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How do you paint that?!

Did you know you could paint almost anything?  Here's some tips for painting unusual surfaces.
Masonry, such as brick or stone
Prep: scour unpainted surface with a sponge or nylon brush and warm, soapy water.  Let dry overnight.  On previously painted surfaces, use a wire brush to remove chips or flakes, then smooth uneven surfaces with 100-grit sandpaper.  Clean as above.
Coat: seal pores with a water-based primer designed for masonry, and coat with latex paint.  Use a thick-nap roller, and use a brush to cut in along the edges or to get paint into deep crevices.
 
MDF (medium-density fiberboard, used for built-in bookcases and cabinets, and interior trim)
Prep: Do not wash the surface because it can become "fuzzy".  Sand unpainted material with 150-grit sandpaper to give it tooth.  Factory primed material is ready for paint.
Coat: to keep material from swelling, use shellac or oil-based primer, covering the cut edges with two coats.  Top off with latex paint, using a small brush to cut in and a short-nap roller (up to 1/2 inch ) for coverage on large areas.
 
Metal (such as radiators, heat registers and tin ceiling tiles)
Prep: Clean unfinished metal with soap and water and a sponge.  Immediately blot dry if iron or steel.  On already painted metal, use a wire brush to remove loose chips, then smooth uneven areas with 100-grit sandpaper before washing.
Coat: Use an oil-based primer on ferrous metals (those containing iron) to prevent rust, or a water-based metal primer on nonferrous surfaces.
Choose a latex spray paint, one formulated to handle heat, where needed.  Avoid drips by applying several thin coats, letting each coat dry in between.
 
Plastic: any type, such as plastic furniture, switchplate covers, etc.)
Prep: Wipe surfaces with an ammonia-based cleaner, rinse with a damp cloth and let dry.  Rough up glossy or previously painted plastic using 150-grit sandpaper, so it will accept new paint.
Coat: Apply a bonding primer designed for plastic, and coat with latex paint.  A wider brush covers in a few passes, minimizing brush strokes.  If you're not confident about your brush technique, try a 4-inch foam roller or a spry paint made for plastic.
 
Happy painting!
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