The Lazy Girl’s Timesaving Tips For Painting Wall Stripes

After seeing my friend Dusty’s striped half bath and the stripes that my friend Allison painted in her foyer, then all of us painting stripes on the wall in Natalie’s nursery and THEN drooling over all the beautiful striped walls that I’ve pinned lately, I decided that I needed some stripes, too. So, without further ado, lemme show you my new striped office walls! Gah, I’m such a follower.

subtle striped walls

This whole project took me about three hours to complete with the help of my tall husband. It was so easy I wished I had followed done it sooner.

painting stripes on walls

painting stripes on wall before and after2

painting stripes on wall before and after2

But when it comes to blogging about my stripes, I won’t tell you exactly how to do it. There are tons of tutorials on how to paint stripes, and it’s pretty much all common sense anyway. What I want to do instead is tell you all my lazy shortcuts to get the job done as fast as possible! That way you can get onto more important things in life, like finishing off your Valentine’s candy while blogging about your new striped walls!

So, here are my best tips on how to make things fast and easy when painting stripes on the wall.  I think most of these tips would apply if you were painting chevron stripes on the wall, too.

1. Use whatcha got. In more ways than one. If you happen to have a bunch of extra paint samples lying around in your basement like me, then use them instead of buying more paint. This saves you a trip to the store, not to mention the cost factor. And, you know, the time it takes to get out of your pajamas to go out in public. As I’ve mentioned before, I have oodles of paint samples in my house.

paint samples

For my white stripes I poured a bunch of the leftover white-ish paint from my living room fiasco into a Tupperware bowl…

mixing paint at home

…and danced around the room shaking it for a minute or so until it was all mixed together. Sure I had to wash the bowl later, but that was easier than putting on real pants and going to the store for new paint. It’s all about convenience here, people.

mixing paint at home

If you do this, just be sure to mix enough paint to cover all of your stripes (plus touch-ups!) because you will NEVER get that paint color to match again.

Also, use your existing paint color as the base layer of paint.  Unless it’s something really hideous, you can probably find a complementary color to go with your existing paint.  The stripes are going to change the entire look of the wall anyway.  Now, if you have plenty of time and you hate your current paint, then you might want to repaint the whole wall and then paint stripes on top.  But if you have a good base paint color that isn’t too scuffed, use it and don’t waste precious time painting everything twice. The only drawback to this method is when you don’t have a can of your original paint.  The previous owners painted my room so I have no extra paint for touchups.  I solved that problem by wiping up any smudges immediately before they dried. Keep a wet paper towel nearby to swipe off the paint that might creep over the tape edge. Or use thicker tape and don’t get sloppy. For this project I used ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape, but a lot of folks prefer Frogtape, which is a little more expensive. It’s your call. Just use a good painter’s tape.

2. Remember lucky number seven. And other odd numbers. Here’s what I found in all my stripe painting experience–aim to have an odd number of horizontal stripes on your wall. To decide the width of your stripes, measure the total height of the wall from the ceiling to the base molding and divide by seven. If you want thicker stripes, divide by five. If you want skinny stripes divide by nine or more. Here is why:  If you follow my advice in rule #1, then you can leave your existing paint color at the top and the bottom of the wall, and just paint the center stripes without ever touching the majority of your trim! Besides, groupings of odd numbers are always good design.

stripes around desk

If you are a Captain Shakyhand like me, this tip is the biggest time saver of them all. The less cutting-in you have to do, the better. This is all the initial pre-painting that I did because of the way my lines fell on the wall. Seriously. It was a breeze. Notice how I started painting over the edges of the tape with the brush but then I was all “This is gonna take forever. Why am I wasting time on this? Just get to rolling, woman!”

cutting in trim paint

3. Use tape for your hash and reminder marks.  Not a pencil.  Trust me. A big piece of blue tape is much easier to see than a tiny pencil mark when you are trying to line up levels. When we painted Nat’s room we didn’t do this and wound up having my friend’s Aly and Dusty stand there pointing at the wall forever while I got the laser lined up just right. This time I used tape. It’s not as sexy as Aly and Dusty, but it’s much easier than a pencil mark. Just remember if you used the top or the bottom of the piece of tape for your measurement and stay consistent. To keep track of which stripe won’t get painted, stick a few pieces of tape inside it as reminder markers. This was something we learned on Nat’s wall as well. It helps not confusing which stripe is to be painted and which is to stay the existing color. Also, remember that you want the stripes that will get painted to be full width so put the tape inside the stripes that will not get painted.

