Volunteer Careers: Volunteer Jobs of Practicing Painters and Paper Hangers

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For the practicing student painters and paper hangers, volunteer opportunities can be so broad in some construction industries and home building activities. Although painting and paperhanging are two separate skills, many building trades craft workers do both types of work. For the new learners, they have to polish their skills for more hands-on jobs. Painters apply coats of paint, varnish, stain, enamel, or lacquer to decorate and protect interior and exterior surfaces of buildings and structures. Paper hangers cover the room’s interior with decorative wallpapers, fabric, vinyl, or other materials.

History of Painting and Paper Hanging

It can be noted that wall decorations in ancient Rome consisted of mosaics and murals. Used originally to depict scenes, they eventually portrayed architectural elements and finally geometric and decorative patterns. The history of the skilled house painter’s occupation began in the eighteenth century, when there were few people in the business of manufacturing of paint in Europe, and American colonists made their own paints for use on their homes. In 1867, manufacturers made available the first prepared paints. After this, new machines were invented to enable paint manufactures to produce large amounts of paint.



The history of the paperhanging occupation began in the sixteenth century. Although the Chinese invented decorative paper, it was Europeans who first used it to cover walls. The poor were the first to use wallpaper in their homes, an inexpensive imitation of the wealthy, who decorated their walls with tapestries and velvet hangings. They also worked for their neighbors to beautify their homes just for a volunteer job. Both paperhangers and painters came into great demand as building construction developed on a large scale in the early part of the twentieth century. Since World War II, there have been great advancements in the materials and techniques used by these skilled trades usually in volunteer employment to support their home country. While it must be noted that there is some overlapping in the work done by painters and paperhangers, each trade has its own characteristic and set of skills. Painters are oftentimes used to apply the paint on a surface or wall with careful movements, precise speed and timing as they do it to the surface. To do this, they must be skilled in handling brushes and other painting tools, and sufficient knowledge about paint-mixing.

Process in Paper Hanging and Painting Jobs

Preparation of the surface to be painted is an important duty of painters, especially in repainting. They first smooth the surface, removing old loose paint with a scraper, paint remover, a wire brush, or a blowtorch. If necessary, they must also remove grease and fill-in the nail holes or cracks, joint with putty-plaster and some other fillers. Many times, a coat of primer or a sealer is applied to further smooth the surface and make the finished coat look level and well blended in color. Once the surface is prepared, painters select premixed paint or make a preparation of paint for themselves by mixing required portions of pigment, oily, thin, and dry substances. They then paint the surfaces using a brush, spray gun, or roller. Spray guns are generally used for large surfaces or objects that do not lend themselves to brush work, such as lattices, cinder and concrete block, and radiators. In paperhanging, the first task is also to prepare the surface to be covered. Rough spots must be smoothed, holes and cracks must be filled, and old paint, varnish, and grease must be removed from the surface. In some cases, old wallpaper must be removed by soaking or steaming.

Many students and enthusiasts of these skills have been into actual practices and trainings to polish it into excellence. Others undergo volunteer job, while others remain as part of their voluntary careers in sharing their talents to others.

Requirements

The basic requirements for the occupations of painter and paperhanger are the same. Most employers prefer to hire applicants in good physical condition, with manual dexterity and a good color sense. Although a high-school education is not essential, it is still preferred. An additional requirement is that the applicant must not be allergic to paint fumes or other materials used in the trade. To qualify as a skilled painter or paperhanger, however, a person must also complete either an apprenticeship or an on-the-job training program. This program, often combines painting and paperhanging, consists of three years of carefully planned activity including work experience with related classroom instruction. During this period the student apprentice becomes familiar with all aspects of the craft. If they wish to become apprentices, usually the applicants are advised to contact employers, such as painting and paperhanging contractors, the state employment service bureau, that state apprenticeship agency, or other appropriate agencies. Generally, successful completion of the training program is necessary before individuals can become qualified, skilled painters or paperhangers. If they have management ability for a large contracting firm, they may advance to the following positions: supervisor, who supervises and coordinates activities of other painters / paperhangers. Some student painters and paperhangers who become masters of these skills go into business for themselves as painting and decorating contractors.

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