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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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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

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

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