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How to Paint {{Super Straight}} Horizontal Stripes

Last week, while Steve had a day off and while Connor was at school, we completely emptied his room and decided to finally paint it.  We have lived in this house for almost a year and the poor kid has had his mattress on the floor, pieces of wood for his bed stacked up in the corner, stashes of un-organized clutter everywhere…….and oh my, it was true chaos.  But we were waiting to set up his room until we could paint the lime yellow/greenish paint color that was all over his walls and ceiling.  Grrrr.  When Connor got home from kindergarten and saw that his whole room was out in the hallway, he was THRILLED!  He has been asking for months for us to finally start his room.  Sweet patient kid.


While painting his room with grey paint, I decided last minute that he needed some stripes on one wall.


Are you afraid of stripes?  Do your tape lines leak?  When you pull back the tape, are you left with wavy messy lines?  Yeah, I used to have the same problem.  And it seemed that no matter how expensive the tape was or how hard I pressed the tape onto the wall, it was always a mess.  But since figuring out how to paint super straight lines the EASY way, it didn’t take much time at all to paint these great stripes on one of Connor’s walls.






Go ahead and look closely, even though the wall are textured, those lines are razor sharp. :)






I only painted the stripes on one of the walls……but wow, it adds such a nice texture to that focus wall.  (And no, we still haven’t decorated or put everything in place.  That little plane is just propped against the wall and the ‘S’ is part of the word ‘SOAR’ that we had up in his last room.  Once it’s done, I’ll show more details. :) )






Cute little razor sharp stripes……you’re definitely staying!





Need some help painting your lines?


Okay, let’s get started.


First of all, decide on your stripe colors.  If one of the stripes is the same as the rest of the room, go ahead and paint the whole room first.  If you’re going with completely different colors, choose one of the colors as the base color and paint the whole wall that one color.  The stripes will be painted on top.


Then, decide how many stripes you want on your wall.  This room has 8 foot ceilings and I like the look of these thicker lines.  I wanted grey on the bottom AND the top so that the white stripes didn’t blend in with the baseboards OR the ceiling (which are both white), so I went with 7 stripes.  4 grey lines and 3 white ones.


Now, measure your wall, from the ceiling down to the top of your baseboards.  (The new baseboards aren’t installed in the picture below, so I just measured down to the floor and then subtracted the height of the new baseboards.)  Now, divide that number by the number of stripes you want.  For example, my wall is 96 inches.  I subtracted the 5 inch baseboards, which left me with 91 inches.  Then, I divided that by 7, which is 13.  So, I knew that each of my stripes would be 13 inches tall, with a 5 inch space at the bottom for the baseboard.


Then, I made small marks on the wall, right where each line needed to be, all the way across the wall.  Then, I placed lines of painter’s tape along the marks, creating boundaries for each each white line to be painted.  JUST BE SURE that you place your tape lines ABOVE and BELOW the marks of the stripe that you’ll be painting.  For example, the very bottom piece of tape is placed BELOW the lowest marks on the wall and the 2nd piece of tape from the bottom is placed ABOVE the 2nd row of marks from the bottom…..making that first gap exactly 13 inches tall.  The gap above that looks like it’s less that 13…..and that’s because it is.  The tape is within those boundaries but that’s okay because that’s where a grey stripe will be, so it won’t need to be painted.  Once you paint the 2nd line color and lift off the tape, each space will be exactly 13 inches tall.




Now, there are a a few ways to make sure your lines are crisp and straight and I wrote another post about painting straight lines a while back.  Check that out first and decide which technique you like better.  I generally go with the paint technique, so that’s what I’ll show you here.


Now, inside of the boundaries for the white stripe, I used some of my GREY paint and painted right along the inner edges of both pieces of tape.  What’s happening is that the grey paint is filling in all of the little gaps in the texture that the tape couldn’t quite attach to, so that the white paint won’t leak under there.  Once you paint the white (or your second color) on top, it will stay below the tape line and not seep under.




