After seeing my friend Dusty’s striped half bath and the stripes that my friend Allison painted in her foyer, then all of us painting stripes on the wall in Natalie’s nursery and THEN drooling over all the beautiful striped walls that I’ve pinned lately, I decided that I needed some stripes, too. So, without further ado, lemme show you my new striped office walls! Gah, I’m such a follower.
This whole project took me about three hours to complete with the help of my tall husband. It was so easy I wished I had followed done it sooner.
But when it comes to blogging about my stripes, I won’t tell you exactly how to do it. There are tons of tutorials on how to paint stripes, and it’s pretty much all common sense anyway. What I want to do instead is tell you all my lazy shortcuts to get the job done as fast as possible! That way you can get onto more important things in life, like finishing off your Valentine’s candy while blogging about your new striped walls!
So, here are my best tips on how to make things fast and easy when painting stripes on the wall. I think most of these tips would apply if you were painting chevron stripes on the wall, too.
1. Use whatcha got. In more ways than one. If you happen to have a bunch of extra paint samples lying around in your basement like me, then use them instead of buying more paint. This saves you a trip to the store, not to mention the cost factor. And, you know, the time it takes to get out of your pajamas to go out in public. As I’ve mentioned before, I have oodles of paint samples in my house.
For my white stripes I poured a bunch of the leftover white-ish paint from my living room fiasco into a Tupperware bowl…
…and danced around the room shaking it for a minute or so until it was all mixed together. Sure I had to wash the bowl later, but that was easier than putting on real pants and going to the store for new paint. It’s all about convenience here, people.
If you do this, just be sure to mix enough paint to cover all of your stripes (plus touch-ups!) because you will NEVER get that paint color to match again.
Also, use your existing paint color as the base layer of paint. Unless it’s something really hideous, you can probably find a complementary color to go with your existing paint. The stripes are going to change the entire look of the wall anyway. Now, if you have plenty of time and you hate your current paint, then you might want to repaint the whole wall and then paint stripes on top. But if you have a good base paint color that isn’t too scuffed, use it and don’t waste precious time painting everything twice. The only drawback to this method is when you don’t have a can of your original paint. The previous owners painted my room so I have no extra paint for touchups. I solved that problem by wiping up any smudges immediately before they dried. Keep a wet paper towel nearby to swipe off the paint that might creep over the tape edge. Or use thicker tape and don’t get sloppy. For this project I used ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, but a lot of folks prefer Frogtape, which is a little more expensive. It’s your call. Just use a good painter’s tape.
2. Remember lucky number seven. And other odd numbers. Here’s what I found in all my stripe painting experience–aim to have an odd number of horizontal stripes on your wall. To decide the width of your stripes, measure the total height of the wall from the ceiling to the base molding and divide by seven. If you want thicker stripes, divide by five. If you want skinny stripes divide by nine or more. Here is why: If you follow my advice in rule #1, then you can leave your existing paint color at the top and the bottom of the wall, and just paint the center stripes without ever touching the majority of your trim! Besides, groupings of odd numbers are always good design.
If you are a Captain Shakyhand like me, this tip is the biggest time saver of them all. The less cutting-in you have to do, the better. This is all the initial pre-painting that I did because of the way my lines fell on the wall. Seriously. It was a breeze. Notice how I started painting over the edges of the tape with the brush but then I was all “This is gonna take forever. Why am I wasting time on this? Just get to rolling, woman!”
3. Use tape for your hash and reminder marks. Not a pencil. Trust me. A big piece of blue tape is much easier to see than a tiny pencil mark when you are trying to line up levels. When we painted Nat’s room we didn’t do this and wound up having my friend’s Aly and Dusty stand there pointing at the wall forever while I got the laser lined up just right. This time I used tape. It’s not as sexy as Aly and Dusty, but it’s much easier than a pencil mark. Just remember if you used the top or the bottom of the piece of tape for your measurement and stay consistent. To keep track of which stripe won’t get painted, stick a few pieces of tape inside it as reminder markers. This was something we learned on Nat’s wall as well. It helps not confusing which stripe is to be painted and which is to stay the existing color. Also, remember that you want the stripes that will get painted to be full width so put the tape inside the stripes that will not get painted.
