How to get a nice vertical line when painting two walls different colors

Hello,
I'm painting a square room, and one wall is to be red; the other walls should be white. All the walls are spackled. I am having trouble getting a perfectly straight vertical line in the very corner of the room, where the red paint of one wall ends, and the white paint of another wall begins. The slight protrusion of the spackle makes this transition look very jagged, as it also causes paint to bleed underneath the masking tape when I try to mask off a nice line.
Is there a trick to getting a nice straight vertical line that transitions from one color to the other in this situation? Someone suggested to me 'gum arabic', but I haven't the slightest idea what it is, or what I might do with it.
Thanks! -Jeff
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I use modeling clay. Mark your line faintly press clay against line,cut in, move clay down and repeat

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How 'bout square (sharp angle piece of wood) sanding the corned, then a bob or snap line?

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Try this trick:
I assume the walls are all painted and you are just struggling with the corner.
1. Mask the white wall. 2. Paint a narrow coat of white on top of the mask. Stay off the red as best you can, trying to only paint an 1/8 - 1/4" on the red. This coat of white will "bleed" under the tape and seal all those leak points. Do it twice if you need to. Go do something else for an hour or two - let this coat of paint dry, at least dry to the touch. 3. Leave the mask right where it is. Now, paint it red. Allow to dry. Masking is usually pulled wet, but for this system to work, allow the paint to dry.
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Jeff Ishaq wrote:

A very large/wide, and strong putty knife firmly stuffed into the corner with one hand, while brushing with the other.
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Thanks for the tips, folks. I'll try both the putty knife and the masking tape approaches, and let you know how it goes!
-Jeff
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Jeff Ishaq wrote:

Please do!
After all I was just taking a wild stab at the problem, but it makes perfectly good sense to me!
After all, with a "spackled wall" (Eww!) I think it would rather difficult to make even the BEST tape lay flat and keep the paint from seeping/bleeding under it, so as to leave a nice, CRISP edge!
But, if you WEDGE the Putty Knife into the corner enough (Not enough to bust the you know what), and carefully apply the paint and PULL the knife away and INTO the wet surface....Wooo Hooo!
It's "got to work" with some "experimentation"!
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FWIW - the local Home Depot has a demo of this on a permanent display.
1. Paint the lighter color, and extend it just over the division line. 2. Run a strip of masking tape down the line, with the tape on the lighter color. Wait til it's dry before taping, obviously. 3. Get a paintable white caulk, and run a very small bead right against the tape on the unpainted part of the wall. 4, Using a finger, smooth the bead of caulk until it's basically flat. make sure the caulking goes onto the masking tape, and covers the line completely. 5. Paint the darker color, and overpaint slightly onto the masking tape. 6. Pull the masking tape. In theory, the caulk will split cleanly at the edge of the tape, so it will make a perfect line regardless of bumps and texture on the wall.
I haven't tried this, but it seems logical. If you try it, let us know how it works!
If it doesn't work, blame my local Home Depot!

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Jeff Ishaq wrote:

I suggest you don't try to paint in the corner. Move out a little, just far enough to find a nice smooth surface. Then paint your line there. It will look like the corner even if it is not. I suggest putting the line on the light wall so the corner will be the darker color.
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just
on
What he said. People who I have watched do this, professional painters or just artsy-craftsy folks, didn't use tape or guide board, or any of the othe common tricks. They cut the joint in by hand with a signpainter's brush, like they used to use for lettering commercial signs back before everything became computer-generated peel-offs. Looked about an inch or two wide, with an angled tip so they can keep a clean point. Takes practice and a steady hand (I couldn't do it), but they made it look easy. Just followed a very light pencil line with long smooth strokes, and an almost dry brush. They did contrasting door and window trim the same way, inside and outside.
What the hey- it would only cost you a few bucks to practice, either on the part of the wall that will be the darker color anyway, or on a scrap board. Get a sign brush, a small can of the same texture of paint, and draw a few lines and see if you can color and stay inside the lines. :^)
aem sends...
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I am a 25yr Journeyman Painter. Here's what I do (Works for concrete block too). BTW, Tape seldom gives acceptable results.
The contrasting line is visual. That is it doesn't need to be or precisely follow the actual corner. You will be creating a visual line. Paint the lighter colour lapping onto the feature wall. Let it dry. When dry, take an exacto or Olfa knife and straight edge and score as precise a line as you can, approx 1/16" to 1/8" in from the actual corner. Whether you score the line onto the light color or feature colour depends on lighting. With the scored line in place, carefully brush on your feature colour, thinned slightly. The thinned paint will flow into the score and stop there. You may require multiple coats as the paint has been thinned. Always use a good angular sash brush.
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Doesn't that leave you with a damaged corner, or am I misunderstanding something?
I have found a piece of cardboard works pretty good.
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Jeff Ishaq wrote:

It would be unusual for any corner to be perfectly straight. Paint the white walls into the corner. Let dry at least two days. Get a plumb bob and chalk line and snap a straight line at each corner so the the corners are in the red area. The line should be as close to the corner as possible. Put down painters tape on the white, paint your red wall and remove the tape before the paint dries. If you press the tape on carefully, you should not get any bleeding under the tape edge.
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I believe he stated the wall is spackled? This would indicate there walls have been textured. If this is the case tapeing is not an option.
The two ideas here that would work is the Paintable caulking, I use Latex Dap. Try to keep the bead thin, never mind taping to get the dap straight, folks at home depot are working there for a good reason lol. Then cut in.
The other idea I like it the knife in the corner idea. Though you will have to follow the corner and perhaps end up looking crooked.
With such a contrast between colors, you don't really want to cut to the crease of the corner. We usually cut an 1/8 of an inch to either side, depending of the perspective of the corner from which most traffic in the room will view it. Even with smooth walls, you rarely come across a perfect corner. Keeping to one side will allow you to create the illusion the corner is straighter then it actually is.
Do your red first!
ML Painting
wrote:

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A way I've seen that done, if I am remembering correctly, is to do the lighter colored walls first, overlapping the corner about an inch, and let them dry. Then put on the masking tape right up to the corner and paint the edge of the tape at the corner with the same paint and let it dry. This will seal the edge and keep your red from bleeding under the tape. The red is then applied right up to the tape, and when it has dried some but is still tacky pull off the tape.
Marty
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Jeff Ishaq) wrote in

easiest solution is to run a bead of caulking (paintable) down the corner prior to painting use a commercially available tool or a wet finger drawn lightly over the caulk to make a slightly rounded corner. then just use a good brush and paint as straight a line as you can get if its a bit wavy straighten it up on the next coat. More often than not using tape just leads to bleeding.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Jeff Ishaq) wrote:

one trick I've heard to get a good tape line: paint first color and let dry apply tape and paint over the tape with the first color this will create a spanning file to help seal the tape to the wall, and any seepage will be in the color you have under the tape anyway.... now paint your second color and remove tape.
good luck!
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Mask off with good tape. then brush the bleed-prone edge with clear latex flat or s/g varnish. what bleeds onto the first color is clear. unmask promptly. Or, dry-brush the 1st color on the bleeding edge, then proceed with cutting in the 2nd color directly over your dry-brushed work. same net result.

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