Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

Hi there, dear friends! So glad you are here! Have you tried painting stripes yet? Stripes are one of my favorite patterns to paint! I love, love, love the look of crisp lines. Painting stripes is not difficult, but sometimes the lines bleed and that can be frustrating. Today I am going to share six steps to painting perfect stripes- and stop the bleeding!

Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

Stripes are everywhere! Have you noticed this lately? Decorating with stripes is fun because it provides nice contrast- especially when using white with another color. Stripes stand out- and who does not want that? Painting stripes is sometimes easier said than done, however. In practice, stripes can seem like a less than favorable choice until you get a couple of things down pat.

Stripes are my JAM! I have painted stripes on a dresser and painted stripes on a wall. I got super brave one afternoon and painted stripes on white curtains– which I absolutely LOVE!


Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes
Close-up of the painted dresser

Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

Disclaimer: For your convenience, I have included affiliate links. This simply means if you click on one and buy something, I may receive a small commission, but do not worry… you will not pay a dime more.

Step One to Painting Perfect Stripes

First, you want to paint the entire section receiving stripes the lightest color. It is best of you paint a minimum of two coats, letting the paint dry between each coat. When you are satisfied with the amount of paint coverage, let it dry completely. I recommend letting it dry overnight, however, if you only have one day to do this project, make sure you allow a couple of hours of drying time at least.

If you rush to the other steps, without letting these coats of paint dry thoroughly, you may end up removing paint when you remove the painters tape in step 6. Trust me, I have been there, done that! While patience is not so much my thing, I have learned that sometimes I have to just sit back and wait to save time later.

Step Two to Painting Perfect Stripes

Next, you need to mark off the sections for the stripes. Yes, this step will involve some Math- but do not cringe yet, we can make it easy! Measure the entire piece receiving stripes. Decide how wide you want your stripes. Thin stripes, those that are less than 2 inches, do not appear as clean when looking from a distance. Also, you may want to consider the width of your painters tape. You want to make sure your stripes are at least as wide as the tape.

Use a ruler and pencil to mark off where the tape needs to be placed.

Step Three to Painting Perfect Stripes

For this step, you are going to tape of the stripes. This is tedious part of the process, but I promise the time you invest to get the tape exactly where you want it will pay off later! Pay close attention to the lines you marked in step two. Remember, the width of the tape might throw you off a bit when looking at your project as you are taping. The spaces may not look even, but this is only because of the space the tape is occupying. Once the stripes are painted and the tape is removed, each stripe will be even.

Do the best you can to make each line of tape as straight as possible. This may require pulling a piece off once or twice or ten times to get it just right! This is where being patient is so important. Trust me, you will be super happy later when you have done this step to the point that every line of tape is straight.

I love using Frog tape for all of my painting. A friend gave me this awesome tip: Once the Frog tape is in place, run a damp sponge or cloth along the edges. This helps make that edge really snug against the surface!

Take a small piece of painters tape and stick it to the stripes that are going to receive the darker color paint. I do not know about you, but once I get painting, I sometimes get so into the project I am not paying attention to anything other than what I am painting at the moment. It can be easy to add paint to a section that should remain the lighter color. This small piece of tape acts as a signal to what you need to paint.

Step Four to Painting Perfect Stripes

In step three, you taped off the wall and placed a small piece of tape on the sections that need the darker color. At the edge of the tape, on the section that is to receive the darker color, apply a small coat of the lighter color you used in step 1. This is going to give you a great line with sharp contrast between your two colors. Allow this color to dry completely too.

Step Five to Painting Perfect Stripes

Yay- we have made it to the FUN part! For this step, we get to paint our beautiful stripes. When applying the paint, make sure your brush is covered in paint but not drowning it. I like to wipe the bristles along the edge of the can to remove excess paint. If you swipe with too much paint on the brush, it can drip- or bubble as it dries. Better to go on the surface too thin than too thick. You can always add more paint, but it can get messy fast if you have too much and need to thin it out!

When applying the paint, make sure your brush strokes move away from the tape. This will prevent the paint from accidently getting under the tape, leaving a less than crisp line on your stripe.

Step Six to Painting Perfect Stripes

You have worked hard! You have put a lot of time and effort into this painting project and you are probably super anxious to see the final product. The good news is you do not have to wait for the paint to dry to see your awesome results- for this project, we will remove the tape before it dries!

As you remove the tape, pull it in the direction of painted stripe. Pull it toward you. You will need to be careful that the tape does not come in contact with any part of piece you are painting- or truly anything at all- because the paint on the tape is wet. Anything it touches could get paint on it. This happened to a friend, once. 😉

This step allows you to embrace the beauty of your hard work! Go you- look at your beautiful stripes!!

Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

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Recap of the Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

Painting stripes is super fun and can be made a lot easier when following these six steps. The result will be beautiful, and you will be beaming with pride from your hard work! Let’s review the steps one more time:

  • Paint the entire area the lighter color
  • Do the math and figure out where the painter’s tape will go
  • Tape off the lines, leaving a small piece of tape on each section that will receive the darker color
  • Apply a coat of the lighter color (from step one) on the edge of the tape that will receive the darker color
  • Paint your sections with the darker color, making sure your brush strokes move away from the tape
  • Remove the painters tape while the paint is still wet

Want more inspiration for painting stripes? Check out this post where I paint stripes on a dresser and this post- where I paint stripes on a wall. Oh, and one time I painted stripes on my white curtains!

Have you painted stripes before? What tips can you share? Be sure to share them in the comments below! I would love to hear what works for you!

2 thoughts on “Six Steps to Painting Perfect Stripes

  1. I love this! I am for sure about to go stripe crazy now lol I have a little side table that needs some character. Maybe a project for the weekend.

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