We do a lot of painting. Whether it’s touching up or refreshing a room, finishing a decor project, or upcycling a beautiful piece of previously-loved furniture, there’s nothing that really dresses up a project like a fresh coat of paint.
But, of course, painting can get pretty expensive. It’s always worth it to spend a little extra for high-quality paint. If you’re serious about it, getting good rollers for the walls and a set of reliable brushes are also great investments. Quality up-front in these areas will save you a lot of time and headaches later.
By contrast, there are lots of little things that can really add up and drive the cost of a simple project sky-high. These are the disposable items; things that really don’t need as much maintenance, care, or even repeat use. For these things, it’s worth it to actually save a few bucks. If you DIY or craft a lot, it’s even worth buying these things in bulk. Doing so saves time, money, and aggravation when it comes to cleanup, and you won’t find yourself running back to the paint store to spend an arm and a leg.
Here are our top five painting supplies you should definitely buy at the dollar store.
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Foam brushes are NOT our go-to for fine finishing work. However, they’re extremely useful for some types of chalk painting. They’re also great for kids’ art projects, as they’re cheap, work reasonably well, and come in different sizes. Plus, they can produce unique textures that kids seem to really enjoy.
Steve also uses these for applying sanding sealer and poly finishes on wood. They apply the clear coats nice and smooth, and because they’re disposable it does make cleanup quite easy. You can get these for a dollar a pack at your local dollar store, or in bulk by ordering from Dollar Tree.
Plastic Paint Cups
When you want to cut in around corners, or just use a smaller quantity of paint, a plastic cup with a handle is definitely more convenient than carrying a whole can around. These are necessary equipment for any DIY painter. They also make a great carrier for smaller tools and a good place to soak brushes after the work is done.
In addition, they’re really handy to have around for kids’ projects. They can also be used in other handy ways, like spreading fertilizer or ice melter (or other things you don’t want to handle buy hand). They’re just an all-around handy scoop.
They also don’t actually need to be disposable, but because they’re literally just a plastic cup with a handle there’s no need for them to break the bank either. We’ve seen similar items at the hardware store go for as much as $10, which is pretty silly considering you can get them for a buck a piece. These ones from Dollar Tree come in a case of 24, which is probably all you’re going to need for a while!
Wire brushes are handy for a lot of uses around the garage. Anywere you’re using or cleaning metal (except the BBQ grill!) they can be used to remove dust and debris. But for the painter, they’re extremely helpful for cleaning up paint brushes.
Remember those expensive bristle brushes you bought? The way to make sure you’re getting the most mileage out of them is to make sure they’re clean after every job (Steve is even obsessive about cleaning them after every coat, just to ensure a smooth finish). Latex paint can be washed off in the sink under water, but often leaves a dried stripe at or near the top of the bristles. Using a wire brush is the easiest way to scrape that paint off while cleaning BEFORE it dries permanently.
These Driver’s Choice brushes are great for small jobs like cleaning paintbrushes, and also come in a bulk box from Dollar Tree. Stock up on these, and your tools will thank you!
Paint trays are obviously the painter’s best friend when it comes to rolling. Over the years, we’ve seen all kinds of tricks, from buying tray liners to lining trays with aluminum foil. But unless you’re a professional painter (heck, even if you are), there’s not really a good reason to spend a ton of money on trays that are going to keep getting messy.
Why not save a few bucks and get some less expensive trays to have on hand? Again, you can get these in bulk from Dollar Tree. You don’t necessarily have to make them disposable (they’re totally cleanable), but you can definitely save some time and money buy having a less costly option on hand!
Tarps & Drop Cloths
One of the cheapest solution for protecting floors and furniture from ambitious paint jobs is to get drop cloths. Of course, if you buy high-end canvas drop cloths from a specialty store, you’re going to pay an arm and a leg.
We found the easier choice was to hit the dollar store and pick up some clear shower curtains! They cover a lot of area, are fairly durable, and you can use them over and over again.
On the other hand, if you prefer a more multifunctional option, we recommend picking up a bulk case of these blue plastic tarps from Dollar Tree. These come in a handy 4×6 size, and can be used just as well to cover outdoor furniture for winter, protect piles of stuff from the rain (like we did with our cedar garden mulch), or make easy disposal for demolition projects. And as drop cloths, again they’re pretty durable and reusable. You don’t even have to clean them after!