Technique for painting dark walls with white trim?

aok27502July 11, 2011

I have to paint some areas where the wall paint is dark and the crown/base are white. She doesn't want the trim repainted. I used to be able to do it by hand, but my hand isn't steady enough, and my eyes aren't sharp enough any more. I never seem to have great luck with tape, so I would appreciate any tips on how to tape the trim. Thanks!

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I sympathize with you. My hand is still steady enough, but the eyes-not good.

Are you painting the walls dark over a lighter paint? If so, here's what I would do. I'm not an expert, but I've done my fair share of painting and I've learned some tricks which work for me.

First, you need to make sure you totally cover up the lighter paint. Do this by painting a thin line of the white trim paint along the edge of the trim and over the lighter wall paint color (you may want to fine sand that edge first so the trim paint sticks well). You don't want any of the original paint color showing and this is the only way to guarantee that.

Allow a couple of days for that trim paint to dry. Using the Frog tape, tape along the edge of the trim (this will be harder on the crown molding-maybe you can get someone with better eyes to do that taping for you). Then press down the tape really well with a putty knife-a couple of times so you get a really tight seal.

Then paint the dark paint, try not to go too heavy with the paint into the tape line-but you probably know that already. When the paint is dry-half a day or so, remove the tape, You should get a nice crisp line.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:40PM
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Thanks for replying, Randita. The paint is the same as what is already there, she needs it repainted because her child has destroyed the walls. My husband has pointed out that, if the paint is still a match (she has the leftovers), I won't need to get within a hair of the edges. The repainting is really just in the child-height areas, but we're repainting the entire wall, anyway.

I have never had great luck with tape, and especially on moldings. I've used frog tape and still had leaks. I'm crossing my fingers that I won't need to tape, but I'll use the putty knife trick if necessary.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 8:56AM
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Yes, you won't have to go to the very edge if you're painting the same color, so no need to tape the crown probably.

One trick I've done with Frog tape is after pressing down firmly (twice as PaintGuy recommended), I wet the edge of the tape with a damp sponge. The Frog tape is supposed to seal upon contact with wet paint, but I pre-seal it with the damp sponge, then let it dry for a few minutes. That has worked well for me. I rarely get any seepage that way.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 10:04PM
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One quick thing with ANY tape-edge guys....

DRY-BRUSH paint at the tape edge.
> Just a thin/light quick brush....back&forth on the edge.
> This way the paint's too thin to seep, and dries too fast before it can seep!
>'ve now got a sealed edge, because any small capillaries under the tape are now filled with your quickly-dried/hazy wisp of paint!
> If texture is more moderate, ANY tape will bleed, but using My old "Trace-caulk the edge" does wonders...!


    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:07AM
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Faron's idea of dry brush is excellent. That's how stencilers do it. They dip the brush into the stencil paint, then blot off almost all the excess onto a paper towel before painting. That way, you're not going to get drips underneath the taped on stencils. Same principle applies to painting along a tape edge.

Another advantage to that is when you go to pull off the tape, you're not going to take thick clumps of paint with it-including what's on the wall next to the tape. I learned this the hard way years back.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 9:21AM
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