Add Bold Pattern to a Ceiling With a Painted Zigzag

Turn a plain ceiling into a designer focal point using bold colors and painter's tape.


Materials Needed:

  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • L-square
  • cardboard
  • utility knife
  • flat latex paint
  • painter's tape
  • paint pan
  • angled brush
  • detail brush
  • paint roller
  • extender pole
  • roller sleeve
  • drop cloth
  • ladder
  • note pad

Sketch Design

Using a pencil and note pad, sketch the intended zigzag pattern for the ceiling. In addition to sketching the overall shape and scale of the pattern, also note the placement of each color.


Protect Floors

Cover floors and furniture with drop cloths to protect the room from paint splatters.


Paint Solid Color

Using the paint pan, paint roller, roller sleeve and extender pole, roll a solid color on the ceiling.


Measure Ceiling

Use a tape measure to determine the length and width of the ceiling. These dimensions are important in helping dictate the proper width for each zigzag.


Create a Cardboard Jig

Before marking the ceiling, create a jig with the desired zigzag pitch. To do that, use an L-square and a pencil to mark the pitch onto cardboard, then cut the jig along the marked pencil lines using a utility knife.


Mark Center Point of Ceiling

Using the tape measure, find the center point of the ceiling and mark it with a pencil.


Trace Jig to Ceiling

Starting at the center of the ceiling, trace the jig to the ceiling with a pencil. After each run is complete, use the tape measure and pencil to mark proper width, then use that mark to begin next zigzag run.


Paint First Accent Color

Place painter’s tape along the outside top and outside bottom edge of marked pencil lines for the zigzags intended for the first accent color (Image 1). Using the paint roller and roller sleeve, add the first accent color between each taped-off area (Image 2).

Reposition Tape

Once dry to the touch, reposition the painter’s tape directly along the inside edges of the newly painted zigzags. This will expose the final areas in need of paint (the second accent color).


Paint Second Accent Color

Using the paint roller and roller sleeve, paint the second accent color inside the taped-off areas.


Remove Tape

When all paint is thoroughly dry, slowly peel back the painter’s tape from the painted zigzags.


Touch Up Paint

Using an angled brush or detail brush, touch up any imperfections or bleed lines.


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