I have tried, tested and cried over several ideas of how-to-paint-stripes. My experience includes painting ceilings (the examples shown are ceilings we did), walls and floors.
There are two key musts for perfect lines and an easier life. Yep, I am going to give up the secret right now, so you can stop skimming if you wish…
+ An absolute must HAVE: a chalk reel with non-permanent chalk
+ An absolute must DO: paint over the tape with your base color before painting your stripe color (further details below)
Here are the nitty gritty details:
Make sure the surface is clean, patched and ready to paint. Paint your base color (the color of the whole room). If you are using the same color in different sheens, paint the flat first as your base. Wait until each coat is dry before starting the next step.
MEASURE & MARK
Determine the direction and approximate width of your stripes. Stripes are often 4” to 12” wide. Larger stripes can work, but I find anything under 4” is way to busy.
Sherwin-Williams Paint & Supply Company suggests to determine the sizes of your stripes: “Measure and calculate the total area of the wall(s) being painted to determine how many stripes on paper, tweaking the size of the stripes to suit the dimensions so that all stripes will be of equal size. Divide by an odd number to ensure your first and last stripe are the same color.”
Mark of the width of your stripes on the surface using a pencil at the two end points of your stripe. Using a the above mentioned chalk reel filled with non-permanent chalk* and a buddy, stretch the line the length of your stripe. Using one hand to hold the reel, use the other to snap the line against the surface. This will give you a clean straight line to run your tape along. If you do not have a buddy to help, tape the end of the line at your first pencil mark and carefully stretch the line across the surface.
*Reels and chalk are available at your local hardware store. I picked up both at Ace Hardware on the island. The non-permanent chalk came in a yellow bottle with a purple lid.
Use fat tape. This will help prevent accidental run-overs and give you the room to move a little more quickly. Run the tape along your chalk lines to the outside of the area you are going to paint.
EXAMPLE: if you are painting white and blue stripes, the stripes are 6” wide and your base color is white, the tape should be inside of what will be the white stripe area leaving a 6” gap for the blue stripe.
Using a duster brush away any chalk that is visible.
This sounds tedious, but totally necessary for a crisp, clean line: Paint over the tape with your base color. This fills in any tiny spots where the tape is not 100% adhering to your surface. If you are running low on your base color, at minimum paint the side of the tape that will be changing colors.
Using the EXAMPLE above: Paint the tape on the side of the 6” gap which will be filled in with blue paint.
After the base color over tape dries, then go to town painting in your stripe color or new sheen. Be sure to go over the tape a bit to fill it all in. Apply, at minimum, 2 coats with the appropriate dry time in between.
Totally satisfying experience. It’s like Christmas if you followed the above steps correctly.