Instructions For Painting
Vertical Stripes

By painting vertical stripes on walls, you can visually lift a ceiling and make a room seem taller. See the how to DIY instructions and tips below...

NOTE: The following tutorial is for painting basic 6", vertical, 2-color repeat, equal width stripes.

What You Will Need For
Painting Vertical Stripes

Before you begin painting vertical wall stripes, make sure you have on hand:

example of painted vertical stripes

  • low tack, blue painter's tape

  • a plumb line

  • a ruler or measuring tape

  • a pensil or a piece of chalk (in a color that will be visible on the basecoat)

  • a paint brush (angled, 3-4" wide, synthetic bristles)

  • a 9" paint roller (1/4" to 3/8" nap for regular walls)

  • a 3"-6" foam roller

  • a roller paint tray

  • latex paint in 2 desired colors

  • a stepladder

Also see "Tips for Painting Stripes on a Wall" for professional secrets and tricks of the trade.

Instructions For Painting
Vertical Stripes

taping and painting vertical stripes

1) Apply the basecoat and let it dry for at least 24 hours. Remember that the paint color you use as the base color will be one of the stripe colors.

For example, if you're painting yellow stripes over a white base coat, you'll end up with yellow-and-white striped walls.

2) Determine the width of your stripes, and measure the pattern's repeat. For example, if each paint stripe will be 6 inches, the repeat will be 12 inches.

3) Measure the perimeter of the room in inches (measure the width of each wall in inches, and add them up) and divide it by the width of the repeat. You need a whole number.

For example, if the room's perimeter is 432" (an 8'x10' room) and the width of the pattern's repeat is 12" (2 alternating 6" stripes), we will divide 432 by 12, and get 36. If your number looks something like 36.17, tweak the width of the stripes until the number is as close to whole as possible.

touching up the paint

4) Mark the walls to lay out the stripes (start in the least-seen corner and move from left to right). Using a ruler/measuring tape, mark 6" intervals around the very top of the room. Then pin a plumb line to each mark and pensil lightly along this line every foot all the way down, until you reach the baseboard. Repeat for each mark.

And when working around windows and doors, ignore them exactly as if you were hanging wallpaper.

5) Tape off the stripes - press the tape down along the pensil marks on the outside edge of each stripe that is getting painted. While you are at it, also mask the ceiling, baseboard and other surfaces not to be painted.

When you are finished taping, you will have the illusion of two different widths of stripes. The wider stripe is the one you need to paint.

6) Paint the stripes with a small roller in a second color. You might want to use a brush to cut in along the ceiling and baseboard first. Apply a second coat if needed after the first one is dry to the touch.

7) Remove the tape and wipe away any paint that has seeped under, using a corner of a damp folded paper towel sheet.

As you can see, when painting vertical stripes, most of the time is spent on measuring, marking and taping, while the actual painting is accomplished quickly - but the results always justify the careful preparation.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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