How to Paint Stripes {The Secret to Crisp Stripes}

How to Paint Stripes {The Secret to Crisp Stripes}

how to paint stripes

Well, hello! I thought it was high time I finally do a little post on my striped wall. I know you all have seen it numerous times over the past few weeks, but due the holidays and all I didn’t actually show it off in a proper blogger form with photos, tips and before & afters. So I’m catching up to myself today! Yahoo!

If you have never painted stripes before but are thinking about it, I have a little secret tip you might want to try that works really well for getting crisp paint lines.

It is really pretty simple. Of course, you need to start out with carefully measured, eye-balled and level stripes. Nothing will make you more crazy dizzy than looking at stripes gone wonky on a wall.

How to Paint Stripes {The Secret to Crisp Stripes}

But in addition to measuring and leveling, you need to do two additional things.

One, get yourself some Frog Tape, that is the brand. I know, it is a silly name but it works great for taping off your stripes. The secret to using Frog Tape successfully is to press it down really well.

Then, two, you need to SEAL (swine, frogs, seals….all KEY decorating terms around here) your tape with paint before you switch colors.

Painting Stripes: A Quick How To

To start out your stripe project, first paint your wall whatever color you want to use as your base. Let’s say you paint your whole wall a flat gray. In my case, I used Studio Taupe from Behr All in One (a brown gray) so it would go with the rest of my walls.

Then, do all your careful measuring, leveling, eye-balling in case your walls aren’t straight, and carefully Frog Taping for your stripes.

But before you actually paint your stripes, let’s say you are going to use a semi-gloss white as I did, paint your gray paint right over the edges of your tape in the area where you are going to paint white stripes. Once it dries it will seal up the tape so your white paint won’t bleed under into the gray and make the stripes all wonky. Then you can paint your white stripes and remove the tape before it dries.

How to Paint Stripes {The Secret to Crisp Stripes}

There are tons of detailed posts online for how to paint stripes so it is good to research any project before you begin! Here is a post by my buddy Kate with more tips and suggestions for how to paint stripes.

So there you go. Go forth and paint crisp stripes in confidence.

How to Paint Stripes {The Secret to Crisp Stripes}

How to Paint Stripes {The Secret to Crisp Stripes}


  1. Your stripes are perfection!!! I adore the color the width and the contrast, such a big impact made with just paint! Perfect tips too, and thank you so much for the linky love.

  2. i like it a lot. looks great–and so does the new decor on top of the bookcase!
    sarah recently boy and our tree…My Profile

  3. This looks amazing! I’m planning on painting my guest bathroom in stripes, so thanks for the tips =)
    Jessica recently posted..Comment on 7 MORE Simple Organizing Secrets That Will Make Your Life Easier by Christine CookMy Profile

  4. Thanks for the tips – I’m always interested in the brand of tape people like to use. I like Frog tape too! I have a striped wall project on my agenda but I’m a little sceered to get it done!
    Carmel recently posted..It’s That Time of Year AgainMy Profile

  5. Oh that is the best tip I’ve heard lately for painting stripes. Wish I’d known that one years ago when I was painting a striped floor border. Sigh. It’s someone else’s problem now! ☺

    Your foyer looks great!
    Vee recently posted..JOYMy Profile

  6. This looks great, I really love it. I’m thinking of doing stripes in my foyer too, because it needs some excitement and it’s not that big so maybe it won’t be too daunting. I’m just nervous about the measuring and getting it all right. We’ll see I guess. Thanks for sharing
    Jen recently posted..5 Steps to getting a cleaner houseMy Profile

  7. Your wall looks great. It really adds character to that area, nice job!
    Becky recently posted..Ringing In The New Year With New ChangesMy Profile

  8. I think I’m pretty much in love with that striped wall. It looks SOO good!!
    Emily recently posted..To Seek the LordMy Profile

  9. You are so brave! I need some of that bravery in decorating. Looks great!
    Maureen recently posted..My Word for 2012My Profile

  10. I love how you painted just a small bit of wall with stripes. It really accents that area of the room!
    Lynn from For Love or Funny recently posted..I resolve to find what rhymes with “orange”My Profile

  11. I’m loving the stripes! This made such a dramatic difference in that little area. Now you’ve got me trying to figure out what little wall in my house could use a few stripes. Thanks for sharing and for all of your inspiration!

    rachel recently posted..hello 2012My Profile

  12. Wow – your wall is beautiful. You’re so adventurous – I would be way too scared to try that.

    I just have to say – Jack is adorable!
    Susan recently posted..PavlovaMy Profile

  13. Fabulous – don’t know if I have the courage to try something like this myself. My work doesn’t tend to be that precise – lol. In other words, I’m sloppy and would never get the stripes even or level. Great job, Melissa.
    Heather recently posted..A Bit of History in the AtticMy Profile

  14. Hi Melissa,
    I love the stripes and the vignette on top of the book case. I was introduced to frog tape from Miss Mustard Seed about a year ago and it’s the best. Nice to see it really works on something as challenging as stripes.
    Your home is really coming along!
    Karen recently posted..{Home} Library loveMy Profile

  15. Franki Parde says:

    “Jazzy!” franki

  16. Your stripes look great! I want to do horizontal stripes somewhere in our house. Either the master bedroom or our tiny half-bath.
    Jo recently posted..Little Update for a Little BenchMy Profile

  17. I just adore your stripes and am considering something similar in my bedroom. Thank you!

  18. Aaah Hah!! Now I get it!! I have read this on other blogs and it never quite made sense to me. However, you explained it perfectly,thank you for the tips, now if I ever do a striped wall or recommend it to a client I can refer back to your tips, Happy New Year,
    kathysue recently posted..2012 Wardrobe ColorsMy Profile

  19. Striped walls are lovely. Especially when the stripes are subtle. Happy New year Melissa!
    Mimi recently posted..Happy New Year!My Profile

  20. i LOVE the stripes. they are so awesome!

    hmmmm…planning now. where can i put them? :)
    lisa recently posted..Depression. The continuing story.My Profile

  21. What a great post! As I started reading I kept thinking…”Yeah, but how to you get a crisp line and not a dotted blurred mess?”

