tig painting

Some of you may wonder at the lack of blue tape in the above picture. Well, that’s precisely what I’m blogging about. Tig and I have decided to go without blue tape. It’s a paint-style choice. For those of you who don’t know, blue tape is used to paint edges. It’s very similar to masking tape, except it is a little less sticky. It’s also six times more expensive than regular masking tape. For most of our limited painting career, we’ve relied on blue tape to get us by. Things started to change when we took a painting class sponsored by the Boston Home Center. The instructor was a proponent of the free-hand cutting in method.

“How do you edge around a baseboard,” I queried, hoping for some secret tip that would make me a phenomenal edger.

“Very carefully,” he replied.

For our front bedroom, I still relied on a lot of blue tape (see pic below).

front br

Tig painted the middle bedroom. Then there was our New Year’s trip to DC, where we painted 6 rooms in four days. The space was very modern and the lines were clean (no trim to speak of), so I felt I could be brave and experiment. Plus, the tape we bought started lifting from the walls pretty quickly. After the first room, I ripped off the useless strips dangling off the walls and decided to go without. It was liberating, really. Here’s what I learned during the process.

  • Just putting on the tape takes up valuable time. You have to make sure the tape is correctly in place and press down on the edge hard enough to seal it off. Paint often seeps underneath the edge anyways. Then you have to worry about joining two strips of tape.
  • People often use blue tape as a crutch to compensate for underdeveloped fine motor skills.  After 6 rooms, I definitely felt more confident.  A lot of it is trial and error.
  • Having the right brush is important. The better the brush, the more control you have.

Of course, we still put down serious floor protection. And I always have a wet rag or wet papertowel handy when I have a spastic moment or a tired slip of the hands.

When I shared my discovery with my colleague, he said proudly that he never uses blue tape to edge. (Hmmmnn, is there a society of freehand interior house painters that I don’t know of?)