Thursday, May 15, 2008

Painting a Razor Sharp Straight Line

Last month I painted both the boys' rooms. No big deal, right? This is our 3rd house, and I've painted dozens of rooms along the way. It's easy when the room is going to be all one color, or when all the borders are easily identified. But when you have to paint stripes, or multiple colors, or create some other type of "edge" or starting/stopping point, Blue Tape will be your best friend.

I've used Blue Tape plenty of times, always careful to apply it in a straight line and to press or rub it against the wall to make sure it attaches as securely as possible. From my past experiences I've seen a couple of cases where the colors might bleed under the tape a little bit, but it's generally produced a serviceable straight line.

This wasn't the case in my older son's room.


I used blue tape to cut a straight line along the bull-nosed closet frame. I applied it as carefully as I always have in the past, and I don't think our walls are any more or less textured than average. But the paint bled horribly all the way around the edge I had created.

Frustrated, I spoke with (complained to) every contractor & painter I know, and my good friend Chris Autrey knew the right answer – paint the existing color first! It seems so obvious once you know about it, and it worked great in my younger son's room.


Here's how it works:

Let's say you're going to cover an existing white wall with dark blue paint, but you want the dark blue to end at a particular point along the wall.

First, apply Blue Tape to create the stopping point. Take your time, as the better you apply the tape, the better your line/edge will look.

Next, paint the "dark blue side" of the tape with the existing color WHITE paint. Read that again & let it soak in; it's the key to success – paint the "dark blue side" of the tape with the EXISTING COLOR WHITE paint. Paint along the edge of the tape, so that the white paint gets on top of (and underneath) the Blue Tape. What you're doing is letting the white paint do the bleeding for you, and in the process it seals off any tiny air holes that were left when you applied the Blue Tape.

Once the white paint dries completely (I even used 2 coats), go ahead and paint the wall dark blue.

When the dark blue paint dries completely, remove the tape to reveal your razor sharp straight line.

Finally, stand back and admire you're great looking room. You'll probably want to crack open an adult beverage at this time if you haven't already!

Your wishing he had learned that sooner Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

[tags] painting [/tags]