Straight Clean Lines Between Two Colors

By Mike Miller (

Clean Straight Lines: How to get crisp lines between two colors.

We’ve all seen the commercials: the lady pulls away the blue tape to reveal the sharpest line between to colors you could possibly imagine. You say, “Wow, that looks nice! I want to do that!” So you go down to your local box store, shell out the cash and begin your journey. Then comes the moment of truth, after applying the second color, you are set to remove the magical blue tape barrier. Then disaster strikes. The paint bled beneath the tape along the entire line. “What did I do wrong? Why didn’t this work? Life is not fair!”

Ah, the perils of home improvement. Something that looks so easy turns out to be a bust. In this case, however, you may have been just one small step from satisfaction. If you had fortified your blue barrier with spackle (lightweight acrylic putty) or caulking, the result would have been much better.

Here is a step-by-step description of how to get a clean line:

  • Apply the tape along the desired line.
  • With your left hand, scoop about a teaspoon of spackle from the container of spackle. If you are using caulk, then apply a teaspoon sized ball into your left hand.
  • With your right index finger, dab the spackle/caulk in order to get a small amount to work with.
  • Spread the spackle or caulk along the edge of the tape, on the side you intend to paint, in one direction moving towards the tape. What you are trying to do is get the spackle or caulk up under the tape. This seals off any gap that might occur between the tape and the surface you are painting. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess material.
  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have fortified the entire edge.
  • Paint, and allow it to dry. Once the paint has dried gently pull the tape from the wall. Pulling the tape in a 90 degree angle from the surface yields the best results.


I hope this tip was useful and helps you produce a beautiful and professional finish on your home.

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  1. Anonymous

    It’s called Floetrol, a latex paint conditioner. Or even better yet if you are pin striping or something get a quart of deep base paint of the same brand and sheen and put a light coat over the tape… this ensures that there will be no sheen difference from the run under.

  2. Anonymous

    get a CLEAR latex paint or the original wall color itself and use a small brush to run down the tape line. This is the color that will bleed underneath and seal the edge for you. Works every time!

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