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How to Sponge Paint Stripes

Add a subtle yet interesting background to any room with this painting technique.

The interplay of similar colors can add distinction to a room without overwhelming the eye, and sponge-painted stripes are a great way to achieve the look. Here’s how to apply them:

Materials and Tools:

measuring tape
hard-lead pencil
long level
natural sea sponge
blue painter’s tape
satin latex paints


1. Apply the base coat and let dry.

2. In the most inconspicuous corner of the room, perhaps behind a door or a large piece of furniture, make tick marks every six inches along the walls (adjust as necessary in your space). Use a level and a pencil to make very light, vertical lines. To help keep things orderly, put a small piece of tape in every other stripe all the way around the room to denote which stripes will remain the base coat color. Tape off the opposite stripes just to the outside edge of the pencil lines so that when the top coat is applied, it will cover them. Tape off the top and bottom of each stripe to be painted as well.

3. For the top coat, dilute the paint with water in a half-and-half mixture. Dip a damp sponge into the mixture and place the sponge at the top of a taped-off stripe. Pull the sponge down the surface to the floor to create a soft and translucent finished appearance. If the sponge isn’t as wide as the stripe, pull it down the stripe twice to fill it in. If the sponge lines aren’t perfectly straight, it adds even more interest.

4. Repeat the process until one wall is done and remove the tape. Continue in the same fashion until the entire room is complete.

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