It seems that even professionals can have a bad day painting. Over time
we have received various funny decorating stories and handy tips from
trade painters, so we have gathered together a selection for you. Please
note that these tips have not been tested by Resene and are included
below as supplied to us.
We hope you enjoy these stories and tips and if you have a funny decorating
story of your own to share or a handy tip we'd love to hear from you
- submit your funny decorating
story or submit your handy decorating tip.
Thank you to all those who sent in their funny tales and handy tips.
"We were redecorating a school's smoko room and left our labourer
to seal up some stains on the ceiling. All we had in the van was Resene's
Smooth Surface Sealer. Meanwhile our labourer who holds his pot under
his armpit with his arm wrapped around it instead of holding the handle,
slipped off his steps and of course the paint ended up covering his
face, hair and cupboard doors. Our foreman turns up to find a VERY RED
faced worker who had tried to clean a meths based product off his face
Thanks to: Sharon Campbell of Holmes Decorating
"A number of years ago I was working for a painting firm which
was owned by a Dutch gentleman. My workmate and I were discussing paint
finishes while our Dutch boss was nearby. We talked about a certain
roller sleeve which would leave an 'orange peel' texture on the wall.
Some time later we heard our boss tell our other workmate who had just
returned from an errand not to use this certain roller sleeve as we
had discussed as it would leave a 'banana skin' texture!"
Thanks to Adrian Greenwold of Excel Decorating
First up, the tip:
To keep your hands clean delegate the work to someone else!
And now for the story - this one definitely brought a smile!
While driving along the road miles from anywhere my van so full I had
to have the back doors open to accommodate my ladders etc a car came
up from behind and proceeded to flash his lights. Thinking he was in
need of something I pulled over to the side of the road. He driver got
out of his car and came to me with an unusual request for someone so
far from anywhere.
"Have you any clean rags and turps in the van?" he asked.
I replied that I had. "Come and look at my car," he said.
A tin of blue paint had fallen out the back of my van and splashed over
the front of his car.
He was smiling as we proceeded to clean the grill lights, etc. I said
he was very good about the misadventure. "Oh you won't believe
it" he said "but it happened to me last week, I'm a painter
too." We had a laugh together and he went his way. I don't think
I even asked him his name. Goodness knows what people thought as they
drove by and saw two people polishing a car on the side of the road
miles from anywhere.
Thanks to John Holt of Onehunga who shared both a tip and a story
I was asked to quote on an interior job. When I arrived I found it had
scrim on the walls so I called the client to advise him to re-GIB®.
He was hoping I could hang new paper over the baggy paper and scrim.
I told him that it could be possible to hang the new paper with a staple
gun but not by me. I got the job after the new GIB® went up.
Tip: what looks like the cheap option is often false economy.
Thanks to R Williams of Prime Decorating
A few years back when I hadn't long been signwriting I was given a job
signing on a hamburger shop.
On arriving I got out my gear and did the big hard job first - hamburgers
on the front shop window. I then proceeded to lay out and sign the menu
and pricing board and then quickly in fast casual script completed the
That Friday night on the way back from a night out, I thought I'd shout
my mates a feed, so proceeded to the Hamburger shop to show off the
afternoon's work. The shop manager was very friendly but before making
our purchases kindly asked me to look at the price board. A customer
had pointed out a spelling mistake - HAMBUGERS. You did a great job
my friends still say but you need to learn how to spell!
Thanks to Peter Faithful of Greymouth
We had just finished sealing the walls of a new house when the owner
arrived to discuss the colour scheme with me. We were talking for 30
minutes and my foreman of 20 years experience was getting itchy to carry
on and butted in to ask what the colours were. Spanish White for the
lounge I said. He asked about the rest and the client said ditto for
the rest. He came back with 4L Spanish White and said those idiots at
Resene can't find the colour 'Ditto' anywhere!
Thanks to Kevin Stone of Christchurch
Problems in drying weather with paint build up on the top of your paint
bristles? Wind 50mm of carton tape around the brush so it comes down
approx 20-25mm over the top of bristles. This helps retain moisture
at the top of the brush, makes cleaning the brush easy and helps to
keep rough bristles in place. It only takes a few seconds to put on
and remove and works well. Try it!
