Careful interior painting jobs like
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
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
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
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
Tar Heel Painters
today and we’ll help out!