February 15, 2011

Tuesday Tip of the Day - Creating Crisp Lines on Stripes

Stripes are everywhere these days from linens to upholstery and home decor accessories.  In faux the way stripes are used can vary wildly depending on the application.

If you want to bring some drama and sophistication to a formal living room for example create a focal wall of tone on tone 6" wide stripes in alternating matte and metallic finishes.  When done correctly it will look like wallpaper.

I created these stripes for a nursery:

They are 9" wide and alternate in milk chocolate and baby blue strie.  Essentially I rolled the glaze on the wall within the tape lines and then pulled through it with a specific type of brush that leaves some of the glaze while pulling off other areas.  It gives a soft pin-stripe effect and it is a finish the homeowner loved because their twin boys could grow into it for years before having to redo the walls.

And that brings me to the tip of the day -- how to make sure that gorgeous paint doesn't bleed under your tape causing the perfectly crisp line to get all wonky.

Because really there is nothing worse than taking the entire day to measure out, mask off and paint or glaze your stripe only to pull the tape and find that the beautiful blue seeped over that rich brown.  A wonky line is a finisher's worst nightmare!

So you get your tape up and your stripes are ready to go.  Here's what to do.  Take your base coat and paint a line right down the inside edge of your stripe, the area where you are going to be putting the finish.  Make sure to cover a little bit of the tape itself.  Let it dry for about an hour and then complete the finish.

Voila!  Any bleed under the tape will be the same color as the wall and you've left with an almost imperceptible ridge that will "catch" the other color (if alternating) which will also help to prevent bleed through of the alternating color.

This handy little trick can be used in all kinds of places:
  • When painting the wall but not your trim run a line of trim paint along the tape
  • When doing the exact opposite run a little wall paint instead
  • If painting everything including ceilings, trim is usually completed last so start at the top and work your way down
It might mean a small bit of extra time to allow the paint to dry on the tape line but it sure will save a whole lot of headaches when you don't have to try to touch up a finish!

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