4. Measure from the top down. When you are putting your tape hash marks on the wall for your stripes, always measure from the ceiling down. Put the metal end of the tape measure at the ceiling and bend the tape as you go down the wall, holding it in place with one hand and pulling more tape out with the other. This accomplishes two things. First, you can actually read the number on the tape accurately since it’s not up at the ceiling. Duh.
Secondly, if you measure your stripe increments from the ceiling down you can leave any “leftover” millimeters or inches down at the bottom of the wall and have a slightly thicker base stripe. Why waste time bothering with all the math to get each stripe exactly right down to the eight of an inch when you can just round off all the excess to the bottom stripe? Save all that brain power for your next game of Words With Friends and make it easy on yourself.
Nobody will notice that the stripes aren’t all the same width. Especially if you’re putting furniture in front of the bottom part of the all anyway. It probably goes without saying, but you do need to consider your moldings. If you have crown molding (I didn’t in this room) measure from the bottom of the molding to the top of the base trim. That way you don’t have one skinny stripe at the top and one fat stripe at the bottom.
5. Invest in good masking tape (and a few other optional items). You want to use tape that sticks to the wall really well so your colors don’t bleed together too much and get all wiggly on the edges. You don’t want tape that will leave sticky goo on your walls or rip the sheetrock off in the removal process. I like the blue painters tape from 3M, and I’ve used Frogtape with success, as well. There is a reason it’s called “painter’s tape”. Make life easier and use it.
Another thing that makes painting stripes easier? A laser level. On a tripod.
I know these two items are not just lying around everyone’s garage, but if you have them, use them. Once you learn that the laser level has screws for “precision adjustments” it’s much faster to tape along the laser line than using a hand held level on the wall.
I didn’t realize there were “precision adjustments screws” on the laser when we painted Nat’s walls so I wasted a lot of time trying to move the tripod up and down to get it just right. This time around I just gave each screw a little twist and matched it up to the hash mark and we were good to go. If you have a husband, use him too. Or a friend. Having a helper will make things go MUCH faster. With another person holding the roll of tape both your hands will be free to pull the tape taut and smooth it out straighter. Or, just stand back and take photos while the other person does it all for you and your cute kid entertains you in the middle of the room.
6. Don’t watch paint dry. Get the tape off while the paint is still wet so your tape doesn’t get glued to the wall. That could add a lot of headache to this process. At the same time, don’t remove your tape too soon and realize that you missed a spot that needed a touch up. As soon as the second coat went on and I was sure the whole stripe was 100% covered I removed the tape. Don’t dilly dally and let your tape get too stuck or you might regret it.
7. Stay subtle. Even with good tape, bleed-through squiggle is bound to happen. Stark contrasting paints show every little screw up. Colors that are just a few shades from your base color are more forgiving. The mistakes are still there, you just won’t notice them as much. If you want to save time, it’s better to go with two colors that are close on the spectrum to each other just so you don’t have to go back and touchup.
8. Lower your expectations. To elaborate further on that last tip… don’t expect perfection. Your walls are probably not perfectly straight or even, so don’t stress out too much about getting your tape PERFECTLY LEVEL. If you fudge a quarter of an inch or so in either direction nobody will ever notice. I discovered that my wall had two big humps in it that made the tape look really wonky from the side angle. Check it:
But once it was painted, it looked just fine. You’d never be able to tell that my crooked wall was so hump-back, hump-back. See?
That’s close enough to perfect for me. Don’t sweat the small stuff and all that.
And finally, the last tip I have for making things faster when painting stripes: Use disposable paint trays and cheap rollers. If you don’t mind sparing a few bucks, toss them in the trash after you’re finished. Life is too short to spend it scrubbing paint out of used rollers.
So there you go!
Those are my tips for getting your striped walls painted as quickly as possible without sacrificing any of the prettiness factor. And speaking of pretty, I’ll end this diy tutorial with a picture of my pretty light switch cover. I bought it years ago, but I love how it matches the paint in this room so well.
I have big plans for the room now that it’s got some flair. Stay tuned for lots more DIY projects to come inside this space, plus some cool funky frames that rival the Organic Bloom but cheaper!
Good luck with your stripes! I hope I’ve saved you a little bit of hassle if you decide to become a stripe follower too. If you’ve painted stripes before, what tips would you recommend for making the process go smoother?
To see the FULL REVEAL of my craft room, click here!
