Painting Stripes: 8 Expert Tips for Great Results

Want to dress a wall in painted-on stripes? These tips from a pro will keep your design in line.

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  • 8 Tips for Painting Wall Stripes

    When decorative painter Patty Kramer created this wall for Decorating magazine's Fall 2008 issue, the "Ultimate Guide to Walls," she chose a bold color scheme and a design featuring horizontal stripes of varying widths. We were so impressed, we asked her to tell us how she did it. Read on for Patty's tips for a well-striped wall.

  • 1. Pick a Pattern

    Draw an arrangement of lines on the wall, using stripe heights or widths of 3 to 15 inches. You can choose to paint stripes of uniform widths (as seen here), or go for some visual variety.

  • 2. Vary Stripe Sizes

    If you vary the sizes of your stripes, try to group some larger ones with a few thin ones. Random is best, but there is no right or wrong.

  • 3. Choose Base Color

    Choose one hue of your design to be the base color. If one color will be visually dominant, use that one as a base and you'll use less paint for the project.

  • 4. Keep Edges Sharp with Painter's Tape

    Using low-tack painter's tape, tape stripes off one at a time. Seal each tape edge with a thin coat of the wall's base color; let it dry. This step will ensure your stripe edges stay sharp, keeping color from seeping under the tape.

  • 5. Ensure Good Coverage

    Paint each stripe with the desired color--two coats if necessary. Step back to check your work with each stripe. Allow paint to dry completely after each coat. When you're finished, remove the tape.

  • 6. Use a Small Roller

    Use a small roller to paint stripes--it gives you more precision and control.

  • 7. Minimize Drips

    Dip a small roller directly into a quart-size can of paint and roll the color onto cardboard before painting the wall. This process will minimize drips and save you from having to get a roller pan for each paint hue.

  • 8. Sleep on It

    To avoid adding too many stripes, let your design sit overnight after adding a few. If you still think you need more, start by taping off the additional stripes and follow Patti's steps until your design is just right.

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