Do It Yourself Tips: Painting Horizontal Stripes On A Wall

How to paint horizontal stripes on a wall.

Horizontal lines can add depth to a room, or provide a contrasting focal point - both of which add more character and drama to a space.

But painting the lines can be a bit tricky if you don't take the time to measure everything very carefully and paint carefully.

First, pick out the color or colors you'd like the use. Once you've done this, then you can determine how many stripes you want to paint and how thick you want to make them.

Stripes are usually painted either running along the center of the wall or several running through the entire wall. Deciding which is best for your space, of course, depends on your taste. But, generally, one thick stripe or several thinner ones, along the center of a wall provides a simple, yet dramatic, focal point.

You can use regular interior latex paint for the stripes.

If you are painting over a glossy paint, you may need to apply enamel first.

Also be careful when selecting a sheen. A glossy paint stripe against a flat wall might be too dramatic. It's best to stay close to the kind of paint you're painting over. So, if the wall you are going to paint was coated in eggshell finished paint, then it might be best to paint your stripes with the same finish or a satin finish, which is the next glossiest after eggshell.

Some equipment you'll need: a brush or roller brush, a large roll of masking or painter's tape, a tape measure, a pencil, a level and fabric or newspapers to lay on the floor so you don't stain it with paint.

You'll need to determine at what level you want your stripe or stripes to begin.

Using a tape measure, measure from the floor to the point where you want your stripe to start and make a dot with your pencil. Do this every two or three feet all around the walls you plan to paint.

Next, unroll some tape and begin lining the top edge of it along the dots, taking special care that the tape goes on straight. Do this for the length of the walls you are going to paint. If you're not sure if the tape is perfectly straight, you can hold a level to the edge of the tape to double-check if it is straight.

The tape will protect the rest of your wall from being painted and will also help you get a neat and straight edge on your stripes.

If you want to paint stripes that are very close together, keep in mind that it might be easier to use tape that is an inch or half and inch thick. That way, if you plan to measure and paint more than one stripe at the same time the tape won't be in the way.

Now you can measure the top end of your stripe. You can either measure from the top end of the tape or from the floor, whichever is easier.

Since these dots will be the border for the top of the stripe, you'll want to run the tape above the dots - the bottom edge should be along the dots.

If you plan to paint one more stripe close to the first, it may be easier to do the measuring and taping now.

But if you plan to paint more stripes, and they will be close together, it may be easier to do one stripe at a time, so you don't end up painting the wrong areas. It can get confusing when you have tape running all over the place. You'd have to wait for the paint to dry completely before measuring and taping for the subsequent stripes.

If you are painting a thick stripe, a foot or more thick, then you could get away with painting with a roller. But thinner than a foot, you should paint with a small roller or a large brush.

Before painting, rub the tape to make sure there are no air bubbles that paint can sneak into.

When painting, be careful not to overload the roller or brush too much. Applying too much paint onto the wall could cause some of it to seep under the tape, and you'll end up with a bumpy edge when your stripe is dry, instead of a very straight, neat edge.

You can also avoid getting paint under the tape by using strokes that go away from the tape edges, not to them. In other words, you could start your stroke on the tape, and then move toward the center of the stripe. That way the paint is going over the edge of the tape and not under it.

If you used a particularly dark color or glossy color, you may need to add another coat. You probably won't be able to tell until the paint has dried and you've inspected it under good lighting.

When the stripe is painted and fully dry, you can carefully peel away the tape to reveal the stripe.

You can make any touch-ups using a small brush, if necessary.

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