At the top of the walls in our living room is a slight curve between the wall and the ceiling. It’s a nice feature, but it causes one problem – there is no natural end point for the paint colours for each. I wanted to figure out how to paint a perfectly straight line on a wall.

Here’s how to make sure you get a nice crisp line

  1. Measure your starting point from the ceiling. It’s best if you have someone else in the room to help guide you on this – especially if you’re on a ladder.
  2. Paint your ceiling and paint below the starting point line – if you try and paint the lines to meet in the middle it will take twice as long. Simply paint under the starting point line, and then paint the wall colour up to that line over what you just painted.
  3. Get a spirit level. Trust me – you will make a complete balls of this without one. You can spend a fortune on a fancy laser spirit level on a tripod, but I’m going to use a regular one that cost a tenner in Woodies.
  4. This is the tedious part – walk around the room 30-50cm at a time (it’s a real pain if you’re on a ladder), and hold up the spirit level. You’ll want to confirm the central bubble is exactly level (i.e. when it is equidistant between the two thick lines). When it is, mark the top of the spirit level exactly with the painters’ tape. This will take a while – especially because you only have two hands! Once applied, make sure the tape is firmly applied to the wall. If there are any loose bits, your straight line will be wobbly.
  5. When this is all around the room it will look something like this
  6. Paint your walls with a roller up to about 5-10 cm below the painters’ tape. Don’t be tempted to use the roller to paint up onto the tape – this will push paint under the tape and your line will be inexact.
  7. With a light coating of paint on the brush, paint downwards from the centre of the tape

  8. While your final coat of paint is still wet, slowly and carefully peel off the painters’ tape
  9. C’est voila! You have a lovely straight edge at the top of your room.

 

Top tips:

  • If you’re painting onto fresh plaster make sure it is fully dry before you start. If you don’t, you will have the same disaster that we had!
  • Don’t leave the painters tape on the wall for more than 2 days – it will get extra-sticky and will be a pain to get off
  • Don’t use cheap masking tape for this. Painters’ tape is more expensive but will create a much better defined line.

Best of luck!

-Seán

 

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