How to Paint Perfect Lines and Edges With Painters Tape

Straight edge with painter's tape

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It can be challenging and sometimes frustrating to decorate using more than one color on walls or furniture. You can paint perfect lines and edges with painter’s tape, but there are some tricks to making sure your colors don’t bleed under the tape.

Painting Perfect Edges

When the children’s art work began taking over an entire wall in the home office, we decided to make a special spot designed just for our grandchildren’s papers and drawings.  We had a good size section of wall that was not being used for anything special and it was a perfect height for each of our little ones to be able to reach on their own.

Rather than install a large cork board, we decided to try a different approach using 12 inch by 12 inch cork squares.   The wall was recently finished with a neutral color, satin finish paint in good condition.  To break up the monotony of the neutral wall color, we had already painted one wall and a set of sliding closet doors on the opposite wall in a starkly contrasting burnt orange color called “Bear Claw” from Valspar.  To make our cork squares more interesting, we decided to paint a large rectangle on the bare wall in the matching Bear Claw color before attaching the cork board squares.

The challenge was to make a perfect rectangle first. The strong contrast between the neutral wall and the Bear Claw color would mean the edges had to be level and sharp with no bleeding of color.

We had a total of eight, 12 inch squares to hang in two rows.  Allowing for a 1 inch margin all around each square, we calculated we needed a rectangle 53 inches wide and 27 inches high. Using green Frog Tape    from Lowe’s, we taped off the section of the wall where we wanted our Bear Claw color, making sure the tape was level vertically and horizontally.

  • Paint Perfect Lines or Edges
  • Paint Perfect Lines or Edges
  • Paint straight edge with painter's tape
  • Paint Perfect Lines or Edges
  • Paint Perfect Lines or Edges
  • Paint Perfect Lines or Edges
  • Paint Perfect Lines or Edges

How to Paint Perfect Lines or Edges

After making sure the area to be painted is securely taped and leveled, go over the tape edges with a damp rag and then roll over all the edges of the Frog Tape very firmly with a wall paper roller.  The moisture and the additional pressure on the painter’s tape makes a very tight seal to prevent any bleed between the original color and the new color.

When the tape is secure, apply a light coat of the new color, painting over the inside edge of the painter’s tape but not forcing paint into the edge.  Let the first coat dry as recommended on the paint instructions.  Then apply a second coat of the new color.  Immediately after applying the second coat, peel off the painter’s tape.  

Pull the tape down the sides or across the top and bottom.  Do not pull the tape into the direction of the fresh paint.

Allow the paint to dry for a day or more before adhering the cork board tiles.  Allowing an inch at the top and side of the first tile, we leveled and mounted the first row of tiles using the provided double stick tape squares, and then repeated the process for the second row of tiles.  Use a T square ruler to make measuring easy in between the squares and a level to adjust across the top.  With such a strong contrast in colors, anything not measured right or uneven will be very obvious on your finished work.

We found the double stick tape squares provided with the cork board were not strong enough on their own to handle all our little one’s projects so we added a few tack nails to each square just to be sure all was really secure.

Painting perfect edges

Our happy wall filled up very quickly with artistic treasures and everyone who looks at our cork board wall wants to know, “How did you get the line so perfect?”


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