How to stop "Paint Bleed"

I’m going to show you how to solve this and get laser straight paint lines regardless of the texture of the surface that you’re painting.

There are some expensive tapes out there that do a better job at preventing paint bleed than the basic 3m painters tape: frog tape, snot tape, etc. You can use these and get better results but they are a lot more expensive and can still fail to give you the lines you’re looking for in some circumstances. Personally, I like to use the basic 3m painters tape with my method and still get the perfect lines.

So what’s the method that produces perfect lines with basic painters tape?

The key is to apply a bead of caulk to the edge of the tape before you paint over it.


  1. Apply painters tape

  2. Apply paintable caulk

  3. Wipe away all excess caulk

  4. Paint over the tape

  5. Pull away the tape

Here’s an example of how I applied this method to a striped room:


A few tips to make this go smoothly. Make sure you wipe away as much of the caulk as possible before painting over it. You don’t want to be brushing it around and mixing it in with your paint Make sure you are using a paintable caulk. Some caulks are not paintable and when you brush over them it will repel the paint and your line will be ruined. Make sure you paint over the caulk and pull away the tape before the caulk dries. You don’t want the caulk to dry and bond to the tape. If it dries then it will peel away a bunch of your paint which is worse than paint bleed. Work in small enough sections that you can pull off the tape and wet caulk within 15-30 minutes of applying it. Typically I work 1 wall at a time and I don’t have any issues with this. Happy painting free of paint bleed.

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