So I’m a perfectionist. Maybe also a little bit anal. Or a lot a bit. And I hate it when I work so hard to make a nice, straight tape line and then the paint bleeds under it, spoiling all my efforts. For as detailed a person as I am, though, I am surprisingly bad at cutting in without tape (probably because I keep trying to go over it again and again to get it perfect, and then just get unlucky one of the times and screw it all up!). After we rolled the ceiling in our bathroom, we had to fix the edges of the walls and I was trying to figure out what method was the best combination of lowest effort + best results.
First I tried a paint pad with the plastic guides. I was careful not to get any paint on the guides, but it still wasn’t as crisp a line as I wanted. I’m not sure why, cause this is what I did in our master bedroom and I loved the result.
I didn’t bother touching up with a craft brush because again my perfectionistic personality gets in the way and I never would have finished it. So I landed on taping. But I had tried that in the bedroom the first time and was not happy with the way it bled. Then I remembered a trick I had heard about a long time ago. This only works if you have the color of both the surface you’re taping and the one you’re painting…otherwise, well, good luck to you.
First, tape the edge making sure it’s straight and smooth. No need to worry too much about going over every inch of the tape over and over again to prevent bleeding through. Just pressing it down once will do.
Then paint along the tape using the base color (the color you taped over). In my case, I put the tape on the ceiling since the wall needed touching up. Then I painted over the edge of the tape with the ceiling paint.
Leave the tape on and let that paint dry completely. Then paint the edge again, this time with the final color you want it to be. For me this was the green color of the walls. (I’m not sure what happened here. Maybe my hand had a spasm.)
Then peel off your tape either while the paint is still wet (my preference) or after it’s completely dry.
And then you have a super crisp line! Painting a coat of the base color first creates a seal on the edge of the tape. If there are any spaces for paint to bleed through, the first coat of paint will fill them, and since it’s the same color as the surface anyway, you won’t see them. This creates a really clean line and is especially handy for moldings that can be difficult to tape or when doing stripes or a pattern that has to be perfect. It does add an extra step, but for me it’s worth it not to have to go back with a teeny tiny brush later and laboriously touch up every imperfection. Plus I only had to wait like 30 minutes before painting my final coat.
If you can’t do this (maybe you don’t have the base color), put a little more effort into your taping. Once the room is taped, press down the tape with something like a putty knife or credit card and then brush the paint away from the edge of the tape so you’re not forcing paint under the edge.
Hopefully we’ll have some more bathroom updates soon but for now we’re still having issues getting our granite right. After screwing it up twice our granite guy doesn’t have any of the same remnant left!