How to prevent paint bleed?

I painted the red accent wall in my office last night, I think it looks great against the gray and it's gonna look even better with a white bookshelf in front of it. I only had one problem.

I peeled some of the tape off this morning so I could get the full effect, and paint bled all under the tape! I'm so annoyed! I've never had this happen before and I'm wondering if it's because I used tape from the end of the roll? Anyone know how to prevent this?

 Edited to add: I got a great tip on how to prevent paint bleeding!

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sparkie on Jan 20, 2007:

Hard for me to see on screen vs in person.  I agree w/ below comments.  I've never had good luck w/ straight edge and brush, I'll try the foam/pounce method.  To fix this, I have had good luck repainting an edge w/ one of those cheap plastic applicator pad...has a roller whell & soft pads.  You can make a new edge in probably the red that slightly overrides/moves the corner.  Practice how you need to hold applicator to see exactly where paint ends and be careful to not get any paint on that darn llittle wheel.  Sometimes the pad will move or fall off while I am using it but overall success.  Maybe there is a beter quality applicator available.

Senseless on Jan 19, 2007:

Hey it's the same colors as my dining room!  hahahaha   great minds vintage

VintageSwank on Jan 19, 2007:

Wow...thast the same colors as our living room

oskar.kurz@gmail.com on Jan 18, 2007:

To avoid paint bleed, espacially when painting stripes, I use the following trick: Paint the tape with the ground colour first and let it dry. Then I paint the top colour. And there it is: The perfect border.

Keter on Jan 17, 2007:

PS:  I like the colors.  I'm jealous of that cedar closet lining!  ;o)

Keter on Jan 17, 2007:

The long "runner" beneath the topmost spot indicates that the paint adjacent (or maybe a little under) the tape hadn't dried thoroughly when you pulled the tape off, and created a "string" of paint that then adhered to the trim.  Using an old or dirty roll of tape means that the edge is dried out and doesn't seal as well no matter how carefully you press it down; so a combination of OOPSes probably happened to you.

To recover, get some GOOF OFF! and use it on a Q-tip to remove the mess. GOOF OFF is a nasty chemical, set up a fan to minimize inhalation and try not to get it on your skin.

What I do, however, is use a long, thin, plastic straightedge that I hold up against the corner, overlapping the trim or ceiling or whatever I don't want to paint, and paint along it using a foam brush (think of it as stenciling and pounce lightly).  Pull the straightedge away from the trim almost parallel to the PAINTED wall to prevent any paint strings getting on the unpainted area and wipe it between uses with a clean paper towel so that no paint is on the edge or back of the straightedge.  Then I paint with a brush to get about 4 inches of "border" and fill in with either a brush or roller.

Home Depot and Lowes both carry the painter's straightedge last time I looked. 

alexrussell on Jan 17, 2007:

Paint bleed happens when you're not careful to press the edge of the tape into a corner, and then leave it on to dry.

The best way to avoid it is to glide your finger firmly against the edge of the tape to create a solid bond. When you're done painting, remove the tape while the paint is wet, pulling it away from the fresh coat so it doesn't smudge.

Good luck!

Cracker on Jan 17, 2007:


Check this out. You can use it along the edge of the tape to prevent bleed. Works great.

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