I always thought I knew how to paint stripes.

I always thought that my days as a stripe painting rock star were around the corner if I just applied myself.

I also thought I could be the hula hoop champion of fourth grade….and then I lost in the final round when we were supposed to double hula hoop and then one of the hoops oddly got caught on my charm bracelet and fell to the ground….

….along with my dreams of hula hoop stardom on the Electric Company.

A hula hooping championship was out of my reach…but painting stripes….how hard could it be?

But every time I went to paint….the wall would just stare at me and I would get all intimidated and I would have visions of wiggles and bumps and completely not straight stripes.



And then I started decorating a gatehouse….on a budget….that had a kitchen with a wall that didn’t stare at me anymore.

It spoke to me.

About gray and white stripes.

And manners written in orange letters.


So I read this post from one of my favorite bloggers….

….and took the plunge.

And just in case you have a wall that’s calling for stripes….here’s what I learned along the way.

Here are my top five tips for painting stripes.

Gatehouse beforeTip Number 1:  Determine the width of your stripes

Read this before starting any stripe project.

Pin it or write it down so you remember because this tip will make all the difference:

An odd number of stripes is perfect.

To determine the width of my stripes….I measured from ceiling to floor.  The room height was 96.25.

Then I used Beth’s tip:  for skinny stripes divide by 9….for medium stripes divide by 7….for thicker stripes divide by 9.

I wanted medium stripes so I divided 96.25 by 7 and each stripe was 13.75.

I included the base molding because my bottom stripe and top stripe were both white…..on purpose.

If you want to save taping…make your top stripe and bottom stripe (remember…you have odd numbers) whatever your base color is.

So much less taping.

Tip Number 2:  Score your tape

It has an edge lock protector.

Take a card (I used my Kroger super saver card) and run it along the edges…..pressing firmly.

That way you can make sure that all the tape is firmly attached to the wall and your stripes will not be wiggly or bumpy or paint splattered.


Tip Number 3:  Tape properly

Mark the stripes you are not going to paint.  I know this seems elementary….but when you are in the middle of painting….it’s easy to forget.

Also…make sure that you tape the inside of the stripes you are not going to paint.

All the stripes you are painting should be taped on the outside.

Tip number three comes from experience…..and a lot of re-taping. 🙂


Tip Number Four:  Pull tape towards wet paint

After you paint the stripes…for the crispest, cleanest stripes….pull the tape right away.

And when you remove the tape…pull it off in the direction of the wet paint.

That way….any drips of wet paint go back onto the stripe.


Tip Number Five:  Your paint will look darker next to a lighter color

This is so important.

When picking a paint color for your stripe….go lighter.

For example, I painted the base coat SW Alabaster.  When I picked my gray….I went with a really light gray SW Silverplate.  I knew that the white paint would make the gray look so much darker.

SW Silverplate on the wall against the white looks so much darker.

Tip number five comes from experience…and a lot of re-painting.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I love this simple ice bucket DIY, on Wood Grain Cottage's web site.

  2. Image for Faune Faune

    I love all the things you can do with pallet wood and this room was totally transformed.

  3. Image for Regina Regina OK, so I've posted THIS POST! Your tutorial on painting stripes makes me think maybe, just maybe, I could DO THIS! And I love Home Depot . . . :)

  4. Image for Lara Lara

    I would love to make a hand painted sign.....I'm just not sure if I have the patience for it.

  5. Image for Colleen P Colleen P

    In a tribute to Electric Company...your tutorial (which you swear you're not good at doing) was AWWWEE-SOME, "Awesome"...hope you get the reference...I couldn't help but remember the Electric Company segment where they sounded out the words and all you saw were the sides of their faces with words coming out. Okay, on with it...because of your awesome tutorial, I pick you!

  6. Image for Rebecca H Rebecca H

    I just got a beautiful old wood desk from my neighbors who are moving out of their house, and I absolutely love it. However, it is stained very dark brown, which is nice but won't fit in with my decor, so I'm hoping to paint it like this:

  7. Image for Trina @ afewmineradjustments Trina @ afewmineradjustments

    Well, your stripes are by far my favorite. Like I said yesterday...I have never met a stripe I didn't love! And here is my big summer is major for us. We tackled our front porch! There is lemonade being served if you are so inclined to stop by!

  8. Image for Elizabeth@ Blue Clear Sky Elizabeth@ Blue Clear Sky

    I'm hoping to try stripes in one of our bathrooms soon. Thanks for the tips! I am wanting to paint our front door and railing and a gift card would come in handy. Thanks for the chance. Here's a link to a door painted a fun color using Behr Premium Plus Ultra:

  9. Image for erin erin

    your stripes are sooo stinkin cute, especially with the manners added! i am shamelessly linkin to one of my own projects, where i updated my 1970's stone fireplace using a grey wash...enjoy!

