How to Paint Stripes On A Wall Without Bleeding

Painting vertical or horizontal stripes on your walls or ceiling? I'll show you how to paint clean lines on textured walls and how to get straight lines.

Painting stripes is a really easy DIY project and a perfect way to create an accent wall or add fun pattern to a ceiling, but the key to a really professional look is to have perfectly clean paint lines.

If you've ever used painter's tape you probably know that when even the slightest bit of paint seeps underneath the edges of the tape, you end up with less than crisp paint lines on your walls and have a lot of touch up to do.

The tutorial I have for you today will eliminate the need for touchups and leave you with the most perfect paint lines, and it only requires one super easy extra step!

I've used this technique to paint wide stripes on the ceiling in my little boy's bedroom, vertical stripes on the walls of my little girl's nursery, and horizontal stripes in the grandkid's room at my mom's house.

Ever ended up with the wrong paint color on your walls?

My free guide, How To Choose The Right Paint Color Every Time, will walk you through the simple steps (and tricks) to choosing the right paint color so you never end up with the wrong color again!

How to Paint Stripes on a wallPin

To paint stripes or shapes on your walls you'll need:

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  • Painter's tape
  • Small paint roller (preferably not wider than the width of your stripe.)
  • Paint brush
  • Level or laser level
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • 2 colors of paint: a base color (existing wall color) and another color or different shade of the existing color.

How To Paint Straight Lines On Textured Walls

Step 1: Paint the entire wall where your stripes will be with the base color

Paint the entire wall the lighter of the two colors that you'll be using. Let it dry completely, overnight at least.

If this is your existing wall color, this step is already complete.

Step 2: Determine the width of your stripes

The width of your stripes is totally up to you. You can have the colors be the same width or different depending on the finished look you're going for.

Step 3: Measure and mark the stripes

Tip: Make a template out of cardboard to make this process quick and easy. For example, for the horizontal stripes in the grandkid’s room I designed, the light grey stripes (existing wall color) are 13 inches wide, and the darker color stripes are 5 inches wide, so I created a 13 inch wide and 5 inch wide cardboard template out of cardboard.

How to paint horizontal stripes on a wall

Measure the width of your stripes starting at (about) the middle of the wall and working your way up to the ceiling and then from the middle down. Place a level at your initial pencil mark and have a buddy hold it in place, making sure it's level. Then use your cardboard template(s) to mark the edge of the stripe about every 10 inches or so. A tiny pencil mark is all you'll need.

How to paint vertical stripes on a wall

Measure the width of your stripes starting at (about) the middle of the wall and working your way to one side, and then from the middle to the other side. Place a level at your initial pencil mark and have a buddy hold it in place making sure it's plum. Then use your cardboard template(s) to mark the edge of the stripe about every 10 inches or so. A tiny pencil mark is all you'll need.

Step 4: Tape off your stripes

Tip: It can get confusing to know which area will be each color. Before you tape your lines, place a small piece of painter’s tape on each stripe that will remain the base color to make it obvious.

Pay attention to which side of the mark you’ll tape so that the entire width of the stripe you’ll be adding color to is exposed.

Using the small pencil marks as a guide grab your painter's tape and starting at the ceiling (for vertical stripes) or on the left (for horizontal stripes) and tape along your marks pressing firm at each mark, then pulling the tape tight to the next mark, and firmly pressing the tape to the wall in between marks to seal the tape to the wall.

Double check that the inside of each stripe (where the paint will go) is the correct width using your template.

Tip: Take a paper towel or dish towel and place it over your finger. Then press down firmly and rub on the tape line making sure it has no air bubbles and is on the wall with as few little gaps between the tape and the wall as possible.

Step 5: Create a seal for clean paint lines

Using a paint brush, paint a coat of the existing wall color (your base color) along the tape line only on the edge that will eventually be the darker color.

Tip: If you don’t have the original color, use a clear paint in a sheen that is similar to the existing wall color.

If there were any gaps between the painter's tape and the wall they will be filled and sealed with the already existing wall color which means when you add your second color it won't be able to seep under the tape.

Let the paint along the painters tape dry completely. It will look something like this.

how to paint stripes on textured wallsPin

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Step 6: Paint your second color

Once the paint along your tape is dry, paint the stripes the desired color - darker grey in my case.

If you need two coats of paint, let the first one dry before adding your second coat.

Step 7: Remove the painter's tape slowly

Remove the tape while your paint is still wet. If you did two coats remove the paint right after applying the second coat.

As soon as you pull the tape you'll reveal your perfect paint lines!

And that is how to paint stripes on a wall with tape

You could use this same painting tip to paint squares on a wall or for painting shapes on walls.

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Frequently Asked Questions - Painting Stripes On Textured Walls

What is the best painters tape for textured walls?

I use Scotch blue painter's tape for my DIY projects because it's quality and doesn't peel away from the wall. But more important is cleaning your walls before adhering your tape so it sticks properly and using the technique above to seal the tape line before adding a new color. The more textured your walls are the more important this will be.

Other Things to Consider When Choosing Colors For Your Home

A lot of factors go into selecting colors for your home, and it goes way beyond paint color.

Things like your home color palette, existing colors in your home (that you may not be able to change), and the color of the natural light, or lack of natural light can change the way a color shows up in your home.

In my self-paced online color course, Color Made Clear, I walk you through all the steps to choosing and using color in your home to create a pulled together and cohesive look, even if you have things like cabinet color or floors you can't change.