Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Paint Stripes

After I finally completed the transformation of a mess to a nursery (aka, to a blank slate anyway), I was ready to paint!  I pinned a million cute nursery ideas on Pinterest but one theme that started to arise was stripes.

I also was obsessed with cute tree decals with owls in them, but after we found out for sure we were having a boy, I kind of leaned more towards stripes than the tree decals (but I still love owls!).  I knew I wanted it to be a peaceful, tranquil place, and therefore I was leaning towards gray stripes like in the inspiration picture.  I also knew that while I love owls and elephants, I didn't want it to be too "theme-y", aka, no crib bedding set and no wallpaper or stickers.

So, gray stripes it was!  Let me tell you, painting stripes is not that fun.  But I LOVE THE OUTCOME.  Love love love LOVE it.  I'm so glad because I was a little worried for awhile we were going to do all of that hard work and then not like it.  And then JMan probably would have killed me.  So what a relief to love it!

So here's how you too can paint stripes!  Just be prepared for the tediousness ahead of you...

1) Paint the room the lighter stripe color.  Our room was already painted a beige-y color so we had to return it to white, since I wanted white and gray stripes.  It took two coats to cover that beige and was hard work, but the lovely thing about painting white with a white ceiling and white trim is there is NO TAPING!

2)  Next up - decide how many stripes you want.  The magic number(s) appears to be either 7 or 9 stripes - I started with 7 because it'd be less work but after looking at the size of the stripe I thought they were just too large, so I switched it to 9.  So measure your wall and then divide that number by 9.  Round to the nearest quarter inch to make it easier on yourself - the thicknesses aren't going to be perfect and no one will notice if the bottom stripe is a little fatter or thinner.  I wanted the gray to be touching the ceiling and touching the trim since those are both white.  More decisions to make. 

3)  Then - TAPE!  This is the absolute worst part.  WORST part.  I suggest a laser level, which helps, but this is TEDIOUS work.  Make your measurements, attach the laser level, apply the tape, repeat.  Our laser level didn't work in the light of day so we did the bottom two stripes by hand with just a level.  It's also difficult to keep track of which side of the line to put the tape on - we definitely messed that up a time or two and had to redo it! 

TIP: Make sure your marriage is strong before proposing this task.  There may have been some cross words exchanged in the middle of this part of the project!  JMan NEVER wants to paint stripes again.  :-)

TIP: If you can buy, borrow, rent, etc. a fancy laser level that you put on a tripod that broadcasts the laser in all 4 directions (i.e., on all 4 walls at once) - GET THIS.  This would have cut the time of this part at least in half.  If we did this again I would totally get one of those. 

4)  Prepare yourself.  I am about to tell you a secret that will solve ALL of your painting woes for the rest of your life.  We learned this lesson the hard way long ago and while it of course adds work and time to your project, it is SO worth it.  Are you ready?

If you have textured walls, you MUST paint the underneath color on top of the tape to seal it.  We do this even with normal paint jobs at the ceiling and around trim.  So in this case, we painted a thin coat of white on top of the tape.  This "seals" the tape to keep the color from seeping underneath the tape.  Now your tape lines will be nice and crisp instead of wiggly!

At this point in the project we were close to quitting here and not finishing the rest of the wall.  That's how tedious and tired we were!  Things are always better in the light of day...

5)  PAINT!  This part is so easy and goes so quickly compared to the taping part.  Two coats. 

After we saw the first few finished stripes I was able to convince JMan we should finish the wall.  :-)

6)  Pull the tape off and BE AMAZED by how beautiful it is!  Isn't it peaceful and tranquil?????  Exactly what I hoped it would be and more! 

And there you have it!  If we can paint stripes you can too.  Good luck!