Monday, February 18, 2013

Painting Stripes

I enjoy painting. Love the instant results. 
But, the thought of painting stripes terrified me!

Usually, closets are pretty boring spaces. Rarely organized. And well, just an afterthought of design. My son's closet is the source of pretty much every toy in his room so the doors rarely shut. With this in mind, I set out to turn the neglected closet into the design star of the room. This post is just for advice on painting stripes, but I'll soon have one up of the entire interior closet makeover. You know, once I finish all the details that satisfy my self-diagnosed O.C.D!

The magic trick, at least for me, for those flawless stripes required four key ingredients:

1. Frog Painter's Tape 
2. A 4 ft Level 
3. Two People
4. Getting the Tape Off Fast!

As with most of my projects, I am the "dreamer" and my husband is the "doer."  I marked out the first couple of lines with a pencil measuring down the appropriate lengths from the ceiling all the way around using a ruler. I next attempted to connect my measured out lines by using the ruler as a straight edge till we realized the stripes were totally at an angle! Scratch that idea. My appalled husband now has to step in and take over as I am completely frustrated and darn impatient the stripes aren't painted on the wall already!

First, let me mention that the closet is painted entirely in the light color stripe-white. So, all we will be sketching out and painting are the dark gray stripes. Be sure once you have painted the entire closet with your lighter stripe color to give it about a week to dry before taping out and painting the darker stripes. You do this because the paint is still "soft" and putting the painters tape on soft paint will most likely result in a chunk of that beautiful paint being taken off.

Drawing Lines

The biggest pain-in-the-bum side of this project is getting those lines sketched on the wall. About half-way through, we learned better. GET A LEVEL!!!!!! We measured the appropriate length marks down from the ceiling just at the middle of the closet this time. From there we took the 4ft level and drew out the line using it's perfectly straight edge. This is where the two people really come in handy. It is hard to keep the level, well level, and draw a perfect line. One holds the level. One draws the line. Clearly the level is not the entire length of the stripe you need, but it's a lot better than the 12" ruler I first opted to use, and you know at all times your line is level and not skewing down like my first ones. Just a little FYI in case you were wondering, my stripes in this project are 12" wide.


Once all the lines are sketched, you next apply the Frog Painter's Tape. I personally find this brand a lot more reliable when it comes to the paint not bleeding through. You are going to place the body of the tape on the interior of the "white stripes" in this case. You want the pencil line to fall in the area of the stripe you are painting, so be sure to be cognoscente of that when placing the tape. You will need to press the tape down extra firmly. I even ran my fingernail  across the edge that the new paint would be touching for an extra seal.


Now that your tape is on nice and tight, it's time to paint! I'd recommend two people for this part also for fast progress. Work one stripe at a time and complete it, removing tape and all, before moving on. Our stripes in this project wrapped around the sides of the closet, so there were corners and edges. Take a brush and paint the corners if any and the ending edges of the stripe. When I say ending edges, I don't mean the edges along the tape. I mean where it ends on the left and right if you are doing horizontal strips. Next, use a roller to paint the rest of the stripe. You want to put the paint on as light as possible in order to lessen the chance of the extra paint bleeding through the tape. You will be doing a second coat....but without the tape so attempt to get a good coverage on the taped edges but without being too heavy handed. Once the stripe has one full coat, take the tape off immediately for this stripe before moving on. Continue this process till your feature wall is complete. The next, day take your roller and carefully apply a second coat staying away from the edges. This second coat is to just polish that speckled look you sometimes get with just a first coat. Your stripes' edges should be crisp enough from the first coat and shouldn't require needing to paint too close to them.

This process might not be the "easiest" or "best" method out there. But, I can vouch that it worked for us! Stripes just might be appearing elsewhere in our home as my fear of painting them has now subsided, and I love the look!

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