How to paint a wall stripe

Need a step up from plain old paint? Give your walls an extra kick with a cool stripe.

You'll need:

  • Paint in as many colors as you plan on using
  • Small brushes
  • Drop cloth
  • Blue or purple painters tape
  • Level or yardstick

    1. Clear

    Move everything along the wall as far away as possible so you have room to work. Remove any hanging pictures, nails and outlet covers that are going to intrude on your stripe area and tape around any fixtures.

    2. Plan

    Assess your canvas and plan out where you want your stripes, how think you want them to be and what colors you want to use in which areas. If you're being precise, get out your yardstick and measure off your stripes. You can also go for a free-form look and have stripes of many widths.

    3. Tape

    Use your painters tape to mark the outside edges of the stripes. You'll probably not be able to manage one long strip of tape from floor to ceiling, so this is where having a level (and two people) comes in handy. Station one person on a ladder at the ceiling and have the other guide the tape down to the floor. If you're doing zig-zag stripes, or any other fancy patterns, make sure that your tape line is unbroken for the length of the stripe. If your plan includes stripes of different colors crossing at any point, choose which one you want on top. You'll only be able to do one at a time, working from the bottom up. When it dries, remove the tape and set up the next one.

    4. Paint

    If you're using a small amount of paint and have just a small container of paint, don't bother with the paint tray and roller set-up. Just take the can in one hand and your brush in the other. Use long even strokes and apply the paint as evenly as possible. This is one case where you don't want to paint outside the lines. If you're using many colors, use a different brush for each one.

    5. Repeat

    If your stripes are pretty thin, they're probably dry by now, so you can give them a second coat. Repeat your pattern from earlier in the day. The next day, carefully peel up the tape and touch up any edge bits that got bumpy. Then you can stand back and admire your very own special effects.