  10. Image for Catherine McD Catherine McD

    Love all your tips and the beautiful results of all your projects! Came across some inexpensive burlap in all sorts of colors from then found this site illustrating clever burlap art with unlimited design possibilities!

  11. Image for Jill Jill

    I painted two-tone green stripes in my townhouse kitchen years ago. The blue painter's tape back then didn't have edge guard and it was tricky to get perfect lines. I could use the $75.00 gift card on an upcoming DIY project. Since we can post a link to any DIY project, I'll share my latest DIY project--my purple front porch makeover. So colorful and fun. Here's a link:

  12. Image for Paula Paula

    I love this nightstand project from liz marie blog. First time I heard of rub 'n buff and now it's one of my go-to faves!

  13. Image for Sheryll & Critters. Sheryll & Critters.

    Karianne, is the Gatehouse your play room or are you going to start a store? I know I ask the darnedest questions. Am I allowed to leave two links if I can't pick just one? This link is to one of my most all time favorite DIY posts....... wait there are so very many of them..... this is truly difficult for me. You should read it all, cause I am so very impressed with the way she did the bath/shower surround over or added to it..... just gorgeous. I look at it frequently cause it is my inspiration photo for someday doing mine.

  14. Image for Cheryl B Cheryl B

    This summer I'm focusing on my flower gardens and found this diy link to be the most helpful to me. It made a huge difference right away --

  15. Image for Cheryl B Cheryl B

    KariAnne, By the way, there's a typo in your post about the thicker stripes... I think you meant to say "divide by five" - not by 9.

  16. Image for annie @ annie hearts annie @ annie hearts

    KariAnne, Your tutorials just keep getting better and better! Your mom would be proud. :) I put some red dye in my environmentally sustainable dish soap. It's beautiful and perfectly safe to use for our fish, as opposed to most of the store-bought kind with red dye: Thanks for the opportunity to win! Annie XO

  17. Image for Christine Christine

    Karianne, I want to copy this pretty wreath but make it Halloweeny-ish.

  18. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Wow, Miz karianne...this is really awesome information! I seriously admire your "go forth and conquer" attitude.....Lawsy, I wish I had just half your resolve. I recently saw something that Diane, from In My Own Style, has created on her blog to help countless numbers of wannabe's, like myself, to be successful. Here's the link to How to Paint Anything:

  19. Image for Susan Susan

    So many great ones out there but I've gotta say, yours is my fave!! Love the stripes and the cute messages as well. So creative!!

  20. Image for Glenda A Glenda A

    I am wanting to paint stripes in the powder room. Your article today has been helpful. Thanks love your blog!

  21. Image for Airyckah Airyckah

    I can't find the blog's exact post but it's yours about the painted master bedroom floors so i'll post this link to your master bedroom It's what made me decide to paint out living room floors and started my whole living room makeover!

  22. Image for gina gina

    Great tutorial! Love all your paint projects like the painted concrete, but this was a memorable transformation:

  23. Image for Susan M. Susan M.

    Two projects on the list -- striped walls for a bathroom re-do at my daughter's house, (but then you probably already knew that -- why else would your tute be so timely???) ;>) But what I'm really excited about is making and painting a "big girl" bed for my 2.5 yr. old granddaughter using Kristi ( as inspiration. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  24. Image for Jen W Jen W

    I have a friend visiting from Texas in October and that gift card would go a long way in redecorating our guest bedroom! Your "shop your house" posts have been helpful on that as well. Here is my latest painting project: Updating an old frame. I've got a few that could use a boost and a bright color would be fantastic! Thanks for the giveaway!

  25. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    I like the painted outdoor furniture - frugal brilliance! PS your stripes look great!

  26. Image for Nell Nell

    You are so clever! And so funny! I do so enjoy your blog. Thank you for the opportunity to win the gift card. I spend lots of time (and money) at the Home Depot. If I were to win I would like to make this shutter console table.

  27. Image for Becah Becah

    Shouldn't it read "….for thicker stripes divide by 6?" Another neat tip for painting stripes from I Heart Organizing is to paint some of the base color over the paint before you do the accent color : The tutorial I would like to do this summer is for a fire pit-

  28. Image for Diane Diane

    You always make it look so easy! I guess that's because you have great ideas that are actually executable by normal people, ha ha! I love that wall! ~Diane

  29. Image for Hannah Hannah

    My favorite would have to be making a memo board. It is exactly what I was needed in my craft room.

  30. Image for kolpin kolpin

    i love this moroccan inspired bench makeover, although i’m not sure I’m artistic enough to do it myself:

  31. Image for Kenny Kenny

    I love the look of this dining caddy from

  32. Image for Kym V. Kym V.

    Hello! I just started reading your blog and just love it! This strip painting tutorial is awesome too. Question though, how did you paint the letters/manners? I would love incorporating this into a nursery but with either cool sayings like "dream big" or something but am nervous about getting the words straight. Is that tutorial somewhere on your site?

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