There are things I am willing to pay good money for (nice furniture, quality electronics, an awesome vacation) and there are things I’m not. Mostly the latter fall into the thought category of “If can do that myself, why on earth would I pay someone to do it for me?”
Painting is in category #2.
When we bought this house the builder wanted to charge us $300/room to paint the interior. Ha! No way, José. So we have tolerated the flat white walls for the last 6 months. But anyone who knows paint, knows you so much as glance at flat white and it’s dirty… heaven forbid little kid fingers actually touch it.
I have painted 3 complete home interiors and helped numerous friends paint theirs. I’m always shocked by how much people don’t know about proper painting technique. What’s the big deal? Don’t you just tape it off and slap some paint up there? Well, yes and no. Allow me to divulge some HUGE industry secrets that will save you time, money, and the occasional string of curse words.
• Paint – duh. Is there really a difference between the big box stores and the specialty paint stores? Honestly I think the color selections at Home Depot and Lowes are kinda crummy. I do prefer the hues at Sherwin Williams, Dunn Edwards, etc, but their prices are steep. Solution? Since HD is affordable and convenient for me, I always have them color match my swatches and they turn out great. Read this good synopsis if you are confused about which finish to use where. Choosing colors is a whole other bag of cats… simple answer – be sure to consider your options in the same room you’ll be painting. Color is relative to things around it and will look different than it did under the store’s florescent lighting.
- 2″ Scotch blue painter’s tape – just the original kind. Do not waste $ on fancy stuff that claims to seal the edges better because frankly it doesn’t work on textured walls.
- 2″ angled brush – Shortcut by Wooster is my fave. The shortie handle is very comfy.
- Small art brush – for touching up any small goopies.
- Clear paintable caulk – please do yourself a favor on this one and buy the small hand-squeeze tube. You do not want to be up on a ladder trying to man-handle some crazy caulk gun. And yes, it MUST be CLEAR.
- Paint cup – the HANDy Paint Pal is my choice because of the big handle, magnetic brush holder, and disposable quick change liners; if you prefer a red SOLO cup, then rock on with your bad self.
Ever had all your diligent taping rewarded with nothing but edge blowout? (equally as frustrating as diaper blowout, trust me)
Here’s the pro tip that pricey tape hawkers don’t want you to know: CAULK!
PAINT A PERFECT LINE, EVERY TIME
* tape doesn’t stick well to dusty baseboards… pre-wipe them with a swiffer or dryer sheet.
Step 1. Tear your tape stripes longish: 18-24″ is ideal.
Step 2. Throw the tape roll over your non-dominant hand and carefully tape off your edge. Remember that the tape line you see will be your final painted line as well, so take your time to do it right.
Firmly smooth the tape edge and be sure to overlap each new piece about 2″ over the previous one. This will be helpful later.
Step 3. DO NOT push the tape down onto baseboards or mouldings. That poor little tape edge is clinging desperately to the tiny ledge as it is. Leaving the tape up not only gives the edge strength, but also seconds as a great drip catcher.
Step 4. After you’ve taped your space it’s time to unleash your secret weapon: CAULK! You’re best off with the small hand tube and it MUST be CLEAR.
Squeeze a small dab onto your finger. (yes, it looks white… but will dry clear)
Starting in the corner, spread it very thinly along the tape line on the side you intend to paint. This seals the edge. Cover the entire edge this way, careful to leave no gaps. Only caulk as much of the tape line as you can paint in 30 minutes.
If the caulk goops on the wall, be sure and smooth it. If it goops on the tape side, no biggie.
Step 5. Important: While the caulk is still WET (or at least not totally cured) paint over it. Also paint up about 2″ from the edge. Most light to medium hues will only need one coat. If you have a dark color that requires 2 coats, then wait the minimum time and recoat. You do not want to leave the caulk on for more than an hour or so, otherwise you run the risk of it pulling up your painted edge when you pull the tape.
Step 6. While the paint is still WET, pull your tape at a 45° angle. Start from the same corner where you started taping and your 2″ overlaps will make it easy to pull the whole section as one long piece. This can get a little messy on your hands, so keep a rag nearby.
Ceilings are a cinch this way!
Step 7. Get your happy dance ready, ’cause those are some seriously awesome paint lines!
One more thing… since painting and pulling the tape before the caulk cures is crucial to your success, it’s easiest with 2 people. One tapes while the other follows with caulk, then the taper laps back to paint and the other pulls the tape up right behind them.
This technique also works fabulous for painting stripes on walls or other designer taping. Just be sure to caulk the correct edge!