How To Paint Stripes

How To Paint Stripes
How To Paint Stripes

I recently painted wide bold stripes on my kitchen ceiling in strong colors taken from the new wallpaper. It took courage to decide on such intense colors, but I’m glad I did. Now the room acts as a magnet drawing people in. At my annual Christmas party, guests congregated in the kitchen more than ever before. I think they were naturally attracted by the bright, cheery environment. The galley kitchen also appears wider with the stripes going across the width.

Although I chose to put the stripes on the ceiling, the same technique can be used to paint walls or floors…and it’s a little easier since you don’t have to spend the whole time standing on a ladder!  Here are the steps for how to paint stripes…

If you would like to learn other paint techniques, see our posts on How To Paint A Plaid Ceiling or How To Paint A Chinoiserie Wall.

Supplies

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Materials

  • Primer – if the ceiling has not been painted previously
  • Latex paint in 2 colors – in finish of your choice – I used satin
  • Spackling compound*
  • TSP*

Tools

Preparing To Paint Stripes

Glaze and a leaf stencil created this look
Glaze and a leaf stencil created this look

1.  Figure out what colors you want the stripes to be.  They can be bold and graphic like mine, or you can do a more subtle tone-on-tone look like the blue and white ones pictured above (the white paint was mixed with glaze to give it a more translucent effect).  Getting your color inspiration from other things in the room, like furniture, rugs or wallpaper will make sure that the stripes go with the rest of your decor.

2. Then figure out how wide you want the stripes to be…these stripes were 2 feet wide, but any width will work depending on the look you want to achieve.

3. Next, figure out which direction the stripes will go in.  If you have a long narrow room, painting the stripes across the width of the room will help it look wider.

How To Paint Stripes

Bold stripes brighten up this kitchen ceiling
Bold stripes brighten up this kitchen ceiling

1. Use the putty knife to fill any holes with spackling compound and let dry.  Sand or wipe off any uneven edges.

2. Make sure the surface is clean and sound. I always wash with TSP and rinse before I paint.

3. If the ceiling has not been painted before, paint 1 coat of primer to seal the surface.

4. Paint at least 2 coats of the lighter color over the entire ceiling. Once I have used the paint brush to paint around the edges, I find it easier to use a telescoping extension pole to roll the paint over the ceiling surface from a standing position. That way I can stroke in one direction to leave an even sheen when the paint is dry.

5. Wait at least 3 days for the paint to harden, before taping your stripes.

6. Establish the center points along the length of the ceiling. To do this, measure the length of the ceiling and divide the number in half to determine where the half-way point is. For example, if your ceiling is 10′ long, the half way point would be at the 5′ mark.  The reason for starting in the center is to have your pattern equally spaced on the ceiling at the edges.

7. Mark this point on both of the end walls.

8. Your first stripe will be centered on this measurement.  Divide the stripe width in half to determine where the center of the stripe is…this will determine how much of the stripe will fall on each side of the center line.  For example, if the stripe is 8” wide, the sides of the stripe will be 4’’ on each side of the center mark.

9. Mark where the two sides of the stripe will be at each end of the ceiling.

10. Use the chalk line (or laser level) to mark these two sides of the stripe all the way across the ceiling.  It is easier to do this if you have a second person…each of you can hold an end of the chalk line at either end of the ceiling and snap it to mark one side of the stripe, then do the other side. However, to do it solo, you just need to tack the end of the chalk line at one end of the ceiling and pull it across to the other side.

11. From the middle stripe work your way out to both edges of the ceiling.  Repeat steps 5 and 6 to mark the edges for each of the wide stripes in the pattern.  In our example, these marks would fall every 8? from the edge of the center stripe.

12. Next put delicate surface painter’s tape along these lines. Be sure the tape is on the background side of the line and the edges are firmly sealed. I used Yellow Frog Tape and it did not bleed or pull off the background paint when it was removed.

13. Paint the stripe color using a roller and brush being careful not to get any paint on the background.

14. Do as many coats as necessary to provide the coverage you want.

15. Remove the tape after the last coat is finished, pulling it gently and slowly so that it does not take any of the paint off with it.

Note:  Even though these instructions are for ceilings, the same technique can be used to paint stripes on walls or floors.

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