Paint perfect stripes

Paint experts give us an in-depth lesson on getting crisp lines, every time

Painting prep
Photo: Jeffery Cross

Step 1

“Start with a clean, dry surface,” says paint expert Shawn Mylacraine. Next, tape off the pattern with thin painter’s tape. Both Mylacraine and fellow expert Rhan Harris recommend 3M’s 2080 Scotch-Blue Painter’s Tape for Delicate Surfaces (3m.com).

Run a slightly damp rag along the tape (picture 1), pressing to remove any air bubbles.

Step 2

Paint the stripe (picture 2) and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Note: If the wall is textured, first paint a coat of the wall color over the exposed area—where you’ll paint the stripe—and the inner edge of the tape to create a complete seal. Be sure to let that coat dry overnight.

Step 3

“If I finish painting in the morning, I might pull the tape the same evening. But the next day would be better,” says Mylacraine.

Start removing the tape in an unobtrusive area and pull out at a 90° angle (picture 3). If you notice any significant imperfections, let it dry more.

For more answers to common painting questions, see How to paint like a pro.

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