Re: messy painting
A bit on brush use and maintenance. While using the brush, don't let paint get all the way up to the ferrel (metal band ) because it will be difficult to clean and as the dried paint builds up it will deform the bristles. Never leave paint in a brush, not even over night. It's quick and easy enough to wash and will prevent dry paint from building up in and on the bristles. After washing leave the bristles a bit wet, reform them to a nice point and hang the brush to dry so that water will drain away from the ferrel and handle.
Dried paint build up is inevitable and it's easily removed by soaking the brush in lacquer thinner. The lacquer thinner will soften and dissolve latex, then carefully use a wire brush to work the paint from the bristles. Follow up by washing in warm soapy water, rinse well, reform bristles and hang to dry. You'll also find that errant bristles will curl or get bent out of shape. These strays can be trimmed with a pair of scissors.
Now on to using masking tape. The problem with using tape is exactly what you've described, paint bleeds under the edge and usually is dried by the time you get the tape off, making clean-up difficult to impossible. You have to be careful of the types of tape you use because if they're too sticky they'll pull the paint from whatever they're stuck to, even painters tape (the blue stuff ) will pull paint if left for several days. Tape should be applied, painting done, and the tape removed as soon as possible. If you absolutely must use tape, then proper technique in painting will minimize bleeding.
- Always draw your brush from the surface of the tape OFF the edge and away. Never draw the brush towards the tape because the edge will act like a knife and sc**** the paint off the brush, forcing it under the edge of the tape.
- Use a relatively dry brush. Great dripping gobs of paint will pool and flow under the tape, a dry brush will minimize the amount of paint available to make a mess.
- In instances such as yours where you're cutting in trim, take the time to press the tape firmly to the wall along the cut-in line. Again, it's imperative that you use a relatively dry brush to minimize bleeding.
- Remove the tape while the paint is still wet. This prevents the paint from drying and sticking to the tape and pulling off, it also allows clean up of any bleeding while the paint is still wet.
If at all possible, I'd recommend using a shield such as a dry wall knife over taping. The shield can be cleaned quickly and easily as it's moved along. The same "dry brush" is used with a shield for the same reasons as is used with tape.
Finally, your problem of dried paint on your stained trim. First, try using mineral spirits (paint thinner ) on a paper towel or white rag (colored rags will impart their color ) and gently rubbing the area. It should soften latex enough to remove it. If that doesn't work, then you might try Goof-Off, but first try it in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't mar the stain/varnish.
The best cure for dried paint splatter is prevention and clean up before the paint has had a chance to dry. This is where improving your cut-in technique and doing away with tape will be of great value.
Hope some of this info is helpful. Good luck with your project and please report back your progress.
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