How to Paint Straight Lines: Interior House Painting Techniques

 How to Paint Straight Lines: Interior House Painting Techniques

Most of us learn in early childhood how to paint or color inside the lines, and those thick, black borders provide some order to the page. When it comes to interior house painting, however, it's not so easy to produce the kind of crisp, straight lines that are pleasing to the eye. What can you do? How do you make straight lines when you are painting your home interior?

One of the most important ingredients in a tidy, beautiful paint job is experience. A D.C. area interior house painter has numerous tricks and techniques to use, but even more than that, he or she has a steady, practiced hand and a keen eye. A do-it-yourself painter can develop this as well, but it will take time, and it will probably involve some mistakes along the way!

Using Painter's Tape to Paint Straight Lines

Simple and effective, painter's tape is one of the best ways to achieve those crisp lines you long for. Unless you are doing small, detailed work, you probably want a roll that is 1.5 or 2 inches wide. Lay it carefully in manageable strips of about 2-3 feet long. Each piece of tape should overlap the previous one by an inch or two. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the tape, run a finger along the edge that will be painted, securely adhering it.

As you paint, the key is not to get too much paint on the tape, since it can seep under the edge and spoil the line. In fact, try to paint as if the tape was not there, aiming for a straight line that meets the tape, but doesn't leave drips or globs on the seam.

You can remove the tape once the paint has slightly dried, within about 1 hour, rolling it into a ball as you pull it away. If you wait longer, this is also fine, but if the paint on the tape surface has adhered to the paint on the wall, you will need to cut it first. Use a very sharp, fine blade to gently cut right along the edge of the tape, just severing the new paint. Now, go ahead and pull away the tape.

Interior Painting with a Straight Edge

Rather than tape, some people prefer using a straight edge when they are performing interior house painting. This could be for specific places where tape is less effective, such as along the edge of a popcorn ceiling, or they might prefer it because it takes less setup. In either case, a straight edge can be very effective in some circumstances.

Holding the paintbrush in your dominant hand and the straight edge in the other, place the straight edge firmly at the joint or corner where you want to paint. Just as we said about interior painting with tape, try to work as if the straight edge were not there, and just let it be a backup or a guide, since it is still possible for paint to seep around the edge.

As you work, use a rag or paper towels to clean off the straight edge so that it does not spread paint accidentally where it does not belong.

I'll Just Eyeball It! Painting Straight Lines without Help

The idea of painting your edges and borders by hand without tape or tools is an appealing one. It takes less setup than tape, and it seem simpler than a straight edge. Is it a good idea?

Painting straight lines by hand is challenging, and it takes a great deal of experience, plus a steady hand. With practice, it is possible to achieve attractive results this way, but don't expect it on your first attempt! Here are a few tips for painting straight lines by hand:

  • Set up with good lighting and visibility. Since your body, your hand, and even your paintbrush all cast shadows, it is good to have multiple sources of lighting from different angles.
  • Use a suitable ladder so that your body can be comfortable and close to the place you are painting. If you are having to reach far above your head or out to the side, good results are very unlikely.
  • Paint with a high quality brush that is in good condition. Any unevenness, stiffness, or stray bristles will ruin your attempt.
  • When you dip your brush in the paint, you want a moderate amount. Too much paint will cause drips, runs, and globs. But not enough paint will make your line thin and patchy.

Williams Professional Painting

If you really want exceptional results, your best option is to hire a quality local painting company. When you work with an interior house painter like Williams Professional Painting, you can be assured of crisp lines, smooth surfaces, and uniform colors.

Since 1979, Williams Professional Painting has been providing the Washington, D.C. area with excellent interior painting services, as well as carpentry, kitchen cabinet painting, popcorn ceiling removal, molding installation, exterior painting, and more.

For a free estimate for your next interior house painting project, use our online estimate request tool, or call our office today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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