January 28, 2013

How {NOT} to Paint Stripes

Just over a week ago I finished painting the first room in the house. I was so excited! I walked into the cute room, with all the painters tape finally gone and the flooring ripped up - and started imagining. Then just to imagine some more, I closed the door, and went and stood in the other corner. That's when I noticed it. How could I have made such a big mistake?!

Messed up Stripe at Door

On the other wall - you can see how it angles downward as it goes around.
Messed up Painted Stripe

The grey stripe for their room was way off across the door! My heart sank, and the level was whipped out. We started checking, re-checking and soon enough discovered the what had gone awry. How I missed it when I taped is beyond me. The mistake is pretty obvious.

What made the stripes completely uneven? I'm glad you asked! (And if you didn't I'm still going to tell you. Ha ha.) The error was two-fold.

1. The small level I used was off. I think the textured walls combined with how hard it was to keep in perfect place didn't help, but my first ever laser level has been retired. Permanently. At Amazon's ($3) price though, if you have flat walls, it is still worth having one around for quick picture hanging.


2. I used the window sill as a starting point and checked that it was level with the broken level. It wasn't, of course. This meant that my starting points from either side of the window sill were already off!

In the end, we went to our local Home Depot and picked up this sweet rotary level:

The price tag wasn't bad (about $60) and I know we'll use it a lot. I have plans for stripes in another room, and trim work in my bedroom.

Laser Level for Stripes

Laser Level for Painting Stripes

The light runs around the room completely (and quickly) and you don't have to hold anything while you tape, just set it on a tripod in the middle of the room. When we did the second line, the tripod just had to be twisted up, the levels double checked and we were good to go!

Rotating Laser for Painting Stripes

We brought in a lamp and turned off the lights to see the laser line better, the red glasses were helpful but not necessary that way. Taping was way faster than with the other laser (it didn't have to be moved ever) and the stripe looks oh so much better now! I have to say that my most favorite part is that I won't have to wait for my husband to be home to hold the level for me!

Painted Stripe Finished