Friday, April 3, 2009

How to Paint a Perfect Circle

If you've taken an art history class, you probably heard about a Dutch guy named Rembrandt who could draw perfect circles, freehand. Sounds like a bit of showboating to us. We here at Chroma Lab have a much easier way to paint perfect circles without investing years of practice, while also avoiding the personal tragedy and eventual financial devastation he endured: just cheat.

You can use tape to paint a perfect circle in a few easy steps. First, use a compass and a pencil to get the right size circle onto your clean, ready-to-paint surface (we're already running laps around you, Rembrandt). Use auto detailing tape, which is a little bit stretchy and flexible, to outline your circle (you can usually get this at paint supply stores, just ask someone who looks awake). Isn't Tony a nice hand model?

Next, use regular painter's tape to cover the areas just outside the circle so the second color doesn't go all over Creation. You'll want to leave a very small amount of the auto detailing tape exposed towards the inside of the circle so you can complete the next step properly. Can you see the sliver of cream colored tape left on the inside of the circle? That's all you need showing.

When it's all taped off, paint a coat of the original color on top of the auto detailing tape to seal it off. You shouldn't be able to see the color of the auto detailing tape once you're done, and it's okay to get some on the blue painter's tape, too; that's what it's there for. Sealing the auto detailing tape with the original color makes sure your second color won't bleed under the tape when it's layered on top. Therein lies the genius of this plan.

Now get your second color all mixed up and ready to apply. For the limeade plant stand, we took the original color and added white and some yellow pigment to get a lighter shade of green:

Once your second color is mixed up and the first coat of the original color is dry, apply one coat of the second color to the circle area. Be sure to once again cover the layers of tape at the edge to seal off the circle. You may want to paint a little slower than the speed of light, which is the speed you see Tony working at here:

Waiting for things to dry is a necessary evil. If you don't wait long enough between coats, you'll get some gnarly streaks and smears in your topcoat, and your paint may pull off and be rubbery. So, on we wait....

After you watch Beverly Hills: 90210 Complete Season 1, it should be dry to the touch and the circle will be ready for its big reveal. Peel off the painter's tape first, then slowly remove the auto detailing tape. Ta-da! A perfect circle with very little consternation. Rembrandt should be so lucky.

If you use our perfect circle technique, show us whatcha got and email pictures to info(at)! The limeade plant stand and other finished pieces are available on our website,


a print a day said...

thanks for commenting in parasol. i'm glad you did because now i know about your awesome blog! i bookmarked it :)

okdan said...

Very cool! The sealing technique is very helpful.

Lucie Wicker Photography said...

Oooo great finished product! Thanks for the tip!

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Sarah said...

This was really helpful. Thank you so much!!