Painting the perfect stripe

A few years ago, we built a new home, which I might add was the funnest thing I have ever done! I loved every step of the building process from the design center, picking out all the finishing materials and colors, to checking on the progress of the home and walking through each new space, framed, and then finally sheet rocked. During the building process I told Mr. G he could pick out the color scheme for his new room and he came up with Navy, Kelly Green and White. He’d get to have this new room all to himself, no more sharing with his baby brother! As mentioned in my tutorial on the Tool Chest Dresser, you already know Mr. G wasn’t into the whole car themed room. This go around I wanted to make something a little less juvenile so he could grow up with his space. I wanted something a bit industrial. I’d seen some pictures on Pinterest of striped ceilings and I knew I had to do that in his room!

Hey guys! Who here has ever tried to paint a perfect stripe on a wall or any other project only to discover your paint bled under your tape and it’s not perfect at all. I certainly have! I’d never attempted a striped wall before but had done stripes on some picture frames. I’d like to share the best TIP ever because the results are AMAZING, even on a very textured ceiling! Why, is it that my first-time painting stripes had to be on a ceiling?! I guess I like to make things hard for myself…and my Mom, Ha Ha.

First things first if you’re a major perfectionist like I am you’ll want to figure out the exact dimensions you have to work with in your space so that your stripes are nice and even! Math is definitely NOT one of my strong suits so I pawned this job off to my Dad (lucky for my Hubby who was at work! Although he’s pretty sharp with numbers too!). He obliged (I’d like to think happily) as he does many times for specific measurements on our projects. Once we knew the exact dimensions, we began to mark the ceiling where each stripe would begin and end with a little pencil mark. Once we had gone around the room and marked each stripe space, how in the world were we going to lay the tape on the ceiling in a straight line? Gah! Why did I want to stripe a ceiling again? My Mom had quite the clever idea! We would use a chalk line to help us mark the ceiling! Voila perfect lines!

Here you can see the lines made by using the chalk line. This was very helpful when we were applying the green frog tape!

What in the world is a chalk line? It is a small handheld gadget that kinda looks like a measuring tape. It has a retractable string inside that is coated in chalk (this one pictured is coated in blue chalk dust. The chalk line we used in the picture above was red). Framers use this tool to mark straight lines on the floor when building walls. To use a chalk line, you really need at least 2 people. One of us would hold the end of the chalk line at the pencil mark on one end of the ceiling, and the other would unroll the chalk line across the room and hold it snug on the other side of the ceiling on the pencil mark. Once the chalk line was in position one person on either side gently pulls down on the chalk line so there is a little tension, and then lets go to release it, then it will snap back up to the ceiling and makes a mark. A beautiful red mark across the whole ceiling. This made it so much easier to know exactly where the tape was going to be positioned!

Here’s another look at those nice straight chalk lines.

Now, I know this picture isn’t the greatest, the lighting is blah and it’s a bit blurry…but I’m glad I thought to take any pictures at all while we were busy painting! Take a look at the green frog tape. See how the tape isn’t crisp? This is the CRITICAL step to getting that PERFECT stripe! After we applied the tape across the entire ceiling we pressed down as hard as we could with our fingernails, or you could use the edge of a credit card or something else that will push down on the tape firmly. Once we finished pressing the tape down on the entire ceiling, we then took the same white paint as the ceiling and painted a small edge along the green tape.

Start with your brush on the green tape and brush inward. Why do you paint a white stripe first? Bleeding will happen, especially on a very textured surface like a ceiling. This step allows any of the paint that will end up bleeding under the tape to be the same color as the original ceiling color. (A-hah!) It’s not necessary to paint the entire area sectioned off to be a stripe white, only the edge of the tape where it will bleed. Once the paint has dried you can go ahead and start painting the stripe in the color of your choice.

I know this picture is a bit blurry too but you get the idea of what we are doing. We decided to paint the edges of each stripe where the wall and ceiling meet so we wouldn’t get carried away painting stripes and realize we had painted the wrong section green! We would totally do something like that! Since we were planning to paint the walls grey, we didn’t bother taping off the walls. We brought the green paint right on down the wall just a little bit to make sure we had a solid green stripe when all was said and done. If we didn’t do this, there’s a possibility that we would end up with a little white edge in-between the green stripe and the grey wall.

Once all the edges where the wall and ceiling meet have been painted (so we knew where to paint the stripes) it was time to start rolling away. This part was a little scary just for the fact that you need to be slow and steady along the tape edge so you stay in the designated striped area. It really wasn’t too bad, you just had to take your time.

(HA!) You gotta love that face! I snapped this pic after my Mom had a glob of paint drip from her roller onto her face! We had lots of laughs with this project! So here’s a little tip for ya. Don’t load your roller with more paint than it can hold, it will drip on your face. But it was definitely good for a laugh! It’s also a good idea to lay a blanket or drop cloth on the ground to protect your floor.

We removed the frog tape from the ceiling right after we were finished painting the green stripes. From other projects we’ve worked on in the past we’ve learned that it’s best to remove painters’ tape while the paint is still wet. After the stripes had dried for a day, we taped the ceiling off to paint the walls grey. I LOVE the finished result! Super crisp, neat and tidy, perfect stripes! Even now, a few years after the fact, sometimes while Mr. G is at school, I’ll lay on his bed for a minute and admire the lovely ceiling. (I know I’m weird! But sometimes you’ve just gotta admire your hard work!)

PLEASE SHARE AND PIN IT if you found this tutorial helpful. Be sure to check out the other tutorials in this room, painting polka dots on the curtains, making time zone plaques, creating a unique light fixture and building an awesome industrial shelving unit and workspace. Thanks for stopping by!

And as always here at Sunny Side Design we hope to . . .



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