Monday, August 29, 2011

Tricks of the Trade: How to Use Painter's Tape

Looking for tips on getting clean lines with your tape?  You've come to the right place!
Of all the painter's tape out there, the tried and true original blue tape is still the best.

Did you read the post on caulking yet?  If not, you might want to go do that first.  If your baseboards and other wall joints are all caulked up and ready to go then we can get started!

What you need:
2" Scotch Blue Painter's Tape
your finger, a stir stick or an old credit card

5 main points you need to know here.
  1. use long pieces of tape
  2. make sure you overlap tape generously
  3. burnish burnish burnish!
  4. feather paint lightly onto tape
  5. pull tape off gently at the proper angle
We should probably start with #1, right?  Try to use longer pieces of tape when you're ripping it off the roll

each time you end one piece of tape and start a new one, you increase the chances of the paint seeping underneath by 236%.
OK, you're right.  That isn't a real statistic.  I don't know what the chances are; just trust me that longer pieces are better.  I usually make each piece almost as long as my arms can reach.  Go any longer and you might end up with a mess of tape all stuck to itself and you :)

You are also going to want to overlap your tape generously.  About an inch or so
You just want to make sure paint isn't going to get into there, between the pieces of tape.  Also, the main reason I always tape the baseboards is to prevent the splatter from the roller getting onto the trim.  It works well for protecting carpeting if the dropcloth pulls away from the wall at all.

Just make sure your "overlaps" don't look like this (I worked with someone once who taped this way and it drove me nuts)

Once you have your tape laid down properly, you're going to want to burnish it.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!  Sorry for yelling, but if there is a trick in this Tricks of the Trade post, this is it.

"How do you burnish?" you ask.  Simple:  rub the tape where it meets the wall or baseboard until your finger feels like it will spontaneously combust.

Heat (caused by friction) is what activates this tape really well.  If you aren't looking forward to losing the feeling in your finger, you can use a stir stick or old credit card to burnish the tape.  Just be careful you don't rub so hard that the tape rips.  I usually use my finger for this reason (I get really angry about ripped tape).

Now you're ready to paint!  I always paint two coats... I know many paints now advertise "one coat coverage" but I don't believe there is any such thing.  Like unicorns.  I've always wanted to believe there were unicorns and one coat paints out there.  Unfortunately, no such thing.

Feather the paint in very lightly with your first coat.  It can be thicker the farther you get from the tape, but that centimeter or so really close to the tape you'll want it to be a thin coat.

After doing this, you can go back and make your cut-in thicker, but I just wanted to illustrate how lightly you want to brush it down by the tape.  If you goop it on, you increase the chances of it seeping underneath the tape.  I don't have an exact stat for the chances on this one.

Once you're finished with two coats of cutting in and two coats of rolling, you get to pull your tape and admire the beautiful clean line!  I always hold my breath for this part.
See how the tape is being pulled (gently) down and away?  You want the paint on the tape to make a clean break from the paint on the wall and the best way to do this is to almost fold the tape back over on itself as you're pulling.  Paint is manufactured so that it will bond to itself when it dries... you don't want some of the wall paint coming off with the paint on the tape.  If you pull the tape straight up toward the wall, the tape might take some of the wall paint with it!

Have any questions?  Let me know in the comments!  Be sure to include your email address if you're a "no reply" blogger.  Thanks for stopping by!

Blessings,
Jamie
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*Update:  A few people have asked how long to leave the tape up.  I usually take it off within an hour or two after I painted.  You can leave it up for a few days, though.  I tried to respond to some of the questions people asked in the comments, but many were "no reply" bloggers.  Please change your settings or include an email address if you'd like me to respond personally to your comment :)  I try my best to get back to everyone within a couple days!

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Domestically Speaking

48 comments:

  1. How long do you wait between final coat and removing the tape? I was told this was my problem in my bathroom. I had tape stick and not come off (had to use a razorblade) and also some leaks. Thanks for the tips!

    ~Kristi

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  2. Oh Man...I wish I knew all this BEFORE I painted my living room....I had so much seepage (didn't burnish, didn't have long pieces)...I did EVERYTHING wrong. Well, now I know for the future. Thanks Jamie!

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  3. Great post! I did stripes in my living room and actually cut in using my basecoat. That way if anything seeped through, you wouldn't be able to see it.

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  5. Great tips! We are getting ready to paint the nursery in the coming weeks so I will keep these things in mind!!

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  6. You are Ha-larious! And such an expert. Great tips. I actually love pulling off the tape, it's my fave part. The burnish part cracked me up!!

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  7. Thanks for the great tips. It never fails, I always get paint on the molding! I'd love for you to stop by and link up to my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party at www.laughloveandcraft.com. I'm your newest follower.

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  8. Thanks for sharing. I hate taking the tape off! LOL! Can be scary....I will be sure to try your tips next time I paint. I found you through Ginger Snap Crafts.

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  9. Great tips! Thanks so much - all this will come in handy in the near future!

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  10. Thanks for this! What a great tip!

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  11. These posts are super helpful. Lol, kind of makes me want to go repaint.:) I'm a new follower from Show and Share.:)

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  12. I too want to know how long to wait before you remove the tape. Thanks!

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  13. I have never been able to do this right. Thanks for the tips!

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  14. I always rip the paint or have seepage thanks for the advice!

