This $10 Buy Can Save You a Paint Job

published Aug 4, 2018
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(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

In the midst of a kitchen and bath renovation in our 1890 home, I find myself uttering those four expensive words: while we’re at it. Most recently it was, “while we’re at it, why don’t we paint our dining room?” So I asked our drywall/paint contractor to add that onto his estimate for work in two other rooms. The total for the 225-ish square foot room? $1,890. (Turns out, we won’t be painting the dining room while we’re at it.) Now, granted, that included skimming/refinishing the awful textured ceiling, and all the door, window, and baseboard trim in the room, but still, here’s my point: Professional painting is not cheap.

But what if you’re not out to transform your room, but just have some dings and marks to address? Even if you take on the labor yourself, there’s still the paint, brushes, rollers, pans—not to mention all the time that goes into doing a proper paint job. It’s all incentive to ignore those wall places in need of some TLC (that spot where Airbnb guests taped a sign on the wall for their bachelorette party, I’m looking at you). Until you can’t walk by them one more time.

Here’s some good news. There’s no need for a full-on paint job. You can get by with ten bucks and literally a few minutes. Welcome to the happy world of touch-up tools. They may smack a bit of the stuff of infomercials, but they seriously do make your life easier. Check out the Shur-Line Touch-Up Painter–less than 7 bucks from Amazon.

This little gadget holds a couple ounces of paint, so, in an ideal world you’d fill it when you originally paint the room. That way, it’s loaded and ready to go when you need it. But, if you can’t go back in time, just fill it with some of your leftover paint. (You keep that, right? You definitely want to keep that). Worst case scenario: You get a sample size of your paint color and hope the match is exact. Regardless, it holds such a small amount that it’s super easy to shake—as opposed to thoroughly stirring a gallon bucket—which is pretty crucial to getting a good match.

Much like those dishwashing wands with handles that hold your dish soap, the touch up tool dispenses paint as you apply pressure. And because this dabs/rolls on, you don’t get the marks you would from touching up with a brush.

Online reviewers have a couple of extra cautions and tips for you. First, take the roller off quickly after you’re done to clean and dry it. You’ll also want to wash out the reservoir underneath the rollers. Lastly, to avoid drips, be sure to hold it vertically as you’re using it.

So next time your Magic Eraser won’t do the trick, no worries. And remember, before you do tackle an entire room paint job, plan ahead so you’re prepared with your touch-up secret weapon.