Most of my painting is done in a garage or a basement late at night while the kids are in bed. I whistle while I work and imagine the beautiful finished product only to wake up the next morning and discover my worst enemy, paint drips! It happens more often than I’d like to admit, and seems that no matter how careful I am while painting, I end up with a paint drip somewhere on my piece. Usually, these are along an edge, or at the back, where I don’t always see. Clearly, painting in the dark is not recommended.
However, because I’ve had them so often, I’ve become pretty good at fixing them up and making everything right again. Paint drips are usually caused by applying too much paint to your project (while painting in the dark), from an overloaded paint brush (because you were up way too late).
If you’re lucky enough to paint in the daylight and catch the drip while the paint is still relatively wet, you can simply brush it out. Once the paint is dry, it’s a different story.
First, try a clean cloth or paper town try to dab the drib. This will tell you if it is still wet at all. If you can wipe the drip away, it will leave a blemish, but that is completely fixable. If it doesn’t wipe off, its best to wait until the drip is completely dry before you attempt to scrape it off.
Once the drip is completely dry and hard, grab a paint scraper or razor blade and very gently, scrape down the drip (not up). If you scrap up the drip you’re likely to scrape off more paint than you intended. Scrape down just enough to remove the drip.
Sand the area with a 220-grit sandpaper in one direction. Be slow and methodical with the sanding and don’t overdo it. Then you can repaint and forget the dreaded paint drip ever happened. Use the tip of a small bristle brush, foam brush or small roller to avoid brush strokes.
If you have trouble with dripping spray paint, it can be an extensive issue. The biggest culprit for dripping spray paint is not waiting long enough in between coats, or spraying too close to the object. Often, these drips can be much larger than a latex paint drip. Take a step back and a deep breath. It’s going to be OK. Grab some 1000 grit sandpaper, and dip it in a bowl of soapy water. This works just like an eraser. Gently rub the area and watch your mistakes disappear. Sometimes you don’t even have to repaint with this method if you had enough paint on there to begin with. If you end up removing the paint completely, allow the surface to dry and then carefully recoat spraying at least 8-10 inches from the surface.
I’m sure I’m not the only one guilty of hasty painting. It’s a problem. When I get paint drips, it is because I am either so excited that I can’t help myself, or too tired and too caffeinated to think straight.
I strongly recommend not trying to repair paint drips while exhausted, caffeinated, or anxious. A methodical, patient, and careful approach is always more successful than a hasty fix.