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  15. Thanks for the tips--we will be using them this weekend, got some projects to bust out! And thank you for linking up at Show & Share!

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  16. Nice tips :)
    and do not miss.....


    S
    A
    T
    U
    R
    D
    A
    Y

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    H
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    W

    O
    F
    F

    WELCOME :)
    Håkan ( The Roseman)

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  17. This is an awesome tutorial!! Thank you!

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  18. Thank you so much! I have such problems with this and now understand why.

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  19. Great tips! Thanks!!

    Kimberly @ THE BROWN EYES HAVE IT

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  20. Thanks for the painter's tape 101! My boyfriend and I are renting our first house (as opposed to apartment) and are thinking about painting next weekend, so your tips came just in time! :) Thanks for sharing!

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  21. These are some great tips! I always end up making a big mess even with the tape, but this should help.

    I am a new follower from the I Heart Nap Time Sundae Scoop. If you have a chance come by http://messforless.blogspot.com and say hi!
    Thanks!

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  22. Great information! Thanks so much for linking up to Tuesday Talent Show! I would love to have you stop by and link up again tomorrow with more great projects!
    -Nikki
    http://chef-n-training.blogspot.com/

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  23. Thanks for a great post! I’d love for you to link to Things I’ve Made Thursdays. I’m trying something new this week- We have two sections to the party- one for kids’ things and one for “Anything”!! I think this post would be an awesome addition to the “Anything Goes” party!

    Hope you’ll stop by on Thursday and link up!
    Melanie
    bearrabbitbear.blogspot.com

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  24. Great tips! I am getting ready to paint my whole house (indoors) These tips will help a lot!

    I'd love to have you share this and any other of your amazing posts over at my linky party Create and Share. It posts every Wednesday. We open the party Tuesday evening at 8 pm for those who like to link up early. Hope you stop by... http://thetrendytreehouse.blogspot.com/2011/09/create-and-share-features-too.html

    Tara @Trendy Treehouse
    http://thetrendytreehouse.blogspot.com

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  25. Thanks for sharing this at my link party...I like blue painters tape also!

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  26. I'm Nicole from Romanian Princess, I am your newest follower from a blog hop! Please follow me back! Thanks!

    www.romanianprincess.com

    XoXo Nicole Mariana

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  27. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  28. I usually get to much paint next to the wall and the tape when I do this I take a razor knife and score the paint not the tape but the paint so it will peal right off and leave a nice straight line. some paints are tougher than others and if you have a heavy coat over the tape edge it is going to peal some of the wall or where ever you are painting (trim, wall) paint with it so score the paint I can not stress to much, paint not the tape just lightly score the paint you will be glad you did .

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  29. Some pretty designs alright. Doing the painting yourselves is more fun but a good place for ideas for more design is this
    site of wahooart.com, that I use to help with my wall decorations.

    You can browse for a painting like this The tree, by 20th century Czech artist, Frantisek Kupka, for example, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/
    OPRA/BRUE-8LHUQV
    , that can be ordered on line and delivered to you.

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  30. Thank you so much! I have such problems with this and now understand why.
    Edmonton Painters
    Painters Edmonton

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  31. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!


    Edmonton Painters
    Painters Edmonton

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  32. I have spent a lot of the time in different blogs but this is really a unique blog for me.new songs

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  33. The tricks to use the painters tape is very well discussed in this blog, I really enjoy reading this.
    leesburg painters

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  34. Wow. I'm a homeowner who has been painting for 20 years. I always got a clean line when I take the time and don't use tape. That is because I never burnished the tape before. In fact, didn't even know about it. I feel so foolish. Thanks for setting me straight after all these years! Blessings to you too!
    - a homeowner in Northern VA

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  35. So funny looks my tape job I'm painting my den thank you Blue Painters tape I love you. My Chevron print will come out great now with these helpful tips! yaaaaaa

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  36. http://www.monkeysee.com/play/21094-painting-clean-corners-on-textured-walls

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  37. My boyfriend and I are painting this week and I needed tips to get it done right. So helpful! Thank you! Wish us luck!

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  38. How long should you wait after painting the ceiling and cornice, before putting tape on the cornice in order to paint the wall? We have problems with the cornice paint coming off onto the tape. Thanks!

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  39. Amusing and informative--my favorite combination. Thank you!

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  40. Hello, i am painting a bathroom that has like a border that comes out the wall about a half inch and is about 2 inches long. I am painting the border a different color than the wall. My question is do i paint the wall & tape the border first or do i paint the border & tape the border?? Also how long should i wait to put tape on the part i paint 1st? Please Help!!!!

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  41. Great tips, i never thought i can paint this way too!! You aware of Surface protection film we can use later for surface protection.

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  42. Glad I read this before I finish the rest of my painting. First wall had seepage so I'll try on the rest now!

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  43. I'm so new to using painters tape when painting! It's sometimes difficult to get an exact line to make it stick in the corners. I'm having painters come to do our kitchen while we finish painting our bedroom.
    Sylvia | http://www.housepainting-brisbane.com.au

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  44. Thanks for compiling such nicest information in your blogs. Articles are very informative and hope again I’ll find more like that. certapro

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  45. Do you reapply tape between coats?

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  46. Thank you for sharing this interesting and informative article, painting with airless spray gun will be faster and more interesting!
    regards,
    Paint Spray Gun

    ReplyDelete

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