How to Paint Stripes on a Wall


Painting stripes on your wall is straightforward enough, but it helps to know a trick that prevents seepage under the masking tape so you end up with crisp, clean edges. Before you start, consider the colors and orientation of the stripes, because both influence the mood and feeling of spaciousness in the room. Vertical stripes tend to make the ceiling recede and give the room more space, while horizontal stripes can close in a room that's too spacious. In most cases it's prudent to limit the number of stripes -- more than three can easily make a room feel too busy.

Things You'll Need

  • Drywall primer
  • Base color paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Roller
  • Tape measure
  • Sharp pencil
  • Straightedge
  • Knife
  • Painter's tape
  • Stripe color paint
  • Plastic garbage bag
  • Rubber gloves
  • Choose a design and color theme. You don't have to confine the stripes to a single wall -- they can be part of a scheme that extends around the room and even into adjoining rooms. Keep other room features -- such as the floor, window treatments and furnishings -- in mind when choosing colors. It's usually best to stick to varying shades of the same color, but you can use different colors to bring a dramatic element into an otherwise featureless space.

  • Prime the wall, if necessary, with drywall primer. Apply two coats of your base color with a brush and roller, and let the paint dry for at least 24 hours.

  • Check that the base paint is completely dry. Extend a tape measure from the ceiling to the floor to plot horizontal stripes or from one corner of a wall to the other to plot vertical ones. Make light pencil marks to mark both ends of each stripe as well as several points in the middle.

  • Extend a straightedge between a pair of marks on the same line and draw a sharp knife or pencil along it to mark the edge of one of the stripes. Move the straight edge to the next mark and continue the line. Keep doing this until you have drawn the complete line. Repeat the procedure for all the stripe lines.

  • Lay low-adhesion painter's masking tape along the outside edges of the stripes. Once it's in position, press down firmly on the edges of the tape that will define the stripes, to prevent paint seepage.

  • Paint over the masking tape with the base color. This is the trick that ensures clean edges. Go ahead and completely cover the tape with paint, then let the paint dry. As it does, it seals the edges of the tape -- none of the stripe color will be able to get under it.

  • Paint each stripe with your chosen color, using a paintbrush for narrow stripes and a roller for wide ones. The paint can overlap the masking tape, but keep it off the wall on the other side of the tape.

  • Gently lift off the masking tape while the stripe color is still wet to ensure you don't peel off part of the stripe when you remove the tape. Keep a plastic garbage bag handy and throw away each piece of tape as soon as you remove it. Remember -- the paint is still wet, so wear rubber gloves and don't let the tape touch anything.

Tips & Warnings

  • You shouldn't have to touch up any of the edges, but if that should be necessary, cover the part of the wall you aren't painting with a straight, thin pice of cardboard.
  • Use only blue or green painter's tape. Tan masking tape will pull the base paint off the wall when you remove it.

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  • Photo Credit mariapogony/iStock/Getty Images
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