Friday, January 6, 2017

This Old Staircase - A Learning Experience

There are a lot of edges & borders in a set of stairs. A lot of taping, if you are painting them in two or more colors. What, I asked myself, is a more efficient way to handle this?

Do all the taping at once, I answered me. Then paint. Like so:

Oh, I thought I was sooooooo smart! But, yeahno...don't do this.

I taped all of the edges just before knocking off for the day, thinking it would be all ready to go and I could hit the ground running in the morning. It was, and I did. And then....

Turns out there is a right way to use painter's tape, and where there is a right way, there is - you guessed it - a wrong way. The right way is to tape only the area you are immediately going to paint, paint it, and remove the tape, before the paint is even fully dry. Otherwise the painter's tape sticks to the paint or primer underneath and removes some of it when you take it off.
So, wait...what even is the point of painter's tape, again? That's pretty much what regular tape would do. It's quite a hassle to do it the correct way; you have to keep interrupting your flow to tape, and then removing the tape while the paint is wet without smearing it creates a whole new set of challenges.

So, I had to sand and repair the primer, then let that dry, before I could move on to the fun part: the colors!

The second coats are drying now. I settled on a dark chocolate for the tread, and teal for the riser. So far they look good, although the dark steps show every cat hair - and we have plenty of those. Still need to go back with a tiny brush and touch up edges - in old houses, nothing is a straight, clean line, and there are lots of little bumps and divots that challenge the steadiest hand. And actually, mine is not the steadiest hand, but I am pretty good with a brush, due to my profession.

And then comes my favorite part: the grace notes. Little additions - stencils, decoupage, free brush designs - that charm and engage the user. I tend to plan on a light hand with these but sometimes they take on a life of their own. We'll see! Photos when I have them.


  1. thanks for info on painter's tape .. good to know.

    and ... I mentioned about the dark color and "little things" (like cat hair and dust fuzzies) showing up.

    Have fun!