Thanks to Rob McDonald of Palmerston North
The following little tip would save time, money and effort. Our resthome
has recently been fully redecorated and during this process the fire
alarm has been set off by our own staff and several contractors. To
get a nice wallpaper finish they tried to unscrew the manual alarm(s)
point (break glass and push button type), which activated it. It would
not be hard to imagine for anyone that evacuating the resthome, even
in stages, entails plenty of work. Great hilarity... the first time!
We figured out how this had happened, but after the second and third
time the joke wore thin. Getting invoiced for a false alarm involving
three fire engines also wiped the smiles off management's face. Thank
goodness renovations are completed. One plus - staff are now very competent
at evacuating the building!!
Thanks to Tamahere Eventide Home
When applying paint over silicon causing sissing, wipe the silicon areas
with vinegar to allow the paint to adhere - this will stop sissing.
Thanks to Andrew Boulton of Timaru
"I recently served a lady whom was after a 4L of Spanish White
in semi-gloss acrylic. I proceeded to tint up some Sonyx 101 to Spanish
White and labelled it as normal, writing the colour name, shop name
and my name - MATT. Twenty minutes later I received a very abusive phone
call from a lady accusing me of supplying her with flat paint rather
than semi-gloss as she had asked. I replied 'No I mixed up a 4L of Spanish
White in semi-gloss acrylic'. By this stage the lady was furious because
not only had I supplied her with the incorrect paint but I was also
accusing her of being stupid. She quickly replied 'Excuse me, but on
the label it says 'Spanish White and underneath that it says MATT'.
I quietly giggled and promptly explained to her that MATT was actually
my name and not the sheen level of the paint. She quickly apologised,
had a bit of a giggle herself and apologised again.
Thanks to Matt of Resene
Get in behind
Years ago my Dad was wallpapering the lounge in their flat and a large
cabinet stood against the east wall. Mum suggested they move it out
to wallpaper behind it. Dad's reply was that the cabinet was attached
to the wall and it was far too big to move anyway. Mother agreed. When
mother died and as Dad had passed away earlier it fell on me to redecorate.
I called in a painter and we discussed redecorating behind the cabinet.
An argument began, I said it couldn't be moved as it 'was attached to
the wall' - he said it could be moved. A compromise was reached, the
cabinet moved out and lo and behold the wallpaper stopped directly around
the cabinet - noone else had ever papered there either. Amongst a lot
of laughter the walls were papered, the cabinet returned to its original
spot and in due course I married the painter!
Thanks to DÈcor Decorating Contractors of Paraparaumu
While painting a roof recently my tray slipped - sailed past me - couldn't
do a thing about it. It hit the next door neighbour's concrete driveway
with a resounding crash. The next door neighbour promptly appeared and
went off her block! She stood and watched me clean every last drop up.
Now her concrete driveway is cleaner than it has been in years! It was
only later on how funny it was - paint everywhere, her yelling and screaming...
Thanks to Ron's Renovations of Timaru
Seven years of renovating had nearly come to an end. Just the finishing
touches were needed like painting doorways, skirting boards etc. The
decision had been made to sell our home in Melbourne as we had decided
to move back home to good old Wellington to be with family. We had decided
to sell at auction which meant open homes every Saturday and Sunday
for a month leading up to the auction.
The first open home was being held on a Saturday afternoon at 1pm and
I only had the laundry door to paint. At 12.35 the last lick of paint
was applied to the door and we were ready for the open home.
As I lifted the tin of near white paint from the jet black slate floor
the edge of the lid caught the handle and the tin flipped. The remaining
half litre of paint then proceeded to flow evenly down the slate hallway,
filling up all the rows of grout along the way!!
Grabbing about 10 towels, 3 newspapers and 2 daughters, we started
the clean up. One large plastic bag was needed to hold the towels and
paper and the 2 daughters were on bended knees with boiling hot water
and sponges trying to mop up.
At 12.58 when the last drop of paint was removed one very paint covered
mother and two daughters vacated the premises for the open home with
the prospective buyers having no idea of what had just taken place.