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marty (A Stroll Thru Life) says
Super post, love your stripes. Hugs, Marty
Mandy @ This Girl's Life says
It looks great Beth! And those are great time saving tips too!
Beautiful!! Can’t wait until we are back in our home…and out of base housing. LOL!! Stripes are awesome! I adore your house, your decorating, your blog. I keep telling my husband that once we get our home sold, and retire from the Army that we need to hire you!! 🙂
Diana @ AnyoneCanDecorate says
I just found you via Shannon at Fox Hollow Cottage who pinned this post 🙂 Great tips! I too have been loving striped walls but have yet to try it. I just followed you via Linky Followers… Please come check out my blog and follow if you like! Blessings,
Diana – Anyone Can Decorate
What company did you get the rival frame from?
Fox Hollow Cottage says
Pinned it 😉 Love the tips. Looks great. I have similar colors in my bath, but vertical. Can’t wait to see what else you do.
Great instructions and pictures. I think what has been holding me back from painting stripes is having to be so precise. But after reading your post and seeing your great results, I think it is time for me to just do it!
THANK YOU! I really want stripes but the hubby isn’t so sure. Now I can tell him how easy it is!
I’m your newest follower….I’m off to check out the rest of your blog!!!
Beth @ UnskinnyBoppy says
Thanks everyone, so much, for your sweet compliments! I appreciate them all so much!
@Sarah- I ordered that frame through a Jody Lynn Photography, but I have ordered a whole bunch of other (and cheaper!) frames from a website called Cut It Out. I should be getting my shipment tomorrow so let the games begin! Can’t wait!
Oh, I love the paint job. I can’t wait to see how you decorate the room.
Amy Renea says
You rock my socks….I so don’t have the patience to make good striping…yours looks FABulous!!!
Andrea @ Decorating Cents says
I’m loving the stripes. They totally changed the room.
I love the stripes and your tips are great! I’m dying to check out some of your other links, and I’m your newest follower. Found you through Home Stories A to Z. Have a great day!
That looks awesome! Great tutorial too.
Rachel @ Grasping for Objectivity says
I love your stripes!! Do you want a wall or four of mine to show more of your fabulous handiwork on?? 😀 Pretty please???
Brian, Michelle, Teagan and Isla says
Wow! Great tutorial and I need alllllll the painting help I can get, just ask my husband! Love your blog and am a new follower.
Hope you can join my Destination: Inspiration linky party with this and other projects at
Great tips! I’ve painted stripes in a few rooms and always tell people to use Frog Tape. It is AMAZING- literally NO bleeding under the tape, even if you don’t remove it until the paint is dry. It is seriously life-changing stuff!!
Our Pinteresting Family says
Looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing such helpful tips!! ~ Megan your newest follower 🙂
How to Nest for Less says
WOW! Looks fabulous girl 🙂 Thanks for linking up this week 🙂 I’m featuring you tomorrow!
Great post!! Another great idea to avoid bleeding is to rub a thin layer of caulking around the edges of the tape. My sis did black and white stripes(scary for potential bleeding!), but by using caulking it looked perfect!!
Love it and thanks for all the tips … I only put on stripe on a wall in boys room years ago and it turned out great …. done really what you did here.
Thanks for the tips! I want to do this in my craft room (because I too am a follower!) Any tips if you don’t have a laser level?
I’m thinking of using a string.
Shelly @A Creative Space says
Wow, loved your tutorial! Perfect solution to add the bottom at 15″ -clever! Laser on a tripod? Awesome. Your wall looks fantastic. 🙂
It looks great. A tip for those stripes that are a little darker..my friend taught me this one. Paint the tape the color of your wall and then paint your stripe. I had almost no bleed through.
Beth @ UnskinnyBoppy says
Thank you so much for all your compliments, comments and tips!
@Kim- you could try a chalk line and then tape over that. Or, measure from your ceiling down in increments of 3 feet or so and line your tape up along those. A level might work, too! 🙂
Hi Beth! LOVE your striped walls and how they turned out. GREAT tutorial. I did a post on Painting Tips (how to get the perfect edge – http://projectqueen.org/category/its-all-about-paint/perfect-edges-everytime)and I used paintable caulking and it works great! My only thought is, I bet it would work on stripes too… now I’M going to have to paint stripes!!!
I’m a new Linky Follower! I also have a party going on at Project Queen if you’d like to share something. Can’t wait to see how your striped room turns out!
