Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Get the Edge on Painting the Perfect Stripe

Painting stripes and other designs on walls that resemble wall paper is all the rage now and the effect can be quite dramatic if done correctly.  I learned this technique from my own Mom, who is quite the decorator.  She, in turn, learned it from talking to some of the professional painters who were painting the hospital where she worked.  After seeing her apply this technique in her own decorating endeavors, I could not wait to try it out on my own walls.

This brings us to the bathroom.  For quite some time, I have been wanting to do a little something more daring on my walls.  In my opinion, the bathroom is the perfect place to try things like bold colors or interesting paint techniques because they are usually small, easily painted, and if the chosen paint effect is a little overwhelming or bright, at you can close the door on your artwork!

I decided to paint horizontal stripes in a pearlized glaze (found at my local big blue hardware store).  After painting the base coat in my color of choice, I waited until it was completely cured (wait at least several days) and began to tape up my design.  Here is the step-by-step process that anyone can follow in order to get perfect painted stripes.  This technique works for any color or type of paint.  I just happened to use the pearlized glaze.

You will need:
masking tape (does not have to be the expensive blue stuff!)
level (preferably a longer one - 2ft) this makes it so much easier to get straight stripes
quality paint brush
paint in both colors (ie. base wall coat and stripe color)

Step 1
Tape your stripe onto the wall.  The size and position possibilities are endless.  This is the most boring part in my opinion and it takes the longest.  Please take extra care in taping because it will make or break the looks of your striping.  I did not draw my line on the wall with a pencil because my stripe paint is see through.  If you are using an opaque color for your stripe, you could probably get away with marking your stripe with a pencil. Seal the edge of your tape by running your finger along the edge to ensure it sticks and that there are no bubbles.  

Instead of using a pencil, I used the level and little pieces of tape to mark out where I wanted my line to go.

I then taped over those little bits, ensuring my long tape marking my stripe's edge was level.

Step 2
After you have taped your stripe, pull out that can of base wall color.  In this case, I used the blue because that is my base color.  I know it looks lighter here but it will dry to the same color as the wall.  We are sealing in the edges of the tape here.  By painting over the inside edges of the tape stripe, you are creating a barrier between the tape edge and your wall.  If you have textured walls, this is the key to preventing leak through of your stripe color.

Wait until your edge painting has dried completely (at least 2 hours)

Step 3
Paint your stripe color in between your tape lines, taking care not to paint over the outer edge of your tape...keep a wet rag on hand to wipe up all spills promptly.

Step 4

When your stripe is dry, peel off that tape and admire your perfectly sharp looking stripe.

I was able to reuse some of my tape for my other stripes by using this technique.  You don't need to buy the most expensive painters tape.  It would work with any masking tape.    Happy painting!

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