Can you paint the sides of your vessel from the water in a dingy alone? Working with a team always makes work lighter and more fun, however it is possible to use the tip and roll method to apply paint to a hull alone.
Follow manufacturers directions for mixing the paint. This blog is focused on those using new cans of 2-part paint i.e. paint and curing agent, and reducer to thin. Don't try to use old paint right out of the can. We thin to 30% with "reducer" to even the flow and decrease the curing time. Key to solo application is preparation: of painting platform when application is from the water, of hull surface on the day of painting, and of the paint mixing station.
Properly preparing the hull for painting is a blog in and of itself. Without sufficient time dedicated to preparing the hull surface for painting, a flawless finish is impossible. Be focused on everything you are doing and anticipate your next move. Organize lines to pull your dingy or raft before cleaning your hull. During the cleaning, adjust these lines to keep you close to the boat and able to move down the side one handed.
Once preparation of hull is complete, including primer which can simply be rolled and sanded, our painting day begins with washing the boat. Prepare a bucket with a couple caps-full of soap to one gallon of water. Do NOT wet the surface to be painted before washing with this soapy water. Water applies a barrier coat to the existing paint causing the paint to restick to the hull. Applying soapy water first will encapsulate the already loose paint causing the dust to pull free from the hull. Work a small surface at a time so you're able to rinse immediately, before it dries. Wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt from this point on to prevent skin oil and hair from contaminating the area to be painted. Dry with a clean chamois and then wipe with a lint-free rag wetted with the manufacture's recommended cleaner.
To roll and tip solo, here are the items you will need to prepare onboard the raft or dingy being used to paint:
2 - 4" cabinet rollers, short nap (using tape, stick and pull tape from roller to remove all fuzzies)
1 - 3" ox hair paint brush
1 - 2" ox hair paint brush
roller tray fitted into a larger, weighted, low-profile, rectangular container
bucket-in-a-bucket of paint (be sure to mix and COVER enough paint for the area being painted; there won't be time to mix when painting solo)
bucket-in-a-bucket of acetone (used for cleaning the brush)
plenty of lint-free rags and pieces of rags
waste can fitted with funnel to dispose of used acetone (needed for cleaning the brush)
There are two size containers for everything you do so all materials stay upright and don't spill. Place the smaller bucket of paint medium into a larger bucket which has weight added such as rocks or dive weights.
To roll and tip solo, roll up as much as possible so the paint is being pushed up and won't run down. Put small amounts of paint in the roller tray at a time as the reducer will evaporate as you work making the paint thicker. Thin by adding a little more of already mixed paint. KEY TO SUCCESS is keeping the roller tray under filled. Brush twice: once lightly tipping to pop air bubbles perpendicular, or opposite, to the rolled paint direction, and finally, very lightly, in the direction you rolled with a long and continuous stroke. You must be quick enough to keep a wet line. When the brush starts to lightly stick and no longer moves smoothly, quickly dip the tip in the prepared bucket-in-bucket of acetone to clean. Whip all excess acetone out of brush onto rags. Then slap the brush handle on a hard edge to remove additional acetone. Finally, brush a clean, lint-free rag to thoughally dry the brush. Keep the roller in one hand and the brush in the other to waste no time.
Thinking ahead helps you maintain a wet working edge and gives you a success story in the end.
Please send us before and after pictures. We'd love to celebrate your success!