tape on wall for painting

4. Measure from the top down. When you are putting your tape hash marks on the wall for your stripes, always measure from the ceiling down. Put the metal end of the tape measure at the ceiling and bend the tape as you go down the wall, holding it in place with one hand and pulling more tape out with the other. This accomplishes two things. First, you can actually read the number on the tape accurately since it’s not up at the ceiling. Duh.

how to use a tape measure

Secondly, if you measure your stripe increments from the ceiling down you can leave any “leftover” millimeters or inches down at the bottom of the wall and have a slightly thicker base stripe. Why waste time bothering with all the math to get each stripe exactly right down to the eight of an inch when you can just round off all the excess to the bottom stripe? Save all that brain power for your next game of Words With Friends and make it easy on yourself.

easiest way to paint stripes on the wall

Nobody will notice that the stripes aren’t all the same width. Especially if you’re putting furniture in front of the bottom part of the all anyway. It probably goes without saying, but you do need to consider your moldings. If you have crown molding (I didn’t in this room) measure from the bottom of the molding to the top of the base trim. That way you don’t have one skinny stripe at the top and one fat stripe at the bottom.

5. Invest in good masking tape (and a few other optional items). You want to use tape that sticks to the wall really well so your colors don’t bleed together too much and get all wiggly on the edges. You don’t want tape that will leave sticky goo on your walls or rip the sheetrock off in the removal process. I like the blue painters tape from 3M, and I’ve used Frogtape with success, as well.  There is a reason it’s called “painter’s tape”. Make life easier and use it.

blue painters tape

Another thing that makes painting stripes easier? A laser level. On a tripod.

laser level on a tripod

I know these two items are not just lying around everyone’s garage, but if you have them, use them. Once you learn that the laser level has screws for “precision adjustments” it’s much faster to tape along the laser line than using a hand held level on the wall.

laser trac level base

I didn’t realize there were “precision adjustments screws” on the laser when we painted Nat’s walls so I wasted a lot of time trying to move the tripod up and down to get it just right. This time around I just gave each screw a little twist and matched it up to the hash mark and we were good to go. If you have a husband, use him too. Or a friend. Having a helper will make things go MUCH faster. With another person holding the roll of tape both your hands will be free to pull the tape taut and smooth it out straighter. Or, just stand back and take photos while the other person does it all for you and your cute kid entertains you in the middle of the room.

helpers

6. Don’t watch paint dry. Get the tape off while the paint is still wet so your tape doesn’t get glued to the wall. That could add a lot of headache to this process. At the same time, don’t remove your tape too soon and realize that you missed a spot that needed a touch up. As soon as the second coat went on and I was sure the whole stripe was 100% covered I removed the tape. Don’t dilly dally and let your tape get too stuck or you might regret it.

7. Stay subtle. Even with good tape, bleed-through squiggle is bound to happen. Stark contrasting paints show every little screw up. Colors that are just a few shades from your base color are more forgiving. The mistakes are still there, you just won’t notice them as much. If you want to save time, it’s better to go with two colors that are close on the spectrum to each other just so you don’t have to go back and touchup.

8. Lower your expectations. To elaborate further on that last tip… don’t expect perfection. Your walls are probably not perfectly straight or even, so don’t stress out too much about getting your tape PERFECTLY LEVEL. If you fudge a quarter of an inch or so in either direction nobody will ever notice. I discovered that my wall had two big humps in it that made the tape look really wonky from the side angle. Check it:

hump in wall

But once it was painted, it looked just fine. You’d never be able to tell that my crooked wall was so hump-back, hump-back. See?

closeup of striped paint on imperfect wall

That’s close enough to perfect for me. Don’t sweat the small stuff and all that.

And finally, the last tip I have for making things faster when painting stripes: Use disposable paint trays and cheap rollers. If you don’t mind sparing a few bucks, toss them in the trash after you’re finished. Life is too short to spend it scrubbing paint out of used rollers.

So there you go!

