How to paint a straight ceiling line
I remember about 14 years ago when I was painting the first lines in some of Chicago's homes my hand was shaking and the lines were wavy. I was wondering why it was so difficult to do something so simple? The first idea that came to mind was how to be calm and I've found a way- I started to pray and it helped me at some point, because it balanced my mental state. These first steps I would compare with an artist going on stage. You are going to give performance and after that you are not able to take it back if you do something wrong. Drawing the line on the wall especially with the dark color does not have way back- you have one shot and you need to make it as good as possible. Of course you can paint the ceiling edge with the ceiling paint and try it again, but sometimes you only paint walls and you don't have ceiling paint for touch up.
Over time it changed, because I've gained some experience and understanding of what things are important in the process of painting a straight ceiling line. I will list several important things in this process:
1. What concept is the most important in painting the line: sturdy hand, ability to focus your sight to the edge of the ceiling, understanding how the line should lay in that edge to have the best look (because sometimes you have not so straight edges) or having a good quality brush for that purpose. By my understanding all these things are important, but I would put them in this order:
1) A good brush is the most important thing here; you have to have a good tool to do a good job. It could be individual thing- if somebody likes one specific brush for painting the lines, that doesn't mean it is good for everybody. But I would recommend two brushes that I am using for that purpose today. When I started painting I usually used Purdy brushes, but later the bristles got too soft for me and I started looking for more firm brushes. A couple of years ago I found the Benjamin Moore Extra-Firm Nylon & Polyester 2 1/2" brush, and it works well for me.
And for my big surprise two weeks ago I unexpectedly found an even better brush and I am "in love" today. This is the Wooster PRO, 100% Nylon 2 1/2" brush. You can find it at a Home Depot store.
2) Second most important thing is the ability to focus your sight to the edge of the ceiling. I would compare it with the process of driving a car. We don't look at small details on the road (stones, curbs, bumps, etc.) when we're driving a car, we just follow our intuition and look in front of us with abstract sight, our goal is to drive straight and go smoothly through all the obstacles along the way. When you paint the line you should see the whole picture (do not concentrate to the small details of the edge), and try to imagine the straight line in front of you.
3) A sturdy hand comes with experience, but it is not always the rule. I have seen nice lines at clients' homes that they did by themselves. Maybe some people are just more focused and calm than others.
2. Existing paint on the wall is important in the line painting process. The brush will move with more difficulty on cheap flat paint finish surfaces, sprayed years ago. It will go smoother and easier on washable paint, like egg-shell or satin finish. When we paint the first coat, the line isn't ideal, but that's okay. When we do the second coat we can straighten the first coat and get desirable results.
So when you have good result from a closer distance, it looks even better looking from farther away J
3. Dip the brush into the cut bucket (can) and clean one side. I usually clean just one side of the brush after dipping it in to a cut bucket (can). I leave more paint on the side that is going into the edge.
4.Washing the brush. I got good advice from my friend about washing and leaving the paint brush wet. After the brush is dry it keeps its good shape- the bristles are not dis-shaped
So this is it for this time. I wish you straight lines in your painting projects. By the way I always think, that main rule in the painting process is to have straight lines everywhere if it is possible; the room has a better appeal. Sometimes for people it is hard to tell why the room looks more appealing. I think these "invisible" things we spend preparing to do a higher quality job makes this appealing look.
What do you think? Your comments are always welcome.