Wall Striping in a Flat and Glossy Finish

by Tonya Laskin
(Philadelphia, PA)

Wall stripes in our bedroom

Wall stripes in our bedroom

I just wanted to share my stripe painting project with you. I did the stripes only on the main wall in the room, I guess you can call it an accent wall. The rest of the room is painted solid blue.


Choosing paint color was a no brainer to me - blue is my favorite, and it goes great with whites and browns (the color of our furniture and bedding). I got the idea for this finish from a friend of mine.

Instead of using 2 shades of blue (something I was going to do), she said I could use just one color of paint and some clear varnish to get a similar effect.

How it works is, you apply the base coat as usual, wait for it to dry, then tape off the stripes. Then you use clear varnish (make sure it's water based) to paint the stripes.

When it's nice and dry, remove the tape and voila! The stripes will look different, it will be a very elegant light and dark pattern.

The cool part is, the stripes appear to be changing all the time, sometimes the effect is so subtle you can barely notice it, sometimes it's very obvious. Sometimes it looks like wallpaper!

My husband and I both did the painting and it went pretty well. The painting was actually the easiest part. The part that took the longest and was the biggest pain was the actual taping.

You will really hate tape after you get done with a project like this! You’ll be going stripe crazy trying to make sure they’re straight.

Has anyone else tried this finish?

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Great look!
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the idea. I wanted to do the flat/glossy paint on 2 small walls but was reluctant to buy 2 gallons of paint. I'll most likely use a half a gallon at most. So the varnish idea is perfect! Your walls look great!

Question
by: Anonymous

Love the idea but could I use polyurethane instead of varnish for the same effect?

Yes you can...
by: Yelena

although I personally prefer to use paint (flat and satin finishes) to achieve this effect, I think polyurethane will work even better than varnish.

Subtle striping
by: Anonymous

I used glaze mixed with the wall paint in a soft white and it was beautiful! We had a 12 ft tall wall and the plumbing and taping was awful. This time my ceiling is 7ft and I'm trying it in a sage green for an office.

Turned out amazing!
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for the tips! We did this today with a polyurathane, water based, semi gloss and it turned out amazing! A very subtle change but still noticeable. A nice, elegant look!

Taping
by: Mimi

Great idea! However, do you have any tips for getting the tape straight? Very daunting sounding task without tips!

Paint color
by: Anonymous

May I ask what the paint color you used was? It's perfect :)

Straight stripes
by: Anonymous

For straight stripes go pick up a 5 or 6 foot level/measuring stick at your local hardware store. Place that up on the wall....watch the water rest in the middle of the bubble and you know you have a straight edge to now make your lines. Then tape away.

Another tip? Once you have your lines taped up, paint another quick coat of same color/finish back over the taped edge. Then when dry, go ahead and paint your contrasting finish inside your tape lines. Then remove your tape. You get a cleaner edge and less bleeding.

I plan on two tone stripe in my master bedroom. Thanks for the varnish idea.

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