Paint Stripes on Your Ceiling

Give a blank ceiling a budget-friendly makeover with a few cans of paint. Here's how.
By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien
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Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-lewis

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Photo By: Charlotte Jenks-Lewis

Simple Stripe Solution

Stripes can make a space appear wider or taller (depending on the direction of your stripes), and are one of those classic patterns that couples can agree on. This ceiling makeover idea is easy on the wallet and doable enough to complete over a weekend — you may even find a use for that leftover paint you've been holding onto. We used Benjamin Moore Pigeon Gray and Decorator's White for this project.

Materials List

For this project you'll need a roller frame with built-in extension pole for reaching the ceiling; a roller tray; a paint stirrer; a 3/8-inch nap roller cover; painter's tape; measuring tape; a sponge; a tray liner; a pouring spout; canvas and plastic drop cloths; hole filler; an angled sash brush; latex paint; a cellulose sponge; dishwashing liquid; a pencil; and a straight edge.

Get Started: Prep, Plan and Paint

Before you paint, it's a smart idea to wipe down your ceiling using a sponge dampened with a cleaning solution of water and mild dishwashing liquid. Then rinse the ceiling clean with a damp sponge. You'll remove all the dirt and dust that's accumulated on your ceiling, making for a smooth paint finish.

Tape the Trim

Use your painter's tape to protect any trim or woodwork that you're not painting. Carefully place the painter's tape around the perimeter of your ceiling so you get a crisp, clean edge when painting.

Plan the Stripes

Decide on the size and direction of the stripes on your ceiling. Measure and calculate the total area of ceiling that's being painted to determine how many stripes you'll need to paint. This can be the most challenging part of the project, because you may not get an even number of stripes. Keep in mind your painter's tape width (one-inch thickness is common) and the size of your roller cover (9 inches).

Measure the Ceiling

Use a tape measure, level and pencil to mark the top and bottom lines of where each stripe will go. Use the level to connect the dots and make a light pencil line between them.

Tape It

You'll need to tape out your stripes for a crisp edge. Add painter's tape along the pencil lines you've drawn on the outside of the area to be painted. Press firmly on the painter's tape to ensure the paint doesn't bleed through. That will give you a clean edge.

Cut In With Paint

Use a sharp straight edge over the painter's tape so that the edge of the straight edge and tape line up. Then use an angled brush to paint against the border of the straight edge. Using the straight edge will give you a clean paint edge.

Paint It

Apply your paint to the ceiling between the taped-off stripes. If you decide on thin stripes, you can use a brush. For thick stripes (like the ones shown here), it's best to use a roller. Continue painting in sections until you're done. Apply a second coat of paint after an hour.

Finish Up

Pull off the painter’s tape after your second coat has dried for a few hours.