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A Trick To Get The Crispest Paint Lines Ever!

August 21, 2014  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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I was in Sherwin Williams a couple weeks ago, getting paint for the entry wall. When I was checking out, the clerk asked me if I needed any painter’s tape for my project. The thing is, I have the worst time with painter’s tape. In our last house, I remember getting the delicate surface stuff to use on our freshly painted walls when I wanted to “easily” paint our trim and it bled everywhere. From them I have relied on my steady hand–until the entry project. I thought, “I’ll give it another try!” The paint bled. You can see it in this photo from the bench post:

IMG_7036

This was an earlier coat of paint, before my trip to Sherwin Williams,  and I ended up touching it up with my steady hand and 2″ angled brush. I told the nice clerk a shortened version of my distaste of painter’s tape and then she told me something that would change my life–we’ve been doing it wrong.

IMG_7177

This isn’t that tip to paint over all of your tape first in the current wall color, because that is not a time saver and it just hides the fact that it is bleeding everywhere. If I am spending money on painter’s tape–I just want it to work. So first, Frog Tape is special. She told me it has a built-in powdered gel adhesive (or something) that is activated when wet and makes the tape seal to your walls so no paint can seep in! If you’re lucky, while you’re painting this will get activated as you go. That is never, never the case for me. The secret, she said, is running a damp rag over the tape before painting to activate the sealing gel. Here’s a picture-esque demo!

how-to-frog-tape

Boom! The right one I didn’t use the damp rag on and you can see in some places my paint did a good job activating that gel and in some spots…terrible! The left side I ran a damp rag over it quickly and then painted. I can’t believe the difference. Frog Tape, I’ve been doing you wrong. Did you know this?

What do you think?

  1. Hannah says:

    Wish I had read this yesterday morning! Have had paint bleed dark green onto white, gutted. Wish they wrote this onto the frog tape box… or website!

  2. Lorraine Jeffery says:

    Thank you. Did not know and I’ve been doing this a long time.

  3. Holly says:

    Thanks! This could be a game changer! We are in the process of painting our baseboards in our almost century home! There is tons of trim in this old place! We used frog tape in one area but it didn’t work as well as we would have liked so I will be trying this trick in the second room and let you know how it turns out

  4. Karen says:

    Me too!! I tried the frog tape and never knew to get it wet…thank you for sharing!!

  5. Ree McGinley says:

    This is a great tip…wish I had seen it yesterday!
    In addition to the slight bleeding that I had there was one other problem…. We have a knock down finish on walls and ceiling. I taped the ceiling and painted the walls. When I tried to remove the tape the paint started coming off as well. I used a razor to score the tape so it wouldn’t keep happening.
    What did I do wrong???

    • Milan says:

      We got the same issue and found the trick.
      peel the painter tape as soon as the paint work is done and while touching the paint if it doesn’t come to your fingers, its time as its almost dry and peel the tape first.

  6. Very nice choice. I love it.

  7. Cierra Lindeen says:

    This is amazing. Thank you!!

  8. Nice. It’s really nice, simple and easy to do tricks. Thanks a lot. :D

  9. I can’t believe this… the last time I used Frog Tape it didn’t even STICK to the wall! There may have been a lot of cursing. Dare I try again with a small project? The wetness didn’t make it come off the wall? I’m nervous…

    • Julia says:

      Was your wall a little wet or damp from paint still? I’ve had that, too! But, as long as the paint is fully dry underneath–I promise this will work!

  10. Deena says:

    Life. Changed.

    PS – I’ve browsed your blog a time or two before, but I think this one post alone has turned me into a loyal reader! HA! :-)

  11. OMG! a damp rag! Seriously? Where has this information been all my life! Im our old house we had the new construction textured walls and I decided that a wall of stripes would be an AWESOME idea, well it was, but it took me FOREVAH because I was still using the paint over your tape in the base color trick. This would have saved me so so much time. You’re the best for sharing this.

  12. Amy says:

    WOW! This answers a huge question we’ve always had – our lines have always bled. We’re about to paint the entire downstairs of the house – this will come in handy! Thanks!