MJ @ 517 Creations says
Love this! I have plans to paint stripes on a wall in our entry…I’m so glad you shared your tips about measuring and leaving the “extra” space at the bottom. 🙂
Deanna @ TheChangingHouse says
I am just curious about something and would love your opinion. When would you choose horizontal stripes over vertical stripes? I would like to add some horizontal stripes, but I’m told vertical would be better in my space. Why did you choose horizontals?
Great job, my daughter and I are going to do bedrooms with stripes, I am using a light color then using glaze as a stripe, she hasn’t decided yet what colors to do. Thanks for all of your advice, you made it seem easy!
Love your stripes and tude!!
To keep from bleeding under the tape: – paint lightly on the tape line first(with brush… I know it’s more work!)
– then go over it again using as much as you want
wall paint says
Lovely work on wall paint! I’m definitely going to visit the blog frequently.
This is the kind of tudorial I like to read – sensible and realistic. I want to paint stripes so bad but I’ve been such a wimp about it. I had planned to use my leftover tester pots and keep the wall colour underneath I’ve already painted. Theres nothing stopping me really so after this post I think I might actually get off my butt and do it. I might keep my pjs on though, that’s allowed isn’t it 🙂
There is a really simple way to keep paint from bleeding through, even if you are using highly contrasting colors. Just apply some caulk to your finger and run a really thin layer over the edge of the tape. It peels off perfectly straight every time and since it is painted over it can’t be seen at all. I do this even when not painting stripes but just half a wall a different color. People always ask me how I make my paint edges so perfect and that is my secret. It only takes a couple of minutes.
Frog tape is even better than 3M painters tape. Paint won’t bleed under the edges and it comes off without pulling pai t or Sheetrock. It’s expensive, but totally worth it when painting stripes.
I did this in our bedroom on 8′ walls. If you make the top and bottom stripe the white or lighter color, the ceilings look higher and the room looks taller, more like 9′.
LOVE the above tip! I am going to try that with our small bathroom. Thanks Anonymous!
Lucy Designs says
excellent post and tips! thank you
What color/brand was the tan paint?
Inspire Me Heather says
Your wall looks perfect Beth and great tutorial too! I have this linked to my strips project post as well today, thanks for the tips!
Sara Mahoney says
Excellent tips. I cannot wait to get started on this project in our new finished basement. Thank you!
Great tips! I want to paint stripes in my nephew’s room but I’m a little scared…
Glenda Smith says
Great job, Beth! And tutorial… Rather than throw your roller and trays out, I have a professional tip for cleaning them… Grab a clean paint scraper and holding your roller horizontally in the tray by the handle, scrape the roller cover firmly downwards, working around it until you’re back where you started. A roller can hold about a cup of paint, (250 ml). Then using your brush, clean the paint out of the tray back into the paint can. You’ll be surprised how much paint you can recover, and it stops it ending up down the drain. Good for the planet! If it’s sunny, leave the clean tray outside for an hour, or even in a warm room. Then when it’s dry, you can pour your second coat into it. If you leave it overnight, you can then peel the paint out in one big sheet.
Rinse out the roller, leave it soaking in a bucket for a while and rinse again. Gets your rollers back to perfectly clean. Takes a little while but I’ve used the same trays for years, and rollers last for ages. And I think the planet will thank you!
Just wanted to say that I followed your tutorial minus the lazer level. We purchased a 42 inch long level from home depot and just measured it across. The accent wall on my room looks AMAZING! I looked for several tutorials and this by far was the easiest to follow.
LOVE MY WAAAAAALL!
THANKKK YOU 🙂
Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke says
Love this tutorial!!! Contemplating stripes myself…pinning for future;)
Thank you for this! I found it via a google search and you helped so much!! Love the stipes in the new nursery!!
Thanks again, Renae
Will Hull, MPA says
Wow, this is so easy, a caveman can do it. I really like your writing style. Thanks for putting this out there. It’s a great post. My wife and I just bought our first house and we are moving in Mid-November (it’s being built right now). We just might use this post to get one of our rooms up and running and maybe we’ll post our experience on WindyPinwheel(dot)come. Thanks again for posting, it was really a pleasure to read.
I LOVE your blog! It’s little things like this that help DIY painter’s save bucket-loads so thank you! Hopefully I won’t stuff up my wall!