How to Paint Stripes on Walls

Use Stripes to Add the "Wow Factor"

Would you like to learn how to paint stripes on those bare walls? Painting wall stripes is a popular decorative painting technique, and it’s perfect for murals!

You will want to first decide on the placement of the mural, and then paint the wall stripes around that area.

Or, if you paint the stripes first, you will need to use paint to white out the mural area after the stripes are dry.

Anyway, here’s what you really want to know for how to paint stripes…

The Shopping List

Other than the paint, most of the tools needed for this project are probably sitting in your garage. Here’s what you will need:

Painted Stripes

  • stripe paint color
  • contrasting alternating stripe paint color
  • measuring tape or yardstick
  • carpenter’s level
  • chalk line or pencil
  • painter’s tape
  • small paint roller and other normal painting supplies

Step by Step Instructions

For these instructions, I am thinking of red and white stripes...

For example, when I picture circus murals, I envision a tent with big red and white vertical stripes. Of course, you can paint the stripes any color you want, but for these instructions – how to paint stripes – I am going to refer to this example.


Paint the walls the background color. For red and white stripes, put a fresh coat of white paint on the walls before proceeding. This way, only the red stripes will need to be painted after the white background paint has completely dried.


Decide how far apart you want to space the stripes. You will need to take the size of the room and the amount of effort you want to put into the project into account when making this determination.

After measuring the room or the area where the stripes will be painted, calculate how to evenly space the stripes. Using the measurements, sketch the walls of the room to scale on graph paper and plot out the stripes. Because the stripes are alternating, also color them in on the sketch to make sure the pattern does not end with two whites stripes or two red stripes side by side.


Measure and mark the stripes on the wall. To do this, determine the placement of the first stripe. Using the yard stick or tape measure (or a combination level/ruler, if you have one), use a pencil to make a few guide marks. Join the marks using the pencil and level or by “snapping” a chalk line. Using the carpenter’s level, check to make sure the vertical line is perfectly straight before continuing to the next line.

Repeat this step until all stripes of the circus murals tent are drawn.


Use painter’s tape to mask off the areas to be painted. Line the tape up so that it is inside the lines of the vertical sections not being painted. It is also a good idea to use the tape to mark an “X” in the sections not being painted as an extra precaution.


After all the sections are taped off, use the red paint to paint stripes in the alternating sections. For circus murals, you will paint the first section red, the second section with the taped “X” will remain white. Continue this until the red sections of the circus tent walls have been painted.


Immediately remove the masking tape and allow to dry. Do any necessary touch up, and that’s it - that’s how to paint stripes!

Show & Tell

Upload photos of your murals or check out the submissions from other visitors to our site in the Show & Tell section of this website.

The pictures above are just a small sample of the inspiration that awaits in our visitor submission gallery!