AS PROMISED, I wanted to do a few posts to show you the step-by-step process I used to create my new home command center. Today is a quick and dirty tutorial on how to create clean paint lines. EVERY. TIME. Have you ever tried to apply a stripe of paint or other shape to a wall, only to be left wallowing in disappointment after hours of hard work because paint has seeped under the tape leaving you with a not-so-sexy jagged edge?
This simple trick I’m sharing today, which only adds a few extra minutes (and, hopefully, zero $$) to your project, will leave you with crisp lines after you remove your tape.
For my home command center (final product pictured above), I wanted a three-inch frame surrounding the functional area where I’d place all of my organizational items. In order to do this, I needed to apply chalkboard paint to a rectangular area within the wall. As you can see below, I started with a blank wall in my kitchen….and a seriously cluttered fridge.
I was somewhat intimidated by the task of creating a perfect rectangle on a rectangular wall. At the ripe old age of 32 (I think, you really do start to lose track at a certain point…), I’ve learned that there’s something about being an imperfect perfectionist human with the desire to create a perfectly straight line that will cause my heart rate to speed up and throat to constrict every time. But I persevered through the anxiety with a plan, a steady hand and a heaping amount of the newfound patience I’ve discovered since becoming the mother of a toddler.
Here’s how it went down in five easy steps:
STEP 1: MEASURE. Using a ruler and a pencil, I drew hash marks all around the border of my home command center three inches away from the edges of the wall. I’d say I put a hash mark every 10 or 12 inches around the perimeter.
STEP 2: LEVEL. I framed out the entire area in pencil by connecting the hash marks using a ruler/level to ensure my line was straight.
STEP 3: TAPE. I applied small pieces of Scotch Blue tape next to my pencil line. Although it might be tempting to use long pieces of tape to make this step go a bit faster, I’d highly recommend using small pieces because it makes it easier to apply the tape right alongside your pencil mark. The longer your tape the more likely it is that you’ll end up with crooked lines.
Make sure your tape is sealed well at the edge where you’ll be applying the paint. I used my fingers to press down the tape first, and then the edge of my ruler to get a super tight seal.
STEP 4: PAINT. This step is the secret to my sharp paint lines. Old paint. Unfortunately, in order for this trick to work, the old paint needs to be the same color as the wall to which you’re applying the stripe!
After owning a few homes and one disastrous touch up paint job at an apartment, I’ve learned to label and store every single color of paint I use in the house. If you don’t have any paint in the color of your wall left, then you can always go out for a sample pot in the same color.
Of course, if you’re applying a stripe to a freshly painted wall, you wont have this issue! All you need to do is use a small brush or roller to apply a coat or two of paint in the same color as the wall along the edge of your tape.
You’ll ultimately be painting over this with your final color. You don’t need to coat the entire surface area for your stripe or shape, just right over the edge of the tape. This simple step makes it so any paint that seeps through areas of the tape that aren’t fully sealed to the wall will be the same color as the wall. And you won’t have any furry, fuzzy, jagged paint lines to clean up after removing the tape. Simple. Just make sure you let this base coat dry well before you apply your top coat(s) in order to prevent peeling or mixing of colors.
STEP 5: PAINT AGAIN. This is the step you wanted to skip right to, but I’m telling you that those few extra minutes painting a base coat of wall color is SO worth it when you reveal clean edges after removing your tape.
Here you can see I rolled on the magnetic primer I used at the bottom of my home command center right over the painted edges of the tape.
I ended up using seven coats of the magnetic primer (which I’ll post tips about separately later), and then five additional coats of chalkboard paint on top of that!
Even after the application of nearly 15 coats of paint, when I removed my tape the lines were beautifully crisp. I’d be lying if I told you I removed the tape with a flourish because I was so confident the lines would be perfect! I definitely was holding my breath the whole time, but, as you can see, the lines came out perfect. The only touch up I needed was to wipe around the edges of my blue chalkboard paint with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove the pencil smudges I left behind on the walls.
That’s it! An easy trick that will avoid the ever-frustrating process of fixing up blurry paint lines. You can also use this trick on furniture or small craft projects.