Faux Painting Stripes

Faux painting stripes can be one of the easiest and most dramatic of the faux painting effects. Many people like striping because it is structured and uniform. It gives the room the look of wallpaper but without the seams and obvious drawbacks of applying and later stripping of wallpaper.

Most striping with paint is vertical as you can see in this photo.

faux paint stripe

You can also tell from this photo the subtle elegance of faux painting stripes. Both stripes here are actually the same color. One is a flat finish and the other is simply a satin finish. The different sheen creates the contrast and is a great way to get that subtle elegance.

If you like the color of your room already, you can also simply add a stripe of clear gloss acrylic over your existing color. And voila! The stripe effect comes from the difference in gloss.

Sometimes you might want to make a horizontal stripe like this "racing" stripe around a nursery.

racing stripe paint

Whichever you desire, the principle for faux painting stripes is virtually the same. It may be that you are happy with the color you currently have in the room you want to stripe. You can see here that the foyer in this house was originally the darker gray. We added the lighter gray stripe and completely changed the look of the room.

faux paint stripe foyer

To accomplish most striping, you first decide how large each stripe will be. Then get your tape measure and go around the top of the wall and measure and mark (small mark) the distance all around the room. For example, if you want a ten inch wide stripe, make a small mark every ten inches around the room.

If you decide they should be different sizes, make that adjustment. For example, if one is to be 15 inches and the other is to be 10 inches, then you would make the first mark 15 inches from your starting point and the next mark 10 inches and next 15 inches. Repeat this all around the room till you meet back at the original starting point.

A little adjustment may be necessary to make them work out evenly all around the room. If the measurements don't work out perfectly around the room, I usually make the adjustment over the door. I simply widen or lessen two or three stripes very slightly to complete the room. This can be a "room saving" trick.

Next you can do one of two methods:

1. You can use a level and draw a line down from each mark to the bottom of the wall.

...or

2. You can go around the bottom of the wall making marks with your tape measure that match the ones at the top of the wall.

Either way you choose the next step is important. Stretch blue masking tape from the mark at the top of the wall to the mark at the bottom of the wall. And then press the edges of the tape down with the rounded side of a spoon.

This sets the tape and makes the line more sharp and crisp when you paint next to the tape. Then paint inside the lines made with the blue tape. For a little discussion on this, click on our blue painters tape page here.

Again you can use an alternate color or an alternate gloss to effect the stripe.

To get a horizontal stripe, the trick is the same. You'll just measure down the wall instead of across the top and bottom.

Striping with paint really is that easy. An elegant room is made by faux painting stripes!

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