How to Paint Stripes, Chevrons, Blocks and More

Learn the secrets for creating straight lines, even patterns and cohesive designs on your walls.

Related To:

  1. Interior
  2. Decorating

Make a statement by painting patterns and stripes on your walls. A little bit of math, knowing where to place your tape and a few tricks from the pros will help you create the perfect design.

Easy Way to Make Chevrons

Lindsay from the home decor blog LivingWithLindsay zigzagged two accent walls in her bedroom for a high-end boutique look. (Love the contrasting yellow dresser and turquoise lamp too.) The easiest way to create chevrons is to find a pattern online, use a projector to transfer the image onto the wall, then tape and paint. Trying to do it mathematically with straight edges can become very time-consuming.




Creating Horizontal Stripes

"Stripes should be between four and twelve inches wide," according to Jackie Jordan, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams. "A width of less than four inches becomes too narrow and busy, and more than twelve inches becomes too wide and heavy. However, if you have really tall ceilings or just want super, bold impact, make your stripes over twelve inches wide."


©Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams

How to Calculate Vertical Stripes

"After the base coat is dry, measure the wall, starting in the corner that's the least seen," explains Jackie. "Use a tape measure to mark the lines corresponding to the width of the stripes. If your stripes are going to be the same width, measure the wall and divide by that number, or measure the wall and divide by an odd number to reach a desired stripe width. An odd number of stripes will ensure the stripes at the corners are the same color. This makes the design more cohesive."


©Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams

Tape Tips

"Use a level, blue chalk and low-tack safe-release tape to create the outline for your pattern," says Jackie. "Because you will be painting only every other stripe, you'll need to tape out the pattern so that the tape outlines every other stripe. Make sure to tape outside the chalk line; fresh paint will cover up the lines. You can wait until the paint dries to remove the tape or remove the tape right after you've painted; make sure to angle the tape away from the freshly painted area as you pull."


©Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams

Harlequin How To

Jackie explains the rule of thumb for painting a diamond pattern: "The height of the diamond should be twice the width. First measure the width of your wall. Divide by the number of diamonds you want horizontally, use that measurement as the width of the diamond and multiply by two for the height. Using those measurements and blue chalk, draw a grid pattern using vertical and horizontal lines. Find the middle of each rectangle and mark the top, bottom, right and left side. Then connect the dots by drawing lines to form the diamond pattern. Tape each side of the diamond. Paint using a mini roller to fill in the diamond patterns."


Photo By: Karen Melvin Photography ©Shelly Riehl David

Karen Melvin Photography, Shelly Riehl David


Add a checkerboard pattern to an accent wall with the help from the pros at Sherwin-Williams: After your base color is dry, measure your wall length and height. Then divide each by your desired square size. Mark the squares using a carpenter's level, a pencil (or chalk) and low-tack painter's tape. Begin by measuring the desired size of the square down from the top of the wall and use small and light marks going across the wall. (Marks may show through.)

Place a horizontal strip of tape across the wall with the top edge of the tape at your first measurement. Press the tape edges down firmly to prevent the second color from bleeding into the adjacent square. From the bottom edge of the tape strip just applied, measure the desired size of the square down and apply your next strip of tape. Continue to apply horizontal strips of tape all the way down the wall. Check your lines with a carpenter's level occasionally, to make sure they are true.


Photo By: FERNANDO DIEZ ©Sherwin Williams

FERNANDO DIEZ, Sherwin Williams

Starting at the left edge of the wall, measure the desired size of the square across and make a vertical cut in the tape with a utility knife. From that point, measure across the tape, just the width of your tape, and make another cut. Remove the cut section of tape you created. This cut section will be the width of the tape only. This is where you will lay your vertical strips of painter's tape to make your squares. Measure across the desired square size from the cut section, cut and remove another tape-wide section.

Repeat the process across the rest of the wall space. To complete the block pattern, apply vertical strips of tape crossing through the cut spaces you just made. Continue until the wall has your checkerboard pattern. Be sure to press the tape edges down firmly to prevent the second color from bleeding into the adjacent box. Paint and fill in the squares with the top coat (second color) using a mini roller. Fill in every other box down and across, using the same technique.

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