Repeat with all of the stripes that you’ll be painting with your second color.  You’ll notice below that each of the the boundaries for the 3 white stripes that I’ll be painting, have grey along the inner edges of the tape. Just remember to use your BASE PAINT COLOR.  Let that dry completely.




Then, start painting on your second color, staying within the tape lines….but make sure to get right up to those tape lines so that your lines will be nice and crisp.  Let dry and then add a 2nd coat of paint for nice solid stripe colors.




Use a fine tipped paint brush to paint the ends of each line, where the new wall begins.  (I love this little Wooster paintbrush for creating precise lines but if you’re worried about keeping it straight, use the same tape technique like the top and bottom of the lines.)




No need to let this second coat dry…..go ahead and start peeling back your tape.  Pull the tape evenly and slowly, pulling the tape straight back on itself.




Now, you may have teeny tiny leaks here and there (especially if you have highly textured wall)……..and that’s okay.  It will be NOTHING like the messy lines that you’ll get from just plain ol’ taping.  Just grab a tiny paintbrush and touch up where needed.


And that’s it.



Nice and straight Horizontal Paint Lines…



Hope that helps!




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  1. Pingback: 30 fotos e ideas para decorar y pintar las paredes a rayas | Mil Ideas de Decoración
  2. paint stripes says:

    looks amazing. great job

  3. Caroine says:

    Nice! What white paint color did you use? Thank you!

  4. Alisha says:

    Can you share the brand/color Of grey paint you used?

    1. Anonymous says:

      She did in an above comment.

  5. Nicole says:

    where did you get that plane? I want to do something similar to my sons room and my husband is a pilot and my son is obsessed with planes. Thanks in advance.

  6. Jayme Davis says:

    How long did you let your base coat of paint cure before you attached painters tape to it? We are doing stripes in our new nursery and want to get it done fast, but don’t want to mess it up by putting tape on the newly painted wall before it’s ready. Thanks in advance!

  7. Carol says:

    So cute!!And well-done. I am gearing up to paint my teenager’s room. It is intimidatimg me. She wants three horizontal stripes; One silver, one bronze, and one a deep blue. the blue will be the widest, and thr lowest stripe. There wont be a “base” color. How can I make those stripes stay clean and crisp?

  8. Jen says:

    Did you paint gray on all of the walls? It looks like the striped gray is a darker shade than the rest of the walls. I love the colors!

    1. Ashley says:

      I know……they grey’s look totally different. But I promise, they are the exact same grey on all the walls. All the walls reflect the light differently, depending on how the light hits it. Isn’t it weird though? But yep, all the same. :)

  9. Hillary says:

    We painted big fat stripes on a bathroom wall and found it easier to use chalk line rather than measure constantly down an entire wall to make sure the lines were even. (Especially since the ceiling and floor is not perfectly parallel and difficult to measure…it’s an older house, weird.) Anyway, we started on one side of the wall. I would mark a stripe and hold the chalk line box while my hubby would hold the other end of chalk line and use a level to make sure the line was perfectly level. Then we would snap the chalk which would leave a perfect line across the whole wall. Then we would tape the line, and measure for the next stripe repeating the same process. It took forever but the lines were perfectly horizontal despite the crooked ceiling and floor of the bathroom! We bought the chalk box at Lowes and crushed up our own white chalk to put inside. It was easy to wipe off!

    1. Ashley says:

      A chalk line is a great idea…..thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Nancy Gross says:

    Stripes, yes I would love to try them on our last bedroom in the house that needs to be painted. It isa very small room. And our ceilings are 7 feet. Would vertical or horizontal stripes make the room look bigger and the ceilings taller? Any way, Connor’s room is looking good, and I love the stripes. Thanks for a great tutorial, Ashley.

