Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Retrospective DIY: Painting Perfect Wall Stripes

I've got a couple of projects that I completed around our home before this little blog was up and running, that I feel are worthy of sharing. So I've decided to do a Retrospective DIY series to get you up to speed - don't want you missing out on any of the juicy details!

The first project on the list is the striped wall I painted in Miss M's nursery before her arrival some months ago. If you've visited Coventry Lane Design before you will have seen the wall in the Cheat's DIY Cot Skirt and Swinging Bird Mobile posts. But what I wanted to do was pass on the little tricks I learnt after researching the heck out of the different methods to paint super straight, non-bleedy lines. This was one of those projects that I didn't really know was going to work until the tape was being peeled off the walls and I must say, in person these lines are super crisp. It's a technique I will definitely use for all my straight line painting in the future.


Base paint (only need a small amount)
Contrasting paint (for the stripes)
Painters tape
Tape measure
Paint brush and small foam roller


So firstly, decide if you are going to use the existing paint colour on your walls for the base. If not, its time to get painting. Make sure you let your base paint dry thoroughly before you attempt painting the contrasting stripes. I was more than happy with our base colour and because I didn't want the stripes to be too "in-your-face", I decided to make them white to match the trim in the room.

Measure the height of your wall between the skirting board and cornice. Ours measured in at 2.55m. It looks best to have an odd number of stripes, so I decided on nine because I wanted them to be fairly thick. Divide your wall height into nine and there you have your stripe thickness. To make things a little bit easier, if you want to be able to measure to the nearest cm, it wont be noticeable if your bottom stripe is a little different to the others (8 x 28cm and 1 x 31cm).

I decided to start at the top with my base colour stripe to break up the white of the ceiling. Then simply measured down 28cm at four or five different points across the width of wall, marking with a pencil. Repeat this process for each of your stripes.
Next attach the painters tape at the corner of the wall, just above the pencil mark for your first stripe. Then pull your tape across the length of the wall to the other wall corner - but don't stick it down. If you pull it nice and tight from your start to your end point you will create a straight line. You can then go back over your tape, really sticking down, and making sure it sits just above all of your pencil marks. I cant stress enough how important it is to use good quality painters tape. Trust me, pay a little bit more and it makes a difference! Stand back, have a look at the line and double check it with a spirit level to make sure its straight.

Repeat this process with all of your lines. Then also tape down vertically in the two corners of your wall so that you don't accidentally paint onto the adjoining walls. The wall taping is the most time consuming (aka boring) bit. But by concentrating on getting the tape stuck down properly, and your lines nice and straight, it will pay off big time when it comes to introducing paint. I find it helps to put on your favourite music and turn it up loud cos you'll need some distraction from all the measuring and sticking!

Go ahead and mark on the wall which stripes you will be painting with the accent colour. This sounds like a ridiculous step, but it cant hurt to be double sure that you are painting in between the right lines! Oh, and don't worry about all the pencil marks your making. If you've taped correctly they will all be covered with your contrasting paint.

Now, get out your base paint and using a small brush, paint over the tape where your contrasting stripe will be. You are probably thinking at this point that I'm going mad, but by painting the base colour over the tape line you are sealing it. It also means that if, heaven-forbid, there is some colour seepage, it will only be of the base colour and will therefore be undetectable.

Let your base paint dry for an hour or so, then get cracking with your contrast colour. I rolled mine on because I didn't want any brush strokes on the walls. I did two coats, peeling off the tape when the paint was still wet. If you leave the tape until the paint is completely dry, you run the risk of some chipping off when you pull the tape. I was doing little happy dances when I peeled the tape back, it was like Christmas - super crisp lines with zero bleed.

I know painting stripes on walls is no new trend, but I love the way it adds interest to Miss M's nursery without being overwhelming. This room is getting very close to being finished and I can't wait to give you the full room tour!

Have you ever had a go at painting stripes on walls - were they a success?

Linking to:
The Blackberry Vine
Coastal Charm


  1. Jo,
    Thanks for sharing these tips at my party last week...you will be featured at this weeks party.


    1. Hi Linda - that's fantastic news. Thanks so much for the feature!

  2. Thanks for the tips and how-to! We've been looking at doing our sons room for a couple months now and this was the perfect guide. Hopefully when we're finished it looks as good as in these pictures.

    Thanks again,

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