    Low and behold! *cue angel choir*

    “paint your gray paint right over the edges of your tape in the area where you are going to paint white stripes. Once it dries it will seal up the tape so your white paint won’t bleed under into the gray and make the stripes all wonky. ”

    LET IT DRY!! *forehead slap* Hooray!! Thanks!

    Quick question though…are bold stripes like that best for a large area? or would they work for small downstairs bathroom?
    Heather recently posted..I’m expecting…My Profile

    • I think they work in a variety of spaces, depending on the look you are going for and what the room is like. I just wanted them in a small area, to accent the stair wall, but I’ve seen bold stripes in small bathrooms and they look great! If you are worried, though, maybe do one wall first and see what you think! I’m starting a STRIPE pin board on Pinterest :-) I’ll keep adding inspiration!

  22. Melissa, your foyer is really reminding me of an inspiration picture you posted ages ago, I think from a hotel you stayed in, of stairs with the black rail. The stripes are the cherry on top – I love it! The space really looks fabulous!
    Lisa recently posted..January BEFORE Linky Party!My Profile

  23. We have a 7 month old goldendoodle named Brody. He looks
    a lot like Jack. Everyday is a new adventure with ours. I like reading your blog especially Jack. Makes me feel better that someone else is going thru same stuff as us. Even before Jack your blog was a favorite. Best of luck in 2012!

  24. It’s amazing the difference on the before and after.

    I’ve always been partial to stripes but have to admit the times I did them, I bought wallpaper! I know, I know! What can I say?

    You new stripes really dress up the entry way.

    dee :)
    Dee recently posted..Small Bathroom IdeasMy Profile

  25. Great tutorial…Definitely one to place in my project files! Your wall is stunning!
    Shirley recently posted..A Winter’s Day TablescapeMy Profile

  26. Looks great! I used this technique in our laundry room and front entry and it works great, even on our awful textured walls (I despise them probably as much as you did your swine color :) ). A little extra work, but the results are worth it!

  27. I absolutely love your blog! It really inspires me to build on my style by collecting over time and not worrying so much about perfection. I have wanted to do stripes in my house forever but I think I might save it for a future nursery idea.
    Natasha recently posted..New Items in The ShopMy Profile

  28. TheChangingHouse says:

    Your stripes turned out wonderful! I love the colours you chose! Wow!

  29. You say to remove the tape before the paint dries but what if the stripe requires 2 coats? Is it okay to let the first coat dry first, apply the second, then peel off the tape? Or should I try to avoid doing 2 coats altogether? Thanks for your help. I love your stripes.

  30. Your stripes look perfect, Melissa! I loved reading your post – great tips and easy to follow. I posted it on my blog today. Thanks for the great inspiration!
    Kristin recently posted..Painting StripesMy Profile

  31. Love this look! I haven’t done horizontal stripes before. Looks awesome!


  32. I think I’m going to try black and white this weekend in my house….

  33. Stripes are on the horizon over here too, so thanks for the tips! I can’t wait to get to them!
    Rosa recently posted..A Little MoreMy Profile

  34. And… can I just say that I laugh when I imagine the future generation cursing us all as they have to sand the stripe ridges off the walls before they can paint. haha!
    Rosa recently posted..A Little MoreMy Profile

  35. Catherine in NJ says:

    I love your wall and Stripes! Thank you for the tips on painting stripes! How many inches wide are your stripes, because they are just what I wanted to do on the wall behind my bed. It looks so awesome!!!!

  36. Thank you for this post! It helped me successfully paint stripes this weekend! I am so happy with how they look! Kelly
    Kelly recently posted..nineMy Profile

  37. Love your tutorial! I have my first Interior Design job and I plan on doing stripes! But what’s a good width to make the stripes?

    • Good question! It would depend on the statement you want to make, the size of the room and personal preference. In our case, we made the stripes so they flowed seamlessly from that little section of wall leading to the little hallway, above the opening to the hall and just below the top railing. The stripes are the same height as that space, if that makes sense? We wanted our stripes to be bold so that part of the wall was the element we used to decide how tall the stripes would be :-) SO scientific, no?

  38. You’ve inspired me to try my hand at doing stripes in my powder room! I was looking for something different and I think this is the way to go. Thanks

  39. Nicole Stephan says:

    hi! I am painting one thick white stripe in my daughter’s room as a border on her light blue walls, what sheen of paint do I choose for the stripes and wall color? Eggshell? I plan to put butterfly decals in the large thick white strip. Thanks!

  40. You say “seal,” I think NAVY, but hey! That is just me.

    The stripes are just as fabulous a year later! Thanks for the great tutorial and all the pinspiration.

  41. Thanks so much for the tip on preventing bleed through under the tape. We painted diagonal stripes on the floor of my daughter’s bedroom and your tip of painting the base color over the edges of the tape before striping worked wonderfully. It came out perfectly!
    Thanks a million!

  42. Thank you Melissa!! I followed your tips for painting stripes, and they turned out absolutely fantastic!! Painting the base coat again over the tape to seal the tape is GENIUS!!

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