Cannot paint a straight edge!

rocky08May 21, 2010

I have tried for two days to paint a straight edge along the ceiling in my bathroom! Ugh! I have tried using a 2 inch angled brush and an edger with poor results. I am resorting to buying a metal straight edge and first doing the wall, then tomorrow using it to do the ceiling. Do you think this will work? The ceiling is white and the wall a medium blue so it is very noticeable. It drives me crazy not to have a straight line!!!!

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Try some tape. That is usually the only way that a novice painter can pull off a straight line like the pros. I would actually paint the walls first, lap the paint up onto the ceiling a little bit and then after that is dry, tape off the wall at the ceiling line, then use some wall paint against the tape to seal that edge. That way, any bleeding that gets behind the tape will be with the same color of the walls so it will not show. Then paint over that with the ceiling paint. Pull your tape after it has set but not when completely dry...probably after 20 minutes is good. The trick to having this come out good is how you lay down your tape....your line will only be as straight as the tape that you apply.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:03AM
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to paint a straight line by hand takes patience and practice. Once you start relying on tape you won't ever learn how to do it. My advice? slow down, get a good cutting in brush and take it slowly. you WILL get it and find your own technique. At first it will be (painfully) slow but as you get practice your speed will pick up.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 9:32AM
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I quit even trying to rely on tape. I do the best I can with an angled brush. Then I go back with an artist's brush. Time-consuming, but it's what works for me.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 2:55PM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Can also try bringing your ceiling color down on the the wall just a snidge or two.

When you cut in with the wall color over the ceiling color that's been brought down on the wall, it kind of visually jumbles it all up. So a line cut with wall color that's maybe not so perfect isn't as noticeable unless the line is really atrociously crooked.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 7:37PM
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I didn't see where you may have mentioned the type of ceiling or wall material you have (smooth or textured- and if textured "how textured"). Coming from a painter, I would suggest not using one of those metal edgers unless you have the edger pressed down good enough to prevent paint from seeping under; in addition to more paint having the possibility to being deposited right at the edgers edge. Not to mention you will need to clean the metal edger each time which takes time. I would get a good quality brush as trance mentioned and do some dry brush practicing before you paint.

As far as the method of painting down on the ceiling I "myself" do not like this look. Unless you are a cut in person you run the risk of your paint line not being straight and jagged unless you tape to come down off the ceiling or lightly take a watercolor pencil and mark a line.
Not to mention I simply just think it looks like a caulk line. I would much rather see someone go about 1/8th inch upon the ceiling as the other way. Nevertheless, you still have the same issues as painting down .

Depends also on the substrate type (smooth or textured). Lightly textured you can work with this to get more of a good line. So other than having a good crisp cut in line with a quality brush (corona champagne vegas), I would try using 3m # 2080 delicate blue painter's tape.
best of luck,

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 7:42AM
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Oh yeah rocky I am sure you have already found a solution for your ceiling, but maybe in future you can try some practice and the next time you will not have any problems at all.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 7:47AM
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"lap the paint up onto the ceiling a little bit and then after that is dry, tape off the wall at the ceiling line, then use some wall paint against the tape to seal that edge"

Paintguy...sounds neat, but can you elaborate...when you seal the edge, I guess you need to let it dry an hour or so. If so, how to you pull the tape off? I find once the paint dries, the tape pull off process ruins and pulls off paint. And then you need to color over color with "white" paint which is a pain too?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 2:27PM
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The tape should only pull off paint if the paint layer is suspect to begin with. Also, you should use the blue tape as it is designed for this type of thing because it has low tack. I would not let it dry for an hour...probably only as long as it needs to for it to be dry, usually 15 minutes is enough. If you are having problems with pulling paint off the wall, then you may need to score that line to break that seal with a sharp putty knife or razor knife. This really depends on what paint you are using I suppose, because I hardly ever have to score my tape when using BM products. I don't let it dry completely either though before pulling.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 6:19PM
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I have several rooms to paint and will have plenty of practice time lol. I used the edger and did buy a 1 inch angled brush which for me was much easier to cut in at the ceiling with and held much less paint. I actually think I could use this to get the straight line then maybe go back with a wider angled brush to actually "cut in" onto the wall. At times the paint did bleed under the edger and I did have to wipe it off after each time, but it did give me an acceptable line I can live with now.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 6:48AM
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