Painted stripes creates style and interest in a room.

How to Paint Stripes on a Wall Without Leaking Through the Tape

by Maria Magher

Painted stripes create interest in a room, and they can contribte to a stylish and up-to-date decor. However, painted stripes can be difficult to get just right and painting them twice is no fun at all. Even if they are level, stripes often bleed through the painters tape, leaving you with wiggly, messy lines. There are a few tricks you can use to get perfectly crisp, straight lines for a beautiful and professional look.

1. Paint Your Base Color First

When you are painting stripes, you will be working with two colors: A base color and an accent color. The base color is the lighter of the two colors. Start your design project by painting the whole wall with your lighter color. This creates a fresh base on which to begin your project, and makes it easier to match the paint in case it does bleed through the tape, despite your best efforts. Wait for the base coat to dry before taping off your walls.

2. Apply and Seal the Tape

A quality painters tape can help you to reduce bleeding from your paint. Start with a quality tape and set your lines. Use a level to help get straight lines as you go. The key to ensuring that your paint does not bleed through the tape is to then score the edges of the tape. Use the edge of a putty knife to push into the edges of the tape all along the length of the line. Use as much pressure as you can without damaging the wall. This process helps push the tape into any grooves along the wall, creating a strong barrier for the paint.

3. Paint Over the Tape with Your Base Color

A paintbrush or a small roller is the best choice to paint your base color along the edges of the tape. If your paint is going to bleed through, it will do so on the first coat. By using your base color as your first coat, any bleeding through matches what is already on the wall. Though this step adds more time to your project, it is well worth it to prevent paint bleeding -- which could save you much more time later.

4. Paint the Contrast Color

Once the edge of base color has dried -- just an hour or two should be enough time -- you can then paint your contrast color. Start by painting a thin layer along the edge of the tape. Start the brush on the tape and move it up and away from the tape as you go. Then fill in the remaining space with a small foam roller. Make sure that you use a thin layer of paint on both your brush and your roller. Saturation only increases the risk of bleeding. When you are finished, remove the tape while the paint is still wet to reduce the risk of the tape pulling away some of the paint and creating an irregular line.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

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