A painted arch adds instant character to a blank wall. Here's how to pull off this easy paint project with clean lines and a smooth finish.

By Jessica Bennett
July 20, 2020

TikTok has become a go-to source for DIY decorating ideas and clever hacks to try around the house (see: the laundry stripping phenomenon and this amazing van makeover). The latest project making the rounds involves using just a pencil, string, painters tape, and leftover paint to create a gorgeous arched accent wall.

Marley Soden/Marley.makes.things.

This simple paint treatment instantly adds a sense of architecture to the wall, with no actual remodeling work needed. The contrasting color creates the illusion of depth, turning a blank wall into a striking accent feature. You can use a painted arch to frame wall decor with a pop of color, draw attention to a piece of furniture, or simply add personality to an otherwise empty wall. And because this technique only requires a small amount of paint, creating a wall arch a great way to use up interior paint leftover from another project.

Videos like this one from user Marley.makes.things., which has received millions of views, demonstrate how to achieve clean painted lines and a smooth arch shape. The trick is to use a piece of string to help you trace the arch beforehand. First, you attach a piece of string to the wall (you can either secure it with tape or by tying it around a nail) in the center of where you'd like your arch to be. The string's length should equal half the desired width of your arch. Then, hold the end of the string and a pencil in one hand, pulling the string taut as you trace a rounded arch shape on the wall.

Once you have the top section sketched out, extend the ends of the arch straight down to the baseboard and mark the lines with painters tape. As you paint the arch, use a small brush around the arched edges and fill in the middle and lower section with a roller. Once the arch is all colored in, let the paint dry completely before going over it again with a second coat of paint for a smooth finish. Remove the painters tape and touch up the edges with the existing wall color for a crisp, clean line.

A painted wall arch is a great way to experiment with a bold color in your space without committing to an all-over paint job. Try this technique with a saturated shade you love, such as rich terra-cotta, moody forest green, or deep navy. For a subtler look, choose a paint color that's a few shades lighter or darker than your existing wall color (a beige arch on a warm white wall, for example).

Whichever color you choose, you can feel confident knowing that it isn't permanent. If you don't like the finished result, you can simply paint over it!


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