We recently had an opportunity to help out a local high school’s television department with a new set they were building. The television instructor for Kathleen High School has been a good friend of mine for many years. His students and program won Best in Show at last year’s county-wide high school TV awards program. In order to “stay on the top” some innovation was needed—particularly with respect to their daily show studio and set. We’re a tight-knit community, and so when the call went out for help, volunteers from all around pitched in to help the school construct a complex, multi-level set (it’s actually based on the one used for the popular Saved By the Bell TV series). It wasn’t long before everything was constructed—but the set remained unpainted, and the school year was about to begin. Since painting the new set was all that remained, I figured I’d call Behr to see if they wanted to pitch in. They agreed. Our paint of choice was their line of Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint. We picked it because we wanted a durable paint that would quickly cover our set’s unprimed drywall surface.
Building the Set
Building a set for the high school meant using up nearly every square inch of the west side of the studio. That included reaching high up into the ceiling with 12′ tall studs and installing a couple of doors—and even a small staircase—to allow for entry and exit to the set. All-told, we had around 500-600 square feet of wall to paint. Plus, we were adding some accent striping to bring the school colors into the mix. It was a complex job to be sure, but Goldsmith Construction, a local construction company lent a hand and put the whole thing together in just two days. In fact, they got the set all the way to drywall—all that was left was painting.
A lot of painting.
Preparing to Paint
I not only wanted to paint the studio, but I also wanted to train an entire class of volunteer student helpers on some basic painting tips—tips they could use for the rest of their lives. This included using enough paint on your roller, rolling techniques (using a 5-gallon bucket and grid instead of a rolling pan), how to cut in, and what types of rollers and brushes will work well and not leave you frustrated. Most importantly, I wanted to teach them how to clean up properly so they could continue to use the brushes and rollers on other projects. With a culture of young students who are used to “disposable” electronics, teaching them how to clean and reuse rollers and brushes was a bit of a shock!
In order to ensure we had everything we needed, I put together the following supplies list for The Home Depot Pro App which we’d need for painting a set of this size:
Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint (we chose 3 different colors)
- New House White (walls) – 3 gallons
- Jet Black (trim and accents) – 1 quart
- 100MPH (accent stripe and lockers) – 1 gallon
- Summerwood (stairs) – 1 quart
Other Painting Supplies
- Purdy 3 in. XL sprig paintbrush
- Purdy 3 in. XL glide angled sash brush
- 5-gal. buckets (2)
- 5-gal. bucket grid (2)
- 9 in. Sherlock roller frames (2)
- 4 ft.- 8 ft. Sherlock extension poles (2)
- 9 in. x 9/16 in. microfiber roller cover (2)
- Plastic drop
- Painters tape
Prepping the Set for Painting
Of course, it would be great to just jump in and start painting, but we had to prep the set first, and this was an excellent time to teach our student helpers the aforementioned basic painting skills. So we spent some time masking off the floor with plastic, properly mixing the paint, and filling the 5-gallon buckets and inserting the grids, so we could use that to roll the paint.
Remember, we opted to use the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint so that we didn’t have to apply a base coat of primer. This was a huge test for Behr Premium Plus Ultra because unprimed drywall tends to absorb a lot of paint. The defining question was: Would it truly work, or would the drywall absorb too much paint and leave us needing to apply several coats regardless? We chose a Behr Premium Plus Ultra semi-gloss sheen that had a nice sleek look that would be good for resisting mildew, moisture, and wear. It’s perfect for this set since it will be in a room that will see a lot of use by multiple classes of high school students—that’s a lot of hands-on walls over the weeks and months. A gallon of Behr Premium Plus Ultra can cover from 250-400 sq. ft. Since we were painting unprimed drywall, we figured on the low side and ordered a few gallons. As it turned out, that was a good call.
Painting a Set with Behr Premium Plus Ultra
When the students got ahold of the rollers, they really took to the job and went to town. The bigger (and perhaps stronger) students rolled the tall 12′ walls (making good use of the Sherlock extension poles) while other students took care of cutting in and taking care of everything from six feet and below. We taught them how to keep a lot of paint on the rollers and how to adequately get enough paint on with a brush so that the paint rollers didn’t risk coming into contact with the ground or the stairs.
It didn’t take long before we got our first feedback from the students—they were impressed. As the Behr Premium Plus Paint went on, the walls quickly took on the nice light color of the “New House White”, and the semi-gloss sheen looked perfect for a set that would be brightly lit with studio lights and used for filming their daily news show as well as interviews, short films, and even music videos.
As someone with a lot of experience painting with a lot of different materials over the years, I can say that the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint has exceptional hide quality. It can absolutely go over top of unprimed drywall and mudded joints—provided everything is adequately prepped and ready. There is some technique needed for a perfect finish, and those who try to get every last drop out of the roller before filling it back up are going to notice some variations in the surface. If you paint properly, however, the thick Behr Ultra paint will go on smoothly and evenly, and you’ll get excellent results—and I mean excellent.
Masking the Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint
We had to go back and apply some painters tape to the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint in order to do some creative striping on the walls. This gave the set some character, but it also integrated more of the school’s colors into the set—a goal that was desired by everyone involved. The real question was whether the Behr paint would allow us a clean surface to mask with in order to get a nice edge for our striping.
We made sure to use a good technique in applying the painter’s tape with a clean edge and proceeded to create our black and red stripes. It took multiple lines of tape since we were going for a series of stripes across the entire wall. Starting in a test area, we made our way around the walls and quickly applied the black and red paint to achieve the desired look. We found that by using some smaller rollers, we were able to do all of the striping at the same time—overtop the white Behr Ultra paint we had applied and allowed to dry.
Check out the results!
Behr really came to the rescue with their Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint. It simplified what might have been a much more difficult and multi-step job, and it gave our students a great experience learning how good quality paint can really make the difference. They also learned how to apply paint in a way that will move them faster through a project and produce better, more consistent, results.
All in all, I think we helped make painting fun, and exposed a new generation to just how simple it is to tackle a painting project—provided you have the right tools, materials, and the right paint for the job at hand.