Thursday, February 24, 2011

Earn my stripes

By far the most time consuming painting project I have completed to-date is painting stripes in our guest bedroom. I know there are many tutorials on the web, but I thought I'd add mine in for others with a not-so-steady hand.

I hadn't really ever painted walls before so this was definitely an experiment for me. I wasn't sure how it would turn out and I'm really pleased with the results.

The ceiling is white (same as the molding). I need some serious picture-taking help!
I chose to do uniform stripes, using the same color paint (Valspar's Coconut Milk) but different finishes, flat and semi-gloss. Its subtle but looks really nice and adds some visual interest to the walls without art. 

I apologize in advance if I over-explain things. When I'm looking for tutorials I really want someone to walk me through it so I tried to do that.

So without further ado, here is my tutorial for painting stripes. Sorry, I don't have pictures of each step because I did this before I started blogging.

- Paint (different colors or finishes or whatever you decide for your stripes!)
- Frog tape (It works great and is worth the little extra dough compared to other painters tape. Especially if you're like me and have trouble coloring in the lines)
- Ruler or tape measure
- Pencil
- Laser level (nothing fancy. I got this black and decker one from Home Depot for under $15. Its also great for hanging pictures)
-Roller and tray (or a paint brush if your stripes are small - I use Purdy)
-Paint brush (doesn't have to be a good one for this purpose)

1. Paint your walls like usual with the color you will use the most. If you're using different finishes, use the flattest finish for your base color.

2. Let this dry and cure (time needed will be on the paint can) before you move on to the stripes.

3. Once your base color is dry and cured, your first step is to tape off the stripes. You can have vertical or horizontal, random or uniform.

I used 9 inch uniform stripes. My reason for this was that the roller was about 10 inches so I could use it to go up and down without going outside of the lines (my hand and my brain sometimes don't communicate well). But do whatever works best in your room!

Start in the corner of the room that is least visible (so if you end up with a stripe that's not the right width it won't be noticed). Use the ruler to measure how wide you want your stripe and mark this with a pencil on the bottom of the wall, just above the trim. Then, put your laser level at the bottom of the wall on your pencil mark (if you use the black and decker one it has a little pin. I actually stick this into the wall). Get eye level (ie. lay on the ground) and make sure your line is level, then begin at the top of the wall and tape down the laser line.

If you put the pin in the wall, put it on the side of the tape that will be painted. This will allow you to fill the hole without having to touch up your base color. The picture below attempts to illustrate this idea:
 Also make sure you account for the wall space that is under the tape, so you don't end up with the wrong sized stripes. See how the stripes in the picture above don't look uniform? When the tape is peeled off they will be evenly spaced.

4. When you're finished taping, give yourself a high five. That's the most time consuming part! 

5. If needed, use spackle to quickly plug the holes from the laser level. This shouldn't take long, maybe 5 minutes.

5. Now, use a paint brush to very lightly paint your base color over the edges of the tape that will soon be painted with your top color. You don't have to use a lot of paint or do this nicely, just be sure to cover the tape edge. This is done so if there are any gaps between the tape and the wall (particularly important with textured walls), the base color seeps through. This step may seem unnecessary but it helps get a really crisp line and will save you from having to do touch ups later.

6. Let the paint from step 5 dry (not long, maybe an hour).

7. Now your wall is completely prepped and you're ready to paint your stripes!

8. When you're finished painting your stripes over your base color, be sure to peel the frog tape off before the paint dries, to prevent peeling.

I would stand on the top of a chair and start from the top of the wall and peel the tape off gathering it with me along the way. I had fears of dropping the long strips of tape into my freshly painted stripes. Shook me to the core after all that taping work :)

Note: If you don't have a lot of time, tape and paint one wall at a time. If you wait too long between taping and painting, the tape peels away and you have to re-do it in order to get clean lines.

So that's it, I think I've covered everything! Please leave a comment if you have any questions!

I've got a lot of work to do in the guest room, including organizing our wedding gifts that are all over the floor. But once its in a presentable state, I'll show you the whole room in all its striped glory!

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  1. Holy smokes!!! The stripes look awesome!!!

  2. What a great tutorial. Thank you for sharing. I'm your newest follower. I would love it if you linked your project up to my link party.
    More The Merrier Monday.

  3. What a pretty stripe combo :)

  4. I just came across your blog through the DIY Showoff - I like your stripes - my current project is stripes in my half bathroom; I've been posting about it on my blog. Thanks for your tutorial! I'm also your newest follower :) Hope you will stop by my blog sometime!


  5. Hi - thanks for the tutorial. I didn't even think of using the same color but with different finishes. Great idea!

  6. Crazy question for you.. was this done to a house in Lubbock, TX?


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