A few weeks ago, I painted one wall in our spare bedroom with big, bold stripes. I love the visual interest that stripes provide, and since the wall I chose faces the hallway, it creates a nice focal point when looking into the spare bedroom from the hall area. I opted to paint the room light gray, with stripes in a darker shade of gray. I truly thought that painting stripes would be difficult, but it was actually one of the easier projects I have done! I had envisioned having difficulty getting the lines straight and evenly spaced, but my method worked beautifully!
I started by painting the entire room the base color (pale gray, in my case). Then, I measured the height of the wall (96 inches). I knew that I wanted to have seven large stripes, starting and ending with my base color. That equaled out to 13.7 inches per stripe, which required too much precise measuring for me. So I rounded it down to 13.5 inches per stripe, knowing that if the bottom stripe was slightly wider that it wouldn't be noticeable (or even visible, since the bottom of the wall is mostly blocked by furniture).
I had heard that the best way to paint stripes on a wall was to use long level (several feet long) to keep the lines straight. But when I checked at the store, long levels cost about $50. Uh, no. I devised a way to make our medium-sized level (which is about 24 inches long) work just fine. I didn't want to have to measure 13.5 inches again and again, so I measured 13.5 inches from the top of the level and marked the spot with a strip of painter's tape.
Next, I stretched my painter's tape along the lines, making sure that I aligned the edges exactly where I had made my pencil marks. Since my dots were just an arms width apart, I found it easy to start on the left side of the wall, and stretch the tape straight between dots. Since the tape is already straight, the result was a perfectly straight tape line that was far easier to achieve than I had imagined! I had to keep in mind that for the dark gray stripes, I needed to tape outside the area to be painted dark gray. For the stripes that were to remain light gray, I had to tape within the area that would remain light gray. This process was the same I used when spray painting stripes on my family room curtains.
*Tip for Perfectly Crisp Paint Lines*
After applying tape, paint one layer of your base coat along the tape line. Once dry, follow up with as many layers of your accent color as necessary. Any paint that bleeds underneath the tape line will be the same color as your base color, and will thus be invisible. Perfect paint lines!!
I used a foam brush to paint the edges, in order to avoid brush marks, and then rolled as close to the tape lines as possible. I applied two coats of dark gray paint to each stripe, and removed the tape immediately after painting in order to avoid the tape pulling any of my paint away from the wall.