Lessons I learned from painting my bathroom ceiling

If you are interested in my bathroom renovation part 1 you can read about it here. (It is on my old/photography blog.) Here is what my ceiling looked like when I started:

Pre-painting stage one: procrastination

In every form possible. Dither about if you have the right tools and if you have enough paint. Tell yourself that your husband would do a better job at it than you but then realize that your husband doesn't have the time/energy/interest in painting your bathroom ceiling. Decide to just go ahead and paint the ceiling. This might take 3 hours or 6 months or it might even take you a year. No judgment from me. Also if you are honestly not quite done with this stage or you've just visited this blog post because you're my friend just jump down to the end of this post, okay? Because there is something I want you to know... but if you are really going to get this thing done - read on.

Be sure to clear your area really well. I took the bulbs out of my light fixture and I'm really glad that I did. Anything that is in the bathroom WILL be covered in dust when you are done sanding. Seriously there is nothing in my life that has ever prepared me for how messy sanding ceilings is. I recommend eye protection and a face mask. Breathing in drywall mud dust is not pleasant. 

First - sand any rough spots with a sanding block
Next - wipe down with a dry rag.
Then paint the ceiling.
Consider hiring a babysitter.
Put on some happy music. I recommend the Trolls Soundtrack. That's what I listened to because it is my baby's favorite. We also listens to Ed Sheeran 
Maybe put your phone in a plastic bag.

Be sure to be safe with your ladder. Don't try to move it with your paint can in your hand. You might hurt yourself, or spill your paint. Don't try to paint directly above your head or too far away from yourself. Make sure that your area is properly ventilated.

These are the paint brushes I had. Surprisingly this weird little brush with barely a handle did an amazing job. I even used it to cut in. It lost a couple of bristles which was annoying but I will definitely hang onto this brush and use it for my next project. 

This is the paint I used - as you can see I bought it a awhile ago and one of my kids took the label off while it was sitting in my bathroom waiting to be used. What I do know about this paint is that it is paint + primer. This is important. If you don't use paint + primer you'll have to prime first but also the paint is a thicker consistency and doesn't drop as easily which you really really want for painting the ceiling. So I recommend when you go to buy paint that you buy a paint + primer. Also this was a terrific size can. If you end up buying a huge gallon of paint then be sure to pick up some kind of can to pour your paint into as you paint. That is a thing right?

Also here is a bit of big sisterly advice - know yourself - I was barely able to handle having my sweet baby in his bouncer and my kids in the other room. Don't invite someone to do this with you unless you know your extroverted soul needs the company. This introvert needed to do this alone. It got easier as I worked but I was Stressed Out as I got started. It is okay if you need to tell someone "no, you can't help." Also it is totally okay if you just send out a cry for help in social media and end up hiring someone or better yet, watch someone's kids so they can play with paint in your bathroom. 

My painting technique was basically the same as when I paint my nails - so basically like a 20 foot square manicure that I will have to stare at for at least the next year. But - really, if you can paint your nails, you can paint a ceiling, girl. And if you can't? Well, there is a first time for everything. Basically I dipped my paint brush in the can, wiped one side to minimize spillage and then painted next to the part I'd just painted until the two areas were blended and I tried not to go over the same area too many times once the paint had started drying. 

Don't get greedy - eventually you will feel a sense of urgency and start to get too much paint on your brush and try to paint too large an area at once. This is when you will start making the biggest mess and start wasting paint. Stop. Change your music, check on the kids, make yourself a sandwich, drink a sports drink, but DO NOT WASH YOUR PAINTBRUSH, like I did. Definitely not one of my gold-star moments. Just wrap your brush in some plastic wrap and let it sit for a bit then it will be ready for you when you come back to it.  You don't want to finish your ceiling with a 1inch brush - trust me on this. 

I found that while I was painting the wet paint looked really "streaky" but as it dried out I was shocked to see how much it smoothed itself out. 

Here is my paint brush once I was done. I am throwing this stinker away. It was less than a dollar and it is beyond gross now. 

So here is what all of this means to me - sometimes there is a mean voice in my head that says "who are you to ____" fill in the blank - pursue that passion, be her friend, chase a dream... and I listen to that voice more than I'd like to admit. But every once in awhile I have a moment like today when I tried something that someone else could have done better, but it needed to be done, so I did it. Today I did something that I felt totally inadequate to try, but I did it anyway. I knew that I didn't know what I was doing and there is a very good chance that there is a blog post out there that can tell you "the right way" to paint a ceiling but here is what I am going to tell you - I just did it. It's imperfect but it is done. And you know what? It turned out better than I thought it would! So the next time I hear that voice saying "who do you think you are?" I'll think about this day and remind myself that I am someone who did something hard and way out of my comfort zone. I got messy and I messed up in places but I did it. And that means something. 

Also - this counts as an arm day, okay? 


  1. I loved reading this so much. There are so many things I have told myself I can't do, but as I get older I've started saying " why not?" It is a freeing feeling to accomplish something new.


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