Thanks to Jackie Marriott of Lower Hutt
I was spray painting the Kahurangi Lighthouse in bad windy conditions
and had so much alkyd paint over me that that when the Ministry of Works
boss flew in to check on job he didn't know who I was!!! Considering
I had painted Pilmar Point lighthouse twice prior to that for him I
must have looked a sight for him not to recognise me.
Of course that wasn't the only time I ended up covered in paint. While
on an extension ladder with a pot hook (wire) I managed to hook the
paint pot handle right on top of the hook end. The first brushful saw
the pot of paint fall to the ground and the paint came straight back
up into my face. What a waste of good paint!
Thanks to Bob Wells Painting and Decorating of Timaru
Two of us were painting a garage roof. My mate painted himself into
a corner. He thought he'd take a couple of steps to get out. Wham, he
fell off the roof. He was OK but covered in paint. I thought silly bugger.
I decided to finish the square he left by standing on the lead head
nails. Double whammy - I came off too. We were both cleaning ourselves
off when a neighbour came over to see if we were OK. A retired couple
had been watching us as they washed their lunch dishes. The lady couldn't
believe it - she said to her husband at the time 'Look George the painter
has fallen off the roof. Look George there goes the other one.' True
Thanks to Dennis Brown Painters of Christchurch
Add a cap of Umber, Sienna and Ochre tinters (MPS stainers) to 4L polyurethane
when varnishing Rimu - it brings back the colour and brightens up the
Thanks to Russell Williams of Dunedin
Working on a local farm painting the house, garage and farm sheds in
the middle of a hot summer allows you to appreciate wide open spaces.
After enjoying cooked lunches followed by puddings I was asked if I
could squeeze the shearing shed roof in, which I obliged.
The first day allowed the roof to be waterblasted and primed. The second
day caused concern. Farmer Brown had killed some sheep that night, drums
of offal and waste smell created a sickening effect. Continuing with
the job the smell seemed to linger around all day. I got brassed off
with Farmer Brown being so inconsiderate and decided he'd be getting
an earful. Sure enough the sound of his ATV motorbike coming down the
hill and down the lane readied me for his blast.
Farmer Brown: Hi Painter, how's it going?
Painter thinks: He'll wear my temper soon.
Painter says: Good, see ya had a kill eh?
Farmer Brown: Yeah, thought you'd also like one for your freezer.
Painter: Thanks very much, nice day isn't it?
Thanks to Maurice Mills Decorating of Invercargill
My story relates to an incident that took place during 1960 whilst we
were repainting the exterior of a 40 year old farmhouse at Glen Oroua.
On the property was a collection of old farm buildings that held a wide
range of old machinery and many varied past used farm items.
One day when the farmer went to town for a stock sale, curiosity got
the better of us and we went 'exploring' in one of the old sheds. This
one had been used as a general store shed and on a bench in one corner
was a collection of partly filled paint tins. One that caught our eye
was a 1/2 gallon tin in a very rusty state,
which was bulging at the seams and top under great pressure.
Being young and naive, I commenced to prize the lid off with my putty
knife when lo and behold, the lid disappeared towards the heavens at
a great rate of knots and the seam split spraying us with an unsightly
white gooey emulsion substance that stuck like peanut butter on carpet.
But the worst was yet to come. The stench was something out of this
world. It was worse than a Turkish camel driver's armpit or even the
inside of a septic tank cleaner's gumboots - it was putrid.
We staggered outside only to be greeted by the sight of cows in the
adjacent paddock showing their disgust by walking away with their heads
bowed and waving their tails in the air and watched in awe as one of
the free range chooks laid the same egg three times. We had to discard
our overalls they were in such a mess.
When the farmer returned we told him what had happened and he just
laughed and said a lot of the stuff in the shed belonged to his grandfather
who had been attached to a stores unit during the First World War and
there will be all sorts of things there.
Six months later we returned to the farm to redecorate the interior
of the house and the farmer told us that since that day, his cows had
not contracted mastitis, his apple trees were clear of codlin moth and
his wife was pregnant and due to give birth at Christmas!!!