  13. Amy says:

    Shut the front door!

  14. Kelly says:

    Genius!! My relatives hated frogtape when they rehabed their old home, and strongly recommended I use the 3M blue tape. I think they would change their minds if they had seen this. Thank you sooo much for this post, so glad I saw it before I started painting next week!

  15. Jessie McKinley says:

    Why in the world is this not on the tape container?!? Thanks for the tip!!!

  16. Kacey says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I’m about to start painting a herringbone pattern and was worrying I wouldn’t end up with nice crisp clean lines. Great Timing!

  17. amy says:

    mind blowing.

  18. Dana says:

    This is the single most helpful thing I’ve read on any blog in years. Thank you!

  19. Melanie says:

    THANKYOU a thousand times for blogging about this tip. I had no idea and didn’t understand why anyone liked frog tape because it never worked great for me.

  20. emily says:

    amazing trick! gotta try this next time!

  21. Harlie says:

    My husband and I ranted (ranted, NOT raved) about Frog Tape the last time we tried it. So much more money for the same shoddy results! We swore that from now on we’d save our money and never buy it again. If only we had known this tip! How do the Frog Tape makers NOT have this on the label? I bet they’ve missed out on a lot of fans and loyal customers due to that omission.

    Now, I just have to talk my husband into giving FT one more chance.

  22. Kathy says:

    WOW!!! Thank you so much!!! About to start a repainting of our entire first floor….been up for 10 years…time for changes.

  23. I feel like this has just changed my life. Really :) I love this so much more than the paint it over with the other wall color!

  24. Treana B says:

    Blessings to that Sherwin Williams lady! I sense us FINALLY repainting the master bedroom this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a much needed boost to our little DIY hearts!

    http://houseofbennetts.com/2014/06/10/one-kings-lane/

    And one more! for good measure.

  25. BeccaS says:

    I did not know this! Now I have an excuse to paint another room ;)

  26. Kimberly says:

    That is a great trick! I seriously can’t believe I didn’t know this before.

  27. I had no idea! Thanks so much for sharing this tip, wish I’d known about this last year when we painted nearly every room in our house… :)

  28. I’m not much of a tape fan or user myself either (thank you Shur-Line edger!) but when I have to use it next, Frog Tape all the way now for sure! I was in SW on Monday when another customer was asking the employee suggestions on the best tape, and although I was yelling “Frog Tape! Frog Tape!!!” mentally to him from afar, he suggested the blue 3M unfortunately. I decided to keep my mouth shut and spare the poor lady a barrage of tape tips so as not to make a scene, but I wish I would have now :/

  29. Cami says:

    Mind blown

  30. Meagan Briggs says:

    WHOA! The difference is amazing!

  31. where was this post years ago?!?! hahaha! Thank you!

  32. Gillian says:

    Life changing!!!! Thank you!

  33. You know what makes me SO. MAD. about frog tape? I’ve heard this rumor before and NOWHERE on the packaging does it say that! Glad you found the trick, though!

    • Julia says:

      I know!!! God bless the Sherwin Williams lady.

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for the tip!

    • GodzillaGTR says:

      DONT FOLLOW THIS POST IF YOU DONT WANT YOUR PROJECT RUINED?

      I’m painting a barn quilt for my dining room wall and I used the advice from this post. The tape started peeling up as soon as it was dry after I used a damp rag on it, then I couldn’t get a fresh strip of tape to re-stick. The activated gel shit stayed on the wood I was painting and i had to rub it with another damp rag to remove the gel residue, which actually rubbed the white base coat off. Don’t listen to this advice!! Just use your fingernail to seal the edge, wish I wouldn’t have seen this post. 2 days of work ruined!

      • Julia says:

        So sorry that happened to you! We do it this way EVERY time and have never had that kind of experience. So sorry what sounds like a beautiful project got messed up.

      • JoAnne Baty says:

        I use this technique on all my barn quilts with no problems. I use MDO plywood with 3 -5 coats of paint. I remove the paint as soon as I finish the last coat.

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