DIY Disappointment

I have been frantically painting the living/dining room. It’s an L-shaped room and I wanted to finish one arm of the L so we could put the dining room together.

I’m not a patient person, and preparation is usually my downfall. This is why I failed at sewing. I couldn’t take the time to measure properly, I just wanted to start sewing – no wonder nothing ever fit. Even with knitting I rarely do a test swatch, unless it’s a huge project. So with this painting job, the first I have ever done btw, I knew it could be the difference between looking professional and stylish, or like a bunch of half-drunk college kids tried to spruce up their dorm.

I took the time to tape. I really did. I even took the faceplates off the outlets and light switches. Okay, it took a few painted electrical plugs before I decided to tape them over as well, but for the most part I did the job. I was so thrilled when I discovered that there were slight gaps between the crown molding and the wall; ditto for the baseboards. I thought I was so clever sliding the tape between the cracks and folding it outwards, essentially wrapping the edges. There was no way I couldn’t get a clean line now, I thought, as the paint would be able to get just behind the edges.

With the worst part done, I happily painted away. I applied two coats of primer over the cornflower blue walls, then two coats of paint (Benjamin Moore “Straw”). I was very happy with the colour, a warm rich creamy yellow with just a hint of orange-ish glow. I stayed up late two nights in a row to finish the job, realizing that painting with little helpers around was going to take twice as long.

This morning was to be my reward: I was going to peel off the tape and behold the fruits of my labour. But when I got up, plugged the kettle in, and started peeling…I was horrified. The edges looked like crap. I mean really bad. And I’m not exactly sure why, though I have a few guesses.

Because I’d taken the time to tape so thoroughly, I painted my edges and corners with abandon. I think I basically applied way too much paint with the brush, creating a wallpaper-like “fabric” that too easily peeled away from the wall. Because this “fabric” covered half-wall and half-tape, when the tape was pulled off it pulled off some of the paint layer from the edge. Either that or the tape came off, leaving a “flap” of paint that hung out from the edge. Of course, this didn’t occur uniformly. And since the original colour was bright blue, you could see it peeking through in spots. To top it off, I couldn’t get the tape that was behind the edging out, and had to use an Exacto knife to pry it out.

I was crushed. I’m so tired, and there are so many things to do to turn this house into a home. I feel ripped off because I read the “how to” blurb at the Benjamin Moore website and all they say is to tape anything you don’t want painted. They don’t tell you that there is actually a wrong way to tape (or perhaps a wrong way to paint over taped edges).

DH tried to placate me by saying that we can just removed the baseboards and crown molding, finish the edges nicely, and then put the trim back (those need to be painted anyways). Perhaps this will work, though I’m dubious about how well I can match a new coat of paint to the thick and ragged edges that exist right now (and will I have to prime them too?). But it also means a lot more work, and the list is miles long already. I swear I’m going to have to hire a babysitter just to finish this job (and there are several more walls to go!). At least it will be cheaper than hiring professional painters (don’t think I haven’t been tempted, but this move has cost us a lot of money and we just can’t keep spending).

If anyone has any painting tips I’d love to hear them.

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2 thoughts on “DIY Disappointment

  1. Melissa

    What kind of tape did you use? The best is the wide blue painters tape, which removes very easily. You may be right about putting too much paint on top of your tape. I am getting ready to paint a basement family room (no windows) in Benjamin Moore straw and would love to see a picture. Did you use an eggshell or pearl finish?

  2. Midlife Traveller

    I used wide green painter’s tape. And it was the good stuff (I know this because I later bought some cheaper stuff and it didn’t come off very well). I learned from a friend that the key is to remove the tape while the paint is still wet. I did this on subsequent jobs and it worked perfectly. I don’t know that pictures would help since colour can vary so much on screen. I used eggshell and I can tell you that two months later I am still totally in love with this colour. Even in a dreary, grey, wet winter our home has a lovely warmth to it.

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