Interior painting jobs like painting trim or switching to different colors for walls or ceilings come with one big challenge: How do you get straight, crisp lines, especially on a DIY project? Fortunately, there are some tricks that can help you get the perfect lines you want for stripes, color changes, and a lot more. Here’s what you need to do.
Paint Your First Color
Don’t try to alternate paint colors as you go, especially painting stripes or other designs. Instead, paint one color (the lighter color is a good place to start) on the full wall first. It’s important to make basic measurements and mark out your design, but don’t be afraid to paint a bit past your lines and measurements – this is encouraged so that you have more painted space to work with. When finished, wait for your first layer of paint to dry fully.
Place Painter’s Tape
Measure again and place painter’s tape where you want your transitions to be, using the bottom line of the painter’s tape as the edge between the two colors. Some of your first color may have gone past this line, and that’s perfectly fine.
Bleed the Line
This may seem like a strange step, but it’s actually very important. Painter’s tape and masking tape are good, especially on smooth surfaces, but they aren’t perfect. When you paint your second color using only tape, some of it will bleed through and ruin your perfect edge. The key is to bleed it first, so this won’t become a problem.
So, use a small brush and paint a line of your first color right on that bottom edge of the painter’s tape. This will make the first color bleed under the paint and then dry, essentially blocking the way so that the second color won’t be able to bleed through at all. Use a light touch for the lower portion of the paint and feather it a little against the wall so it won’t show up when you apply your second color. This also shows you why it’s so important to start with the lighter color first!
Add Second Color
With your tape ready to go, apply the second color. Make sure you partially paint over the tape to ensure a strong, steady line as you go. Now, sometimes if you let the second color dry this can make it different to remove the tape easily, so we recommend letting the paint set for a little bit and then removing the tape while the paint is still wet, pulling it carefully off at a 90-degree angle. It’s important to be very careful with the tape at this point, going slowly and smoothly, or you risk accidental spatter of the wrong color. If it looks like this might be a problem, consider letting the paint dry more fully before removing the tape.
Do you have more questions about trickier painting projects? Would you like to get a quote from a professional so that you can compare your options more easily? Schedule your estimate with Tar Heel Painters today and we’ll help out!