How To Paint Along Wallpaper Borders

The use of painter's masking tape makes it easy to paint around a wallpaper border.

In an ideal situation, a wallpaper border is applied on top of an existing paint job. If this is not possible, there is an effective way to paint a wall that already has a border applied to it. It takes some preparation and careful work to get the job done.

The best way to protect a wallpaper border while painting the surrounding wall is to apply painter's masking tape to the border. There are various types of painter's masking tapes for different painting situations, and conditions. Paint with small, careful strokes, and use a smaller brush to decrease the chances painting past the masking tape and onto the border. Aside from applying the tape accurately, this is the most important thing to keep in mind.

To start this painting project, you will want to obtain a wide roll of painter's masking tape. 2 inches is a good size. Make sure to use painter's masking tape, specifically. Painter's tape has the best design for projects such as this, as it is made to protect, and to seal. Buy a high-quality brand of tape. Ask a sales associate to suggest the best and most popular masking tapes. If a roll of tape looks old, find another roll. Some tapes either lose their tackiness or, or become too tacky over time.



The main goal here is to protect the wallpaper border, while applying an accurate and precise line of paint, with no gaps between the paint and the border. If your wallpaper is very delicate, or if you are not sure whether it is or not, your best bet is to go with an easy release tape. This tape is designed to protect delicate surfaces with a minimal amount of tack. If your wallpaper border is more sturdy -- for example, a border made of thin plastic, as opposed to a paper border -- you may want to go with a basic painter's masking tape.

Some tapes will become harder to remove the longer you leave them on. Masking tapes may also harden when applied and left in direct light. If you will be working slowly -- over the course of say, a few days -- or if the spot you are working on lies within the direct sunlight of a window, invest in a roll of extended use tape. Extended use tape is usually blue in color.

When the border is located above your head or near the ceiling, use a ladder or stool to get a good eye-level view of it. Work in good lighting. This will help you to apply the tape as precisely as possible.

Start by attaching the tape to the border so that the edge of the tape is completely flush with the bottom of the border. Apply it slowly, moving across the border vertically, and checking to make sure that the tape is applied across the bottom of the border, ending precisely at it's bottom. Hold the tape parallel to the line of the border as you dispense it. This will help to keep the masking tape straight.

Next, comes the application of the paint to the wall. Use a small brush to apply the paint where the wall meets the wallpaper border. A small, but wide brush, with short bristles will give you more precision. Still, remember that it is easy to over-paint during the process, so be extra careful when approaching the line where the wall meets the border and masking tape.

A paint edger is a wide straightedge that is normally placed against a door or a window. It is used to prevent paint from getting on door jams, and window sills. It is not recommended that you use a paint edger during the course of this painting project, and here's why: a paint edger is held with one hand while you paint with the other, and it's easy to let your hand slip, possibly ruining the wallpaper border. Also, the straight edge may damage or tear the border.

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