. When the trigger is depressed, a pre-set amount of fluid is sprayed.


                Dual Action refers to an airbrush with a trigger controlling both the air and color (press down on the trigger for air, pull back on the trigger for color). A dual action airbrush allows for varying line widths while spraying.

    129.    What is the difference between Internal Mix and External Mix Airbrushes?

                Internal Mix airbrushes atomize (to reduce to minute particles) the fluid inside the main body of the airbrush, specifically inside the head assembly. It also atomizes the air and fluid into very fine mist, which gives the spray pattern a very fine texture.

                External Mix indicates that air and paint mix outside the airbrush, producing a larger, coarser spray pattern than an internal mix airbrush.


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