How to Get A Straight Line When Painting – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

In painting, what is the best way to get a clean line along a ceiling or wall?

Great question!

There are a number of factors when painting in order to get a clean line, such as when painting a wall up to the ceiling. The first recommendation is to have a good brush. For interior work, I like an angled brush, as it allows getting into the corner easily, and a 1 ½ to 2 inch brush works well. Some people like a chiseled brush, which is more like an artist’s brush, rounded at the tip.

Although patience is a great thing to have in painting, so is a good steady hand. If you feel lack one or both of those skills, you might want to consider using painter’s tape. The typical painter’s tape is blue, available in different widths. Painter’s tape is similar to a regular masking tape, but the blue tape doesn’t stick permanently or take any of the surface off when it is removed.

In my early painting experiences, I tried cutting in with just a brush, but I wasn’t satisfied with my results. I therefore switched to using the painter’s tape. However, I became even more frustrated with this, because when pulling the tape off, I found too many occurrences where the paint got behind the tape. This causes extra work in wiping it off and then touching up the area where I didn’t want the paint to go. So, I went back to the brush only, forcing myself to learn the skill.

However, we have just run across a new painter’s tape that we’ve tried out, and have found that it works well. It’s called FROGTAPE, ( and is available at Home Depot and Lowes, and perhaps other stores. The tape is green, so you won’t get it confused with the typical blue tape. The reason we’re liking the FROGTAPE is because it is treated with what they call a paint block. As paint is applied to the tape, a polymer on the tape absorbs the water in latex paints, expanding the edge of the tape and creating a barrier. Therefore the paint doesn’t get under the tape. The manufacturer states that the paint was created for latex paints, so if you’re using an oil based paint, beware. The only drawback I’ve found in using this is that at times I had trouble making it stick, so it took more time to get it in place.

As with any painter’s tape, it is best not to leave it in place for too long after the job is done. If the paint has dried, you might be pulling up paint along with the tape. So, it is best to take the tape off before the paint is dry. Be careful removing it wet, however; don’t let the tape touch any other surface, or you may be spending more time doing touch ups.

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