Five Steps to Avoid Potential Painting Pitfalls
When working on your own turf there is more room for errors but even then it’s better to keep mistakes to a minimal. When you are using tape to create a design or protect your trim, here are 5 lessons I’ve learned that may help you avoid potential painting disasters.
Lesson # 1
ALWAYS measure twice and cut once. A measuring tape and/or a ruler came in handy during my project and can be a headache saver in yours.
When taping a wall I found it easier to first place the tape on the wall where it would be mounted, then extend it out to my mark, and finally cut it. I learned I wasted a lot less tape this way, then when cutting with a hunch.
Yes, this “measure twice cut once” statement seems pretty self explanatory and it applies for more than just cutting wood with a hacksaw. Apparently cutting and measuring tape does require a bit of rocket science when you are using it to make geometric shapes on a wall that look perfectly even. It can be a little trick when you can’t directly measure the tape without first unwinding it.
It doesn’t matter what length you decide to make your boxes, as long as you cut the tape for parallel sides to equal lengths. It’s good to have straight clean lines. I bet you‘re thinking “but it’s just tape how can the line NOT be straight” right? Wrong! This brings me to my second point…
Use a Leveler to make your life simpler and your lines cleaner. This applies especially if you are planning to also hang shelves that hang parallel to your geometric shapes.
For the first hour of taping, I was going off of my own inclination, which says “If it looks straight then it must be straight” and that was SO incorrect. My friend, whose closet I was designing, brought this point to my attention and I’m glad that he did. How annoyingly awkward would it have been to first paint and hang the shelves only to find out later that all the shapes were doing some sort of “gangsta’ lean” around them, causing them to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. On top of that who’d want to re-assemble and re-tape and re-paint the entire area again correctly? Not me!
Using the leveler I found that most of my lines were good to go, but a few of them needed to be adjusted. The easiest way was to place dots on the wall where I planned to place the tape. This prevents the need for re-adjustment later.
Lesson # 3
If you must re-adjust the tape more than once, toss it and cut a new piece instead. Yep, this is pretty self explanatory too. Make sure to smooth down the edges with your finger or a scraper as well, to reinforce the seal before you paint.
After 2 or more tries to reapply tape to the wall, the tape starts to lose its tackiness. Without utilizing a measuring tape or the leveler this can become quite tedious. Secretly the tape can become full of microscopic debris, caused by repeated readjusting, which cause microscopic air gaps and allow some of the paint to bleed through what would have otherwise been a perfectly filtered, clean, straight line.
After readjusting the tape too much you may be left with more areas to touch up, causing you to waste more time, then you would have if you had other wise toss, and started with a fresh piece of tape.
Lesson # 4
Take the tape off within 45 minutes or so. Whatever you do don’t leave it on overnight like I did initially. Whether the paint in dry or wet, remove the tape carefully.
When the paint dries, the paint and the tape become one, especially when you have done multiple coats. When you attempt to remove the tape hours after the paint has dried, you may find that the paint and the wall are coming off together. This situation would call for more tedious re-touching too.
Lesson # 5
Touch up the paint after you drill the holes to hang the shelves. You will find it’s much easier than doing the reverse.
The paint takes time to dry, the last thing you want to do is take another full day to complete your project unnecessarily. If you drill the holes where the shelves will hang first, once you paint there will be less to retouch.
When the paint dries all of the hard tasks are complete and the only things left to do is hang the shelves and the brackets and fill the space with your items.