Earning our Stripes!

We’ve earned our stripes! Well, not literally, but we did paint horizontal tone-on-tone stripes in our upstairs converted cave of a laundry room! Don’t mind the grody Washer & Dryer – we got those for a deal on Craigslist until we pay off the swank Refrigerator and Range we just purchased and then we’ll upgrade to a big-kid set! PS Do you notice the tray under the washer? Mad props to my Dad for that little safety tip for a second floor laundry room…now we’re all in the know.

I’m here to dish the goods on just *how* and *why* we did this. My inspiration actually came from my new favorite website, Young House Love, and their recent bathroom paint job. I loved the technique and the subtlety of the transformation and how it made a small little room seem fresh, vibrant, and fun without being a bright vibrant over-the-top color! In my humble opinion, it made a pretty bland color an exciting focal point! Since I was out to do something fun and vibrant for our oh-so-boring-and-dark-and-bland-Builder’s-Buttercream-blah room, I thought that this could be a fun first step to making this room stand out in a way that wasn’t bright blue, green, or orange! Here is our laundry room before we put any color on the walls.

So how did we do it? First off, do not attempt this technique if you don’t have a few very important tools!

1) Tape measure
2) Gobs of painter’s tape
3) Laser Level (or just a regular level)
4) Pencil
5) Patience!

Secondly, if you are dealing with bare walls, then this project will probably take about a weekend to complete as you need to wait for the paint to dry completely before taping. Let’s begin, shall we!?

Step 1: Choose your colors wisely! Obviously, you can use any colors you want, but we went with a tone-on-tone scheme as the room is pretty small (5.5’x9′). I went to Lowe’s and just browsed through some multiple sheet color swatches. Typically, when you go to the paint store to pick out colors, color swatches will come in sheets with 3-4 colors of the same tonal family, just different color saturations. You can’t go wrong if you pick a medium tone and the lightest tone for the walls! And if you’re in doubt, always go slightly lighter on a smaller room, especially if it doesn’t have any windows! Be sure to do one overall color in the whole room and allow it to dry overnight before attempting to tape it up.

Step 2: Measure your ceiling heights and divide! We have exactly 8 foot ceilings on our second floor and we didn’t want to have to tape too much, so we decided on 6 horizontal stripes. For mathematical purposes, we probably should’ve gone with 8 to make the division easier, so you can learn from my mistake going forward (8 feet = 96 inches – 3.5 inches for the molding = 92.5/6 = 15.4167). Hrmmm….are you noticing a problem here? We did too! I don’t really have a tape measure that specific, so we cheated and just rounded to an even 16 inches. Much easier on the brain!

Step 3: Lasers and Pencils! You can totally do this step without a laser level, but we found it to be pretty invaluable. However, considering we have textured walls in our laundry and throughout the house (more on that conundrum later), somebody had to stand by and hold the laser level in place for a good two hours to get the lines perfectly straight, but it was well worth the wait. Start by making pencil marks every 16 inches (or whatever measurement you decide to go with) as frequently across the room as you can. So long as they are level, then this will be invaluable.

Step 4: I love’s me some blue tape! Be wery, wery careful – we’re hunting wabbits! My recommendation for taping up the room is to use long strips of tape as they are easier to get straight and it becomes a real pain in the patootie (is that a word?) to perfectly marry two strips of tape together. Be sure to tape on the *outside* of where you plan to paint. Don’t forget to tape your ceilings and label in pencil the areas that are to be painted – you’re painting over it, so it will never show and the worst possible thing you could do would be to paint the wrong stripe. Be sure to communicate with your painting partner on this one ahead of time – hehe! Once you’re all finished you should have your very own blue tape art project:

Step 5: Glazing! Mmmm….I want cake…or a doughnut! Now this is an optional step, but as I mentioned before, we have textured walls in our laundry room so a simple tape job is not going to give us a clean line as the other paint will seep through the tape and will give you some sort of weird Jackson Pollock-y type of effect and that certainly isn’t what we were going for. This could probably happen on a flat drywall as well, so I’d suggest implementing this step just to be safe. You can find Clear Protective Glaze in almost any hardware store in the country and you won’t need much – perhaps just an 8 oz. sample will do ya unless you have a massive room you are painting. We just happened to go with Valspar’s Clear Protector as it was on sale (I love’s me a bargain!). It has the look and consistency of Elmer’s glue, but it will dry clear and give you a good seal on your tape. You need to “glaze” only on the tape lines themselves to “seal” the tape to the wall so that you won’t have any leak through on the paint. And be sure to let it dry before you begin painting so that you get a good clean seal.

Step 6: Paint on! Roll it on, baby! Again, be sure you’re painting the correct stripes! Depending on your paint, you’ll probably need two coats.

Step 7: Tear down this wall! Well, maybe not the wall, but definitely the tape. DO NOT let your last coat of paint dry, otherwise your paint will stick to the tape and you will get a jagged edge. You will probably have to go back regardless just to touch up a few areas, but you can do this with a small edging brush.

So there ya have it! Horizontal stripes. Easy weekend project, huh? I’ll be seeing you do this in your homes, right? HA HA! Hopefully this will help you out on your next DIY stripe project. They’re all the rage right now and it’s a lot easier to paint over a stripe project than dowdy wallpaper, so no worries on hurting your resale value later on down the line!

We have many more plans for this Laundry, but those will have to wait for another post. Bit by bit, the house is coming together! Like I said before, it’s an adventure, I hope you’ll stay tuned for the journey!


5 thoughts on “Earning our Stripes!

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