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Must-have tools for painting

While it may feel like choosing your Resene paint colour and finish is the biggest task when tackling a painting project at home, assembling the right tools required to do the job is just as important, if you want the best finish possible. 

No matter what room, item or area you’re planning to paint, there is a list of must-have tools that will ensure the process is as seamless and successful as possible. It’s best to gather everything you need before you begin, so you don’t get halfway through and realise you’re missing an essential element. 

Your local Resene ColorShop not only has everything you could possibly need, the team is available to talk you through any questions you may have and will guide you towards the best options within each category for your specific project, painting experience and confidence level. 

While there is a plethora of gear available to buy, the key message is to stick to the essentials and buy quality paint equipment. And if you look after everything properly, it’ll last for years. 

The list below is a basic starting point for most paint projects and can be customised depending on the specific nature of your task. Conveniently, Resene has an eight-piece DIY Starter Kit already made up, which makes life even easier for beginners. There are also downloadable painting and wallpaper checklists available on the Resene website.


There is a huge difference in brush quality when it comes to what’s available on the market today. Using a trusted brand like PAL Legend or MacGyver will not only give you a better finish, it’ll make the job significantly easier. Look for those that are handmade with quality bristles, as cheaper brushes are not made with longevity in mind. A quality brush is a sound investment as it will last you years when cleaned and stored properly. A handy tip is that once they’re dry, store them in the cardboard sheath they came in to protect the bristles. 

More paintbrush tips:


Using a paint roller is an ideal way to paint a large area quickly and get a top-notch result. As with paintbrushes, quality is key. Roller sleeves may look similar, but they are not created equal. A high-quality sleeve will help you apply the correct amount of paint at the required spread rate and give you a significantly better finish.

When you’re ready to roll, add plenty of paint to your tray and load your roller up properly – it should look like a hot dog dipped in batter. Then lay the roller carefully against the wall. Roll upwards first and then continue along the surface, making W-shapes as you go. Make sure you always roll in the same direction – up and down, rather than side to side.  Remember to lay off your finish up and down for a small finish. Click here for more tips on using a paint roller.

Extension pole

When painting a wall, ceiling or any hard-to-reach surface, using an extension pole with your paint roller will mean you won’t need to constantly go up and down a ladder or tire yourself out by overstretching.

Using a paint tray, roller and extension pole will help make your painting job easy, comfortable and more efficient. Wall being painted in Resene Turbo.

Paint pots

When using a paintbrush, decanting your paint into a pot reduces the number of contaminants that can get into the paint – paintbrushes can leave bristles, dust and spider webs in the paint, which can lead to bacterial contamination. Using a little at a time means the entire can won’t get spoiled if this does happen. Paint pots are also much lighter and easier to hold than a large paint can, and if you do happen to spill some you won’t lose all your paint.

Roller tray

The same goes for decanting paint into a tray when using a roller. It extends the life of your paint and helps to evenly distribute the paint onto your roller, which will also help your results. Make sure you stir the paint well before pouring it into the tray. When you’re taking a break, put the roller tray in a reusable bag to keep the paint fresh. 


Masking off an area with quality painter’s masking tape not only protects it, but also guarantees crisp, clean lines and prevents painting mishaps. There are different tack levels available and variations that work better on different surfaces, so chat to the Resene ColorShop staff about which is the most appropriate for your project. 

Lint-free cloth

A good cloth is essential when creating a clean, smooth surface for painting on. While lint, dust and sanding particles are invisible to the naked eye, they can adversely affect your finish, as paint will stick to these particles instead of the surface you are painting. This will make it difficult for your paint to adhere properly and could lead to flaking and imperfections later.

Decanting your Resene paint into a smaller pot protects it from contamination and makes it easier to manoeuvre. Paint colour in this image is Resene Adrenalin.
Using quality painter’s tape creates crisp lines and protects the area you don’t want to paint.

Putty and fillers

Getting the perfect canvas for paint means that you need to fill up and smooth out any small holes or dents in the surface before you begin. Resene EzyFill Quick is a lightweight filler that’s ideal for repairing small imperfections and the quick-drying formula is ready to paint over in 30 minutes. 


Sanding is an essential preparation step that you never want to miss. A well-sanded surface will give you the best results when you come to paint. Sandpaper is rated numerically according to the size of the grit particles. The lower the number, the coarser the grit, and the higher the number, the finer the grit. A coarse 80 grit sandpaper should be used for clearing away excess material, such as old flaking paint or varnish. For larger exterior areas such as weatherboards, use 150 grit sandpaper. For interior jobs that need only a light sand, opt for 220-240 grit sandpaper.

Other items

While the tools and accessories above are regarded as essentials, the following list includes items you may also need, depending on your project:

  • Brush cleaner 
  • Dust mask 
  • Gloves 
  • Painter’s gloves 
  • Pole sander 
  • Putty knife 
  • Rags 
  • Scraper 
  • Steel wool 
  • Window scraper

About MasterStroke by Resene
MasterStroke by Resene is here to help you master your paint and decorating DIY projects. Brush up on your skills with advice, tips and ideas from our trusted experts.

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