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Friday, November 4, 2011

How I Painted a Perfectly Striped Wall {Tutorial}

Well happy Friday everyone! I can't believe we're in to November already.

I am officially finished with a re-do of my daughter's room (for now!) after adding one more punch this week, and it was one with BIG impact.  I love all of the bright, colorful, fun fabrics that we've used in her room but I thought there was still a little something missing.

I made a lot a changes in her room, but tried to have everything still coordinate with her wall color.  She liked it, it wasn't horrible, and I really didn't want to re-paint in there.  But, it was still looking a little "blah."  

I finally decided that the wall behind her bed needed to make a bigger statement, and there were several ideas floating around in my head that I'd seen on various blogs.  Here are the 3 options I was considering:

Oversized polka dots

Horizontal Stripes

Chevron Pattern

I'm sure you can guess the winner from the title of my post, so yes, the stripes won out!  I really liked the polka dots but her curtains are basically big polka dots, so I thought that would be too repetitive.  I also love the chevron, but didn't want to take the hours and hours I knew it would require to pull that off.  Plus, I've been dying to do a striped wall somewhere!

Just to have a visual of what I was thinking, I did a quick, really bad mock-up of what it might look like:

I showed the sample to Emily and she loved it, so I knew we had a winner!

So, here it is!

Now, if you're a blog addict like me, you probably already know everything I'm about to tell you, so just look at the pretty pictures and move on!  But, I know that several of my readers are friends who may not read a lot of blogs but would like to try their hand at some projects, so this tutorial is for them.

There are no shortages of painting tutorials in the blog world, so this is just a combination of lots of tips I've read over the years and stored away in my brain for a time when I needed them.

1) I taped my corners.  I was very skeptical of this next step, but wanted to try it. (Come to find out, it's crucial!  It's the key to this whole thing!)  After taping, paint over the edge of your tape with your BASE color (the color that's underneath the tape).  Do 2 coats, just to make sure it's good and sealed.  My side walls were staying green so I painted my two coats of green over the inside edge of the tape.
This step accomplishes two things.  If there is any "leakage" under the tape, all that is leaking under is the color that's already there.  Secondly, the paint makes a kind of seal along the edge of the tape, so that any other colors painted on top of that base color are locked out and away from the tape edge.  Hopefully that makes sense.

2) I had already decided that I wanted 7 wide stripes and wanted the top and bottom stripe to be black.  I measured the wall from the bottom of the crown molding to the top of the baseboard.  It was 102", so I just divided by 7 and got 14 1/2" per stripe.  I marked off the rough measurements where I wanted each line on each end of the wall, and then painted the white stripes.  The edges didn't have to be perfect on these, this was just my base and would get clean edges when layering on the black paint.    

3) Per the instructions on the painter's tape, I waited 24 hours to let the white stripes dry.  I knew I'd be taping on top of them and didn't want any of the white paint peeling off when the tape was removed.  When dry I re-marked my measurements where I wanted the stripes.  

4) Next, I used a secret weapon borrowed from my dad...a chalk line.  
If you've never used one, they are a great tool to use for marking a straight line over a large space.  It's like a little tape measure, just with string and chalk inside instead of a measure.  The inside re-chalks the string when the line is wound back into the housing. To use it, someone holds the end of the string and someone else stretches it across the wall, pulling it as taught as possible.

I was home alone when I was ready to mark the lines and couldn't reach my trusty neighbor to come over and lend a hand, so I used a piece of tape for one end and stretched the line out myself. 

Making sure to line up each end with your pencil marks, you "snap" the line against the wall and it leaves a perfectly marked line all the way across.  Popping that string was the most fun part of this whole job!

5)  With the lines marked, I then taped all of the stripes right along the edges of my chalk lines.  I also taped the side trim to the doorway that is on this wall.  

6)  Now, time to seal some more edges.  Before going any further, I sealed the tape down the edge of the door trim with white paint, 2 coats, so none of the black paint would leak onto the trim.  I also did two coats of white along the outside edges of all of the white stripes (where the black stripe would be touching the white), and 2 coats along the baseboard which was also taped off.

7)  Time for your second color! After my tape sealing coats were dry, I cut in with black along the top crown, ends of the black stripes, and baseboard, followed by rolling a coat on the remaining sections.  The black stripes took 2 coats.  

8)  Tip time:  Whenever I'm painting, this is always how my supplies look:
I line my paint tray with a plastic bag before pouring in the paint.  Then, if I'm not using it I slide it inside another plastic bag just to keep it from drying out until I come back to it.  When not in use in between coats, I put my trim brush in a ziploc bag, cover my trim cup with a baggie, and wrap a plastic bag around my roller.  You basically just want to block any air from getting to the paint so everything won't dry out.  I've left these for several days before and they're always ready to go when I come back to them.  It's really nice not to have to rinse everything out until you're finished.  When you're finished with the paint tray, pour the leftover paint back in the can and toss the bag.  No clean-up!

9)  After the final coat, I peeled all of the tape off immediately.  I paused for a minute before doing it, really expecting to see scraggly lines under the tape.   Much to my delight, the lines were PERFECT!!!!, even on my textured walls.  So much better than I ever hoped for.  The lines look totally professional and clean.

The best validation was when Emily got home and saw the finished wall.  She said (yelled) "COOL!...........COOL! COOL! COOL! COOL!"  For a girl who's like her mother and doesn't show a lot of emotion, I think she likes it!

If you're still with me, I'm impressed!  That was a long post with lots of instructions.  I hope it was easy to understand.  All in all, this was a relatively simple and quick project that I think makes a HUGE impact on the room.  Next week I'll show you everything in it's place and the entire room.

** Edited:  See the entire completed room HERE!  

Have a wonderful weekend!  

Would you like to comment?

  1. I patiently read through all of your steps and was so excited to see the finished wall, I was dying to see the room...oh, you aren't making us wait!!

    Have a great weekend! The sripes look perfectly crisp and bold, btw!

  2. Looks amazing! I so want to do stripes somewhere, thanks for the tutorial!

  3. Fan-freaking-tastic!!! Looks phenominal! This is my favorite technique for getting perfect lines too! Awesome job!

  4. You have got some great posts and how tos on here Im so glad I found your blog. I love your bold and fun style and stripes especially I have been obsessing about for so long. I plan to do the powder room when that area is renovated, I think a little room with big impact will look really fun. Great job girly :)

  5. that wall looks great! we just painted horizontal stripes in our girls' nursery and how i wish i would've had a chalk line! it would've cut out so much time! :)

  6. Hi Jennifer- I bragged on your post here and linked to your blog! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  7. You did an Amazing job I was going to do this for our bedroom but after seeing the steps involved to make it look great I'm going to pass, not worth it for an apt wall :( I've already done a Dalmatian one. :(

  8. What a wonderful job !!! Thanks for the tip about painting the tape to stop leaking of one color into another. Your daughter must be soooo happy !!!

  9. Whoa! What an amazing result! It looked like your daughter’s room was painted by a professional! This pattern is one of those that are hard to achieve because it needs precision with the lines. And you did it!

    Mike Noble

  10. Fascinating information I haven’t been experienced such information in
    quite a long time.

  11. Thank you! You are the first place I saw that explained...and stressed the importance...of the tape/base color to prevent bleeding! ty ty ty Great, clear instructions, and love how you were not afraid to go very bold! It's beautiful.

  12. It looks so cool, particularly with all the colourful details!

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