    1. Ashley says:

      Hmmmm, I’m not really sure what would make the room look taller. I’m guessing the vertical ones would…..but I just prefer horizontal stripes. Aggggh, I’m not sure what I would go with but maybe try using tape to make mock lines that are vertical on one wall and horizontal ones on the other….just to get a feel for what would help make the space look taller. Good luck! :)

  11. Carolyn Kaiser says:

    Hi, I love the article on how to do stripes!! Can’t wait to try it out in the house we are building!! One question, not related to the stripes, where oh where did you find the airplane?! I would LOVE that in my son’s room!! Great job on the room, seriously love the stripes!! :)

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh yay… are so close to having your own space to paint! Such a fun feeling!

      The plane is something that I bought over a year ago at Home Goods. I’m not sure if they have anything similar….but you never know with that place. Someone on my instagram feed mentioned that there’s a similar metal plane at Pier 1 right now, so that’s worth checking out too. Good luck! :)

  12. Marie says:

    Wonderful tip! Thank you so much.

  13. LadyAliceofOz says:

    Brilliant!! Now I wanna paint stripes, too!! Thanks for this Ashley!!

  14. Leslie says:

    Great tips! What color paint did you use??

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh good, question…..I should have added that in. The white is swiss coffee by Ben Moore and the grey is called miner’s dust by Dunn Edwards. However, both colors were price matched at Home Depot, using their Behr paint.

  15. Becca says:

    I just painted my craft room with stripes in these exact colors. I love it!

    1. Ashley says:

      Very cool….they’re just a perfect muted background color and the stripes give it a little punch!

  16. Kristina Noall says:

    Great tip, can’t wait to see the room! He has good taste! (My 5-year-old would probably insist on everything blue, floor to ceiling.)

    1. Ashley says:

      Haha……I think when Chloe gets a little older, she’s going to be the one that actually has an opinion on these types of things and will insist on neon purple with lime green stripes. Or something. Connor could care less! I can sell anything to the kid, and he bites. Every Time!! :)

  17. Amber says:

    Thanks for this great info! I’m getting ready to paint blue and white stripes on an accent wall in our bedroom.
    {PS} Love, Love, Love Wooster Brush Company Brushes! And not just saying that because I happen to live in the same town they are made in. They are a great company as well.

    1. Ashley says:

      Perfect….good luck!

      And yes, I love those little brushes. That brush in the photo above is my absolute favorite one. It gives me such a nice perfect line when taping is either going to take too long or the tape won’t work or fit or stick to what I’m working on. Love it!

  18. Robin says:

    I love his room! Nice job.

  19. Erin M. says:

    Looks great. Now I want to stripe up my house!

    1. Ashley says:

      I know, I keep thinking about what others rooms to stripe up! :)

  20. Preethi says:

    Fantastic idea.

  21. Britta says:

    Love it! I’m gonna remember this one! Thanks for the tip!

  22. Ellie says:

    The stripes look fantastic. I’m glad you explained about the S in the pictures because I was trying to figure out what an S in Conner’s room could stand for.

    1. Chelsey says:

      Me too! How funny!

    2. Ashley says:

      Haha…..I knew it! That’s exactly why I mentioned it because I would have wondered the same thing. Hmmmm, “Super Connor?” Or maybe, “Silly Connor?” Yeah, those were dumb, it’s totally for the word SOAR. :)

  23. Cheryl says:

    Awesome, just awesome tip. Such a simple fix. These are the kinds of tips I love and often think…duh! “why didn’t I think of that?” Thank you!

    1. Ashley says:

      You’re welcome! Hope it helps! :)

  24. Valerie@Occasionally Crafty says:

    Aaah! Where was this last week when I painted my accent wall?? :) I actually did something similar- a different tutorial suggested using an almost dry brush to paint the stripe color over the tape line like you did with the base color. It worked for most of my stripes but I had some seepage and had to touch up afterwards. I definitely will try this if I do stripes again.

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh, how funny. I bet it turned out great though. These darn stripes are quite addictive though, aren’t they? I keep thinking, “what other room can I stripe?” Ha!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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