Those are my tips for getting your striped walls painted as quickly as possible without sacrificing any of the prettiness factor. And speaking of pretty, I’ll end this diy tutorial with a picture of my pretty light switch cover. I bought it years ago, but I love how it matches the paint in this room so well.

pretty light switch cover

I have big plans for the room now that it’s got some flair. Stay tuned for lots more DIY projects to come inside this space, plus some cool funky frames that rival the Organic Bloom but cheaper!

organic bloom knockoff frame on striped wall

Good luck with your stripes! I hope I’ve saved you a little bit of hassle if you decide to become a stripe follower too. If you’ve painted stripes before, what tips would you recommend for making the process go smoother?

To see the FULL REVEAL of my craft room, click here!

 striped wall with organic bloom knockoff funky frames

Click here to see my best furniture painting tips!

For more craft room organization updates, click here:

Project-Desk-in-Craft-Room_thumb

 Did you enjoy this post? Check out more of my Lazy Girl’s Timesaving Tips series!

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  How to Decorate End Tables

 


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  2. I love your ideas! Especially the odd numbers to save time with cutting-in and trim. And also the rounding the numbers. We recently painted our ensuite and it is just so light and boring; it really looks like we did nothing. Stripes is a great way to update it. After reading this I can’t wait to start.

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  4. Hello,
    im curious what colour of paint you used as the main colour in this room

    thank you!

    Danielle

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  7. oh wow! great job!

  8. This is absolutely mind-blowing! Chevron is really hard. I will use this if I decide to follow this trend. Your room is breath-taking!! SO happy I found you on Pinterest! Do you have one?

  9. I used glaze (available at most paint departments) to brush over the tape lines. Let dry and then paint. The glaze seals the edges of the tape so there is not bleeding under it.

  10. Hi, great tips, thanks.

    I hace painted, not stripes, but framed just abouot all my walls that are painted in color (not white) and I found – after a few runners under the tape – that if you have some of the paint that is the primary color of the wall, then after you put up your tape, then paint with the primary color just along the tape edge first, that way when you paint the other color/colors they will not go under the tape because it is already filled with the primary color, and your lines are super sharp! Very nice 🙂
    Isn’t it fantastic how great cool painted look?!
    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Lower your expectations?? No one will notice a 2″ wider stripe at the bottom? This is the worst tutorial yet. It’s like the blind leading the blind.
    You used the wrong tape, and your technique is wrong in preventing seeping of paint under the tape. And if you can’t read a tape measure well enough to give people advice so their wall doesn’t look ridiculous with a 2″ wider stripe then stop giving people advice. It’s people like you that make blogs a horrible thing.

    • If you care that much, hire a professional. This if for those of us that want is easy and fast. If we cared we wouldn’t be looking at “The LAZY girls tips”.

  12. i’m planning to do a quick reno of my boy friends room for his birthday. seeing your beautiful paint job gives me confidence to pull the same work within a day. thank you for your inspiration! superb work

  13. Love this! I am totally doing this when we find the time! I know you mixed ur whites, but do u know the name of the base color?

  14. Hi! I love what you did with this room. The stripes and the paint color are exactly what I want to do to my bed room. Would you mind telling me what the paint colors you used were? That would help me a ton! Love your blog btw:)

  15. OMG I just wanted to Thank you so much for Lighting a Fire under my Bum I just Finished painting Dark blue stripes on my Entry / Hallway with your Helpful Hints here I didn’t have a Laser but they Turned out Amazing if I do say so 🙂 Thanks again this was very helpful. 🙂 Janell

  16. Love the stripes! Mixing up left over paint is always fun to see what color you can create. Great job!

  17. Shirley says:

    Hi Beth! Not only was your info helpful, but your humor is intoxicating! Can you use a new friend?

    Recently I learned a new trick for avoiding bleed-through when painting on tape, and thought I’d pass it along.

    After taping, paint over the tape edge where your contrast color will go with THE WALL COLOR. This seals the edge. When dry, paint your contrast (or stripe in this case) color over the top. Then remove the tape as you’ve already described. No bleed through! This also works for taping off moldings and trim wood. Cool, huh?

  18. Olga Rodriguez says:

    I think your house looks awesome! And I’m interested in knowing the name of the color that is in your dinning room. Thanks!

  19. This is great. I love the article. It gives ideas and suggestion to the people.

  20. Great post! I followed your tutorial here: ourhomeplace.wordpress.com
    However I really wish I had a laser level… aww someday..