Thanks to Dave Corley of Palmerston North
One occasion I called to say I would be starting their job tomorrow.
A beautiful young lady answered the door (no telephones in those days)
- I said will you tell your Mam to STRIP - I'll be here at 8am. The
smile I received is still with me all these years later.
Thanks to Bernard Reid of Mt Maunganui
If using acrylic paint, drips, minor spills and blemishes can be cleaned
off other surfaces using meths instead of water when still fresh.
Thanks to Norm Vince of Hastings
It was the last day of the year and we were just finishing up on a new
home. Everybody was keen to get home early and we just had the finishing
touches to do, sweeping the floor before the new owners moved in. One
guy sweeping decided to practice his golf swing with the broom; full
back swing great tee shot, head comes off the broom straight through
the lounge wall. Needless to say we didn't get away early that day.
A different day, a different painter's nightmare - a paint spill and
this one was a cracker. We arrived on the job and had to repaint the
exterior windows with black enamel paint. We'd done all the prep work
and we were ready for topcoating on a beautiful day. One of us placed
a 1 litre can of enamel on the windowsill so we could open the windows
when suddenly a gust of wind slammed the window shut and knocked the
paint right into the middle of the lounge floor onto the lovely (well
I'm sure the homeowner thought so!) pink carpet. Panic stations set
in... we got inside to find not only did the carpet cop it but the three
piece suite, the stereo and the wallpaper. Thank goodness for insurance!
And last but not least... how's this for bizarre? Last job of the day
we puttied up the skirting boards. The next day when we arrived there
was no putty in the skirting, instead there were a trial of mice droppings
around the house, starting off as brown ones and ending up as pure putty.
The little bugger had scratched them all out and eaten them.
Thanks to Adrian of Christchurch
Top painting tip: Don't take up painting as a career!!
Thanks to Adrian of Christchurch
Did you know that the only way to eliminate brush and rollermarks when
applying size to new hardboard is to spray it on?
Thanks to Dave Corley of Palmerston North
A well known full time fisherman, part-time painter in Invercargill
had pumped himself up to be one of the best level 5 finishers in the
country but when trying to sand his stopping in a bedroom had come to
a wall that had a window that covers 90% of the wall... without thinking
he swung his dustless sander onto the wall which also had the client's
curtains still fixed to the tracks. To his amazement the dustless sander
didn't sand well over the curtains and got all tangled up in his sanding
head. You can just imagine the look on his face as the curtain and sander
went head to head - one foot on the ground and one foot on the wall
trying to prize free what he thought could have been a blue fin marlin.
Apply a layer of varnish over old marks (i.e. pencil, pen, pen marker,
paint) on wood, then, while it is wet, sand it off and you'll find the
marks come off too.
Thanks to Emere Bell of Napier
I remember one day a few years ago we have a lovely elderly lady who
frequently used to come into our ColorShop to buy bits and pieces. She
must have been about eighty in the shade and was doing up an old family
home room by room so that she could sell it and buy something smaller.
Anyway, on this particular day she had come in to browse through the
wallpaper library and a male staff member (let's call him Bob) was helping
her with suggestions and ideas. "What's unusual about that?"
I hear you ask. Well nothing really, but imagine my surprise as a manager
the next day when I approached the lady to offer help (the original
male staff member was away) and was told "Yes I was in yesterday
and was talking to 'Bob'. I have got a big stud in my bedroom and he
told me I should get a dildo." I tell you, that made my year!
Thanks to Steve of Resene
Once I was painting a reasonably high ceiling with an extension pole.
The client was having trouble with his fireplace so was bent down looking
at it. He was wearing a dark blue jersey and I was using cream paint.
My habit at times is to let the roller come down quick and 'catch' it
before it hits the floor. But this time it hit something before it reached
the floor. Hmm? I looked up and to my dismay the roller was sitting
fair and square on the back of the client! After refusing my offer of
washing it off, he proceeded to walk around the house for the next couple
of days with a big cream patch of paint on his dark blue jersey!
Thanks to Jason Ward of Christchurch
If you have a funny story or a handy tip we'd love
to hear from you - submit
your funny decorating story or submit your handy decorating tip.