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How NOT to Paint Stripes

When we embarked on our girls’ room makeover a couple months ago, I had chosen a striped theme for the walls.

Getting clean, crisp striped lines with paint is actually a fairly simple process, but it takes a bit of time to do it properly. We went the fast, lazy route, in an effort to get the girls into their new room before school started.

Plus, I really wanted to keep some of the original wall color, and it just wouldn’t have been possible with the “right” technique.

They love their room, and that works for me, but the stripes definitely could have gone better. Still, we did get it done in a single afternoon, so our technique has its merits. Here’s the story of our stripes — and what we could have done to make them better.

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  • Our Step 1: Tape off stripes. 1 of 10
    Our Step 1: Tape off stripes.
    Because I wanted to retain some of the red/pink, we went straight to taping off lines. Plus, it gets the job done in just one shot. We used a measuring tape and a chalk line to tape off straight lines.
  • Better Step 1: Paint everything with one base color. 2 of 10
    Better Step 1: Paint everything with one base color.
    For a cleaner, crisper look, paint everything in the main color. This will give you a solid base to work with.
  • Our Step 2: Paint the 1st color block. 3 of 10
    Our Step 2: Paint the 1st color block.
    We primed, then painted, lavender on the bottom half of the room.
  • Better Step 2: Tape off the stripes. 4 of 10
    Better Step 2: Tape off the stripes.
    To add painter's tape to freshly painted walls, we really needed to wait a few days. I skipped the waiting stage with our lazy method.
  • Our Step 3: Paint the 2nd color block. 5 of 10
    Our Step 3: Paint the 2nd color block.
    We didn't even have to wait for the lavender to dry before painting the black color block. The problem is even though we carefully pressed all of the tape, some of the paint can bleed under the edges of the tape.
  • Better Step 3: Paint the 1st color right over the tape. 6 of 10
    Better Step 3: Paint the 1st color right over the tape.
    Since the wall is all one color, painting the same color right over the tape will seal the seams. This way, your 2nd color can't bleed through.
  • Our Step 4: Carefully peel the tape off the walls. 7 of 10
    Our Step 4: Carefully peel the tape off the walls.
    Once the paint had dried a bit, we peeled the tape off the walls. For our color block design, there were just 2 pieces of tape on each wall.
  • Better Step 4: Paint the 2nd color between the tape lines. 8 of 10
    Better Step 4: Paint the 2nd color between the tape lines.
    Once the 1st color has dried, you can go back in and paint your 2nd color. The tape is sealed down so the color will be painting over the base color, rather than directly on the tape.
  • Our Step 5: Reveal slightly fuzzy lines. 9 of 10
    Our Step 5: Reveal slightly fuzzy lines.
    Yeah, the paint bled through a little. Luckily, the girls don't seem to notice, and I don't mind in this case. A kids' room is just going to need repainted again soon, anyway, so I didn't want to invest a lot of time and effort into it.
  • Better Step 5: Reveal clean, crisp lines. 10 of 10
    Better Step 5: Reveal clean, crisp lines.
    With both colors painted directly onto the tape, you'll reveal perfect lines when it is removed. I am honestly okay with the way our room turned out, but if I do stripes again, they'll be clean and crisp!

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More from Heather:
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