  21. Hi there! I found your (thorough) tutorial via google. I’m curious to know how many ounces you would you approximate you used? Don’t want to spare $40 for a gallon if I don’t have to. I think the wall I’m painting is similarly sized. Thank you!

  22. So glad to find this!!! Thanks so much Beth, now I’ll finally get around to doing my stripes :)))

  23. You were great with this tutorial, you made it very easy for me. I am trying this for the first time and I was petrified! However, I am going vertical and I wanted to know does the same rules apply? Hugs and Stuff, Kimberly

  24. Christy says:

    I used all of these tips to paint black and white stripes on one of the walls in my daughter’s room. They turned out AMAZINGLY crisp and straight! The only extra thing I did was paint over the edge of the tape with white (base color) before painting the black. This kept the black from bleeding through! We also did an even # of stripes so the top stripe could be black (not white and blending in with the ceiling). Thanks for the great tips! My carpenter boyfriend was impressed!

  25. Thanks for the tips. I know I’m a year late, but saw this on google and doing my daughter’s room in vertical stripes. Still your tips are great. Nice pics too. I heard a great tip for the bleeding of the tape. It takes another step and a little more paint and it would only work if you had base color available (which I know you didn’t for this job). After taping everything for the stripes, go over the tape seam with the base color, then apply the strip color over that. Then, when you take off the tape, there won’t be bleeding. But either way, yours looks awesome and you’ve inspired me to do horizontal stripes in my dining room. Thanks. 🙂

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  28. Thanks so much for the tips! I’m in the process of painting two of my walls with stripes inspired by yours 🙂

  29. So nice! Love it! Will definitely try this!

  30. I love your teaching skills. I think I could paint stripes and I hate to paint. Thanks so much.

  31. Love your ideas (and your wit). Will definitely try my hand at this, this weekend!

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Trackbacks

  1. […] 2: Decide how many stripes and measure using odd numbers.. I loved this amazing tip Beth at the Unskinny Boppy,  where she suggests measuring from ceiling to floor and dividing by 7 (or any other odd number […]

  2. […] Step 1.  Use a laser lever…like this one that clings to the wall like a scum-eating sucker fish… (Thanks Beth for reminding me to pull this puppy out!) […]

  3. […] By far, the clear winner of the most traffic post to date is the instruction on how to take a picture of your kid in front of Christmas lights.  But if you are asking which PROJECT brought me the most traffic then I’d have to say my time saving tips for painting wall stripes. […]

  4. painting nail games for girls | My Blog says:

    […] unskinnyboppy.com […]

  5. […] little bit of a learning curve, we painted lavender stripes on one wall using some great tips from this blog. The only thing I would add is to prime your wall with a good primer before you paint your base […]

  6. […] Unskinny Boppy also has some great pointers that I used – https://unskinnyboppy.com/2012/02/lazy-girls-timesaving-tips-for-painting/ […]

  7. […] First I followed the how-to guide from the unskinnyboppy. […]

  8. […] I pondered and pondered options and decided to tackle painting on some stripes.  I started out my research by reading this wonderful tutorial by unskinny boppy. […]

  9. […]  Lazy Guide to Painting Fast Striped Walls ~ Aren’t these striped walls amazing?!  Follow these simple time saving tips to paint your own […]

  10. […] one solid color. I highly recommend getting a blue tape for taping off lines and patterns. Beth at unskinny Boppy blog shows a great before and after done with blue painters […]

  11. […] Original article from Unskinny Bopy. […]

  12. […] 8. Add architectural details to a room with striping. […]

  13. […] I read this post from one of my favorite […]

  14. […] tells him that now it’s time to tape the stripes. The look on his face was priceless. We used THIS website to help us figure out the best way to do it. Her post is actually called “The Lazy […]

  15. […] in an eggshell finish from our hall bathroom. To figure out how to do the stripes, I followed the tutorial for painting wall stripes from Beth of Unskinny Boppy. Her tutorial made it super simple to figure out how to space out […]

  16. […] Click here for the full tutorial on how to paint horizontal stripes on a wall the easy way: […]

  17. […] Lazy Guide to Painting Fast Striped Walls ~ Aren’t these striped walls amazing?! Follow these simple time saving tips to paint your own […]

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