Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gitter Done: Striping the Walls and Some Tips

That's striping, not stripping. I've already stripped em' bare, spackled, sanded, primed and painted. Then had to do it all over again, at least in the striped area on one whole wall and parts of the others.  If you've been following along, you know by now what a disaster I had with the walls.

I've had my cry and moved on.  I went on to other projects and waited for dry weather.  I tried not to look at those walls for a couple of days.

The weather has cooled, humidity has dropped, but I really was dreading facing these walls again.  But Donna over at Funky Junk Interiors did it again.  She issued another Gitter Done challenge...and I really needed to just gitter done!  So I did.  

After sanding, repriming and attempting to paint again, I realized it wasn't enough.  I had to respackle once again.  Then prime again. I am so sick of these walls!

Even with all the extra work, I still had some places peel, although not as bad this time.  I have no idea why.  Now I was mad, not sad.  Even with my OCD tendencies,  I was not about to do this a fourth time.  I carefully cut the peeling areas out with an exacto knife, and just hand painted them in.  I'm gonna hang a big honkin somethin' there anyway darn it!

But now it's finally done. It's been quite a process getting from here:

to here:

This is just a sneak peek, because the room is still upside down. I still have a lot to do to call this an even semi-finished room, but it is getting there. Having these walls done is a huge deal for me. I feel good...da,da,da,da,da,da...so good...so good...  Sorry, I got carried away.

By the way, this is my 11 year old son's room.  No, I would not choose fire engine red stripes for myself, thank you very much.  However, it floats his boat, and he's lived with pink striped walls for waaaaay to long.  He's getting red stripes.

I thought you might like to know some of the process of painting these stripes, and some tips to help you avoid some big mistakes I made, and some other things I did to make it a little easier. 

Tip #1:  If you have an old house (ours is at least 100 years old), then realize nothing is straight anymore.  I first measured from the floor up the wall 64 inches for the top of the first stripe.  But when I put my tape on the wall, it was obviously crooked.  So then I measured from the ceiling down.  The ceiling must be straighter than the floor.  Put the tape on lightly, then step back and eyeball it, both from the front and then put your face up against the wall and look down the length of the tape.  I was only going to do this once (or so I thought!), and I wanted it straight!

Tip #2:  Once your top tape is straight, decide how wide you want your stripes.  My top stripe is 4.5 inches, then a 1 inch space and another 1 inch stripe.  Mark these measurements on a paint stick and you have a quick way to mark your walls for the rest of your tape.  Make your marks on the wall about a foot apart.

Tip #3:  I put the top of my tape just below/above each mark, so I could paint right over them and wouldn't have to go back and erase any pencil lines. By the way, that's paint on my fingertip, not blood...the blood was on my forehead from banging it against the wall in frustration!

Tip #4:  If you are working up against the ceiling, like I was under the eaves, don't forget to tape off the ceiling where your stripes end.

Tip #5:  Use a small foam roller to paint the stripes so that the texture of the stripe won't be different from the rest of the walls (i.e. don't use a brush or you will have brush marks).

Tip #6:  To get into corners, use a wide foam brush and use a dabbing motion so that you will get almost the same texture as the roller.

Tip #7: Don't believe anyone when they say any kind of tape won't bleed underneath,  even frog tape, even when you press down the edges really, really well.  Every stinkin one bled underneath.  Next time I will do what I should have done in the first place.  First paint a coat of the same paint I used on the walls, which seals the tape, and if it bleeds, it will be the same color, so it won't show.  Then you can paint the contrast color over that.

Update:  Frog Tape is good tape.  I have used it on other paint projects, but I have never found any tape that didn't bleed underneath, especially on walls.  Using the tip above works perfectly.

Tip #8:  If you have a really hot, really humid week, don't try to tape the walls even if it's been 3 days.  You might have this happen:

And this:

I hope these tips will help avoid the disaster I had. 


  1. Woow beautiful work, bravoo!

  2. LOL!! I totally groaned when seeing this. I totally know how it feels!

    But, nice job on the finished result! Gonna have the room done for the next GD? LOL!!

    Very cool and fun project!


  3. Oh bless your heart. Old houses don't like change do they? Your red stripes look wonderful and I'm sure your son is gonna love them. I laughed out loud at your comment about banging your head on the wall in frustration.

  4. Oh no! I hate tapping and that always happens to me too!! I love stripes but I just can't bring myself to do it just yet. I love how everything turned out and I am with you, if you can't fix it, cover it!! :) I hope you son really, really likes it!!

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  6. Wow, thanks for the sharing of experience there! That is a wealthy load of input. Painting over the tape with wall color first, genius! Thanks for sharing and the finished wall looks fantastic!


  7. Oh Deb...it all turned out so well! sorry about all the work you had to do prior. It was TRULY a labor of love, huh?
    Can't wait to see the room finished. I'm sure you can't either.


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