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On Instagram I keep seeing these painters that manage to paint a whole wall in under a minute with just one dip of the paint roller. How do they achieve this? If I paint a wall it takes a hundred times as long. Is it just the roller width?

Example of such a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mJb49Zikzo&t=9s

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  • Probably a combination of somewhat sped up video and a roller that holds (and then wastes when you clean it) an unusually large amount of paint.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:08
  • They stop filming from between the first stroke to the last. Funny how they are using white colour, but the roller is grey the whole time.
    – crip659
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:11
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    TL;DR: by caring about how fast it's done and not being in the least bit concerned about how well it's done.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:39
  • In youtube you can also playback at 1.5x to make it even more impressive and get all jacked up about your next living room wall
    – P2000
    Jan 25, 2022 at 15:37
  • Note: There is already a long wide streak of paint pre-applied the length of the wall. He is just spreading the paint already on the wall. Jan 25, 2022 at 16:46

4 Answers 4

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It's a big, long-haired wooly roller, on a long handle, in a small room with low ceiling & the edging has already been done.
If the client is paying for the paint & roller, and the painter is charging by the metre not by the hour, he's well-motivated to be done quickly. He can get another job in, same day, new roller.
He's also not at all bothered by how much spray-off the roller is generating.
There's also a good chance it's a premium one-coat paint - again, paid for by the client.
His motivation is not economy of anything but time… & some likes on social media.
You can also be absolutely certain this is not his first rodeo - he paints for a living & has had years to get up to speed. This might also be the 5th wall he's filmed today, trying to get his time down for TikTok.

There's also method in his madness - he unloads in diagonals from the opposite end first, so there's more carry-over as he gets back to that end in full strokes.

From comments
…for sure he's picked a wall he can show off with. You're not going to gain many interweb meme points if there's anaglypta on wavy plaster, a radiator you have to work round, light switches half-way up the wall, or a 16-foot Victorian ceiling…

He's picked his challenge carefully. Big roller, small wall. It's probably a long-pile roller so it holds more. You have to bear in mind the challenge is to look good when shot on a phone - no-one except the client is ever going to be looking at the over-spray on the floor & ceiling, or all the pin-holes left in the paintwork.

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  • Also helpful: Well-prepped or brand new primed wall with minimal texture, minimal color change, high quality paint, no furniture or lighting or windows or radiators or anything else in the way.
    – jay613
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:28
  • @jay613 - for sure he's picked a wall he can show off with. You're not going to gain many interweb meme points if there's anaglypta on wavy plaster, a radiator you have to work round, light switches half-way up the wall, or a 16-foot Victorian ceiling…
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:31
  • Ooo historical house porn ... keep going :)
    – jay613
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:32
  • So the type of roller doesn't really matter except the size? Jan 25, 2022 at 14:36
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    He's picked his challenge carefully. Big roller, small wall. It's probably a long-pile roller so it holds more. You have to bear in mind the challenge is to look good when shot on a phone - no-one except the client is ever going to be looking at the over-spray on the floor & ceiling, or all the pin-holes left in the paintwork.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:38
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So, you've settled on option #3.

enter image description here


Realistically that paint job likely looks awful. Overspray on the ceiling and floor, no feathered edges, and missed spots.

The first 8 seconds shows the painter pre-loading the wall with paint diagonally. This is likely because they are using a 3/4" nap. This nap size holds and insane amount of paint and he is basically picking up what he left behind on every stroke.

That painting technique is reserved for a few choice purposes such as:

  • Entertainment
  • Slumlord pricing

Even if he goes back to feather out the edges and applies a second coat I would be amazed if there wasn't noticeable overspray everywhere. If there isn't overspray then that video has been sped up.


After doing some more digging you can check out that guy's other video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56h2NlvFhfg

Maybe he is that good after all ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  • Similar to software design: One of these will vary: Delivery Date, Quality, Features. Jan 25, 2022 at 16:47
  • @SteveWellens I've updated my answer with newfound evidence
    – MonkeyZeus
    Jan 25, 2022 at 19:40
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    He's also using an 18" roller, where most of us are using 9" rollers.
    – rtaft
    Jan 25, 2022 at 20:44
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They're only showing you a small part of the job.

Not all the extra staging and prep, nor the after-work required because of very sloppy application. It's very similar to

enter image description here

which was a stunt - and involved months of grading and pre-positioning of supplies for the Big Day. It was actually harder, because the rails and ties and OTM had to be dragged tens of miles to be staged on site, instead of being able to feed off the railhead in real time.

What did they hide?

  • The video is sped-up (possibly not by the original creator, but by the meme bundler).
  • This is primer, where the finish coat is not important. You can tell because the cut-in area that is dry, is dull.
  • Using an roller wrong for the job, whose only virtue is holding a lot of paint.
  • Not shown: tipping out with brush or more appropriate rollers to get the right finish. OR, extensive sanding once dried. OR, they're demolishing the wall and don't care.
  • Not shown: the initial zig-zag area is still too thick, and needs lots of roll-out to spread it properly. The guy started to be honest about that, but then sprinted to the end (probably after the producer started yelling).
  • Not shown: All the edges were already cut-in by hand using brushes. Far more work per square inch.
  • Not shown: ditto receptacles, no need to roll anywhere near them.
  • Not shown: still clipped receptacle, pause to clean off "oops".
  • Not shown: fiddly bits finishing the right edge where the edge was not "cut in" enough for the stunt to work.
  • Not shown: masking the other walls and floor, which get doused by over-splatter from that too-fast-spinning roller!
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There are roller handles which dispense paint from the stick you're holding. That is almost certainly what is being used given the amount of coverage shown. We can see it more clearly in the other video MonkeyZeus linked.

With that being said, I also have doubts about the quality of the job at that speed. Maybe really high end paint can help with that, I've never tried.

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