Asked on May 1, 2017

When painting furniture how to get a clean line where 2 colors meet?

Jennifer Weber FergusonJtk1372961ALLYSON DUNCAN


I've been refinishing some small furniture and when I have 2 colors of paint or paint and stain I can't seem to get a nice clean line where the colors meet. I've tried frog tape and blue painters tape but I still don't get a clean line. I'm new to DIY and don't know what I'm doing!
15 answers
  • Lynn Blumenfeld
    Lynn Blumenfeld
    on May 1, 2017

    I was going to suggest blue painters tape but since you have already tried it, I can only think you didn't allow enough time to let the paint dry completely before you removed the tape and repositioned it for the other color.
  • Susan Bechamp
    Susan Bechamp
    on May 1, 2017

    Try the tape again. Be sure it adheres well and paint can't get under it. This time don't apply a thick layer of paint near the edge of the tape. Instead use several thin layers and dry brush them on for about an inch or so going away from the tape. It will likely take several layers built up to equal one layer used on the rest of the item being painted. When painting the rest of the item, don't bring the loaded brush all the way to the tape, stop just short of it.
    Practice on scrap wood with the tape and paint.
  • Goldrushgal
    on May 1, 2017

    After you apply the blue tape use something like an old credit card to thoroughly rub and burnish the edge where the paint line will be making sure the tape leaves no gaps for the paint to leak under. That should help you get a neat line.
  • Ell
    on May 1, 2017

    Use the green frog tape. Works great
  • Melissa
    on May 1, 2017

    Use either blue painter's tape or Frog tape and to ensure that you have it really sealed, going over it with a ruler or credit card would definitely ensure that it adhered completely. You should also make sure to allow the paint to dry thoroughly, like days, before removing.
  • Cheryl
    on May 1, 2017

    When using any tape it's wise to burnish the edge of the tape where you will be painting next . Allow each "stripe" dry overnight or for at least 8 hours before removing the tape. Perhaps you could let us see your completed project ... the picture you included is tantalizing to say the least.
  • MacGIRLver
    on May 1, 2017

    Do all of the above but then paint along the tape the same colour you taped over. Let it dry and then begin painting your new colour. When paint seeps under the edge of the tape it is the same colour as the taped side. it then seals the taped edge so that the new colour can't seep through also.
  • Diana Deiley
    Diana Deiley
    on May 1, 2017

    Frog tape is good, and burnishing it with an old plastic gift card is good, then......lightly 'dry brush' the paint along the edge. Let that dry, then paint. It's when we all apply too much paint against the taped area that seepage sometimes happens. For me, the frog tape comes off easy after a few hours. Best of luck.
    on May 2, 2017

    While the Frog tape or blue painter's tape should work, since you're having some diffiulties, here's a fool-proof solution: go to any craft store and ask for a bottle (a small one will do) of CLEAR MATTE MEDIUM. After you've applied your first color (be it paint or stain) be sure to let that dry thoroughly, then tape off for your second color. NOW - brush a light coat of matte medium along the edge of the tape, let it dry, then apply your second color. The matte medium will seal your tape edge and give you the crisp, clean line you're looking for, I promise! One last thought - if you're combining a two tone combo of paint and stain, you should stain first - once dry, tape off, apply your medium and then do the paint portion. Good Luck!
  • Meggin 'Schlak' Schaaf
    Meggin 'Schlak' Schaaf
    on May 3, 2017

    I painted a striped wall and I think the same technique will work for what you're trying to do.

    Paint your first color and let dry. Next, tape off where you want the next color edge to be. I used blue 3M tape. Then, repaint the color you already painted in a thin layer along the edge of the tape where you want it to meet up with the other color. Doing this first before starting straight into the second color allows any bleed through areas to be filled. Then, after its has enough time to dry so that the two colors don't get mixed up together, paint your second color. At this point, when it's still wet, I would go ahead and peel off the tape carefully. This SHOULD give you a clean line. It did for me and I am not the best at those kinds of projects.
  • Jtk1372961
    on May 5, 2017

    I just finished painting my kitchen cabinets. Tops, white, and bottoms dark blue/green. The cabinets meet side by side along the oven and fridge. The top cabinet sides extend all the way down to the floor. (It must have been an 80's thing, because at first I didn't know how to paint those sides because they extended all the way down..) I finally found one kitchen reno on Pintrist that extended the paint color from the top shelves all the way down. Now the hard part painting a clean, crisp line between the two colors. A painter once showed me the trick. It's what Allyson D. just suggested. I painted the white all the way down, let it dry then taped off the white (I used the frog tape) And then I used satin polycrylic because that's what I had. Rather than painting it on, I just used my finger painting a thin film of poly over the seam. It sealed the seam completely. So after I had painted the dark color and it had dried, I pulled off the tape and I had a beautiful, crisp line between the two contrasting colors! It was the best part of the whole painting job that took me FOREVER to complete!!!
    Sorry for the long explanation. But I just had to tell someone who would care.
    My family just didn't seem as excited as I did.
    I agree with you, painter's tape works only to a point. You have to go the extra step. You just have to know what that step is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brenda Wilcox Loftsgard
    Brenda Wilcox Loftsgard
    on May 5, 2017

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to give me great advice!
    on May 5, 2017

    You are so very welcome Brenda! Good luck with your upcoming project(s) - I hope you'll post your results and share your success (because I know you're going to be successful) when you're done. All the best. Allyson
  • Jtk1372961
    on May 5, 2017

    Good luck. Let me know how it turned out.
  • Jennifer Weber Ferguson
    Jennifer Weber Ferguson
    on Jan 9, 2019

    I have always taped off the area and the seal the tape with the first color or a clear top coat - it will seal the edge and and allow you to paint the contrasting color without bleeding under

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