How to Paint Diagonal Stripes

Free-handing perfect diagonal lines is nearly impossible. Achieve crisp-edged results on any surface with a few simple techniques.

Free-handing perfect diagonal lines is nearly impossible, but you can achieve crisp-edged results with a few simple techniques.  Add visual interest to a wall, headboard or coffee table by adding colorful diagonal lines with your favorite acrylic paints!.

Things You Will Need

  • Painter's tape 
  • Yardstick 
  • Pencil 
  • Acrylic paint 
  • Paint brushes 
  • Paint roller
  • Stretched canvas, plywood or primed wall

    Mark Center

  1. Using a yardstick, measure the width of the surface and mark its vertical centerline at both ends. Connect these points by drawing a faint pencil line between them.
  2. Measure angle of stripe

  3. Use a straightedge to determine the slope of your stripes. Lightly pencil in your first diagonal line, repeating on the other side if applicable.
  4. Measure stripe width

  5. Draw evenly-spaced lines using your straightedge as a guide or mark smaller increments from your original line to create various stripe widths.
  6. Tip

    Vary your stripe width randomly for an artistic approach to the classic chevron print.

    Tape off sections and paint stripes

  7. Following guidelines, tape off the sections with painter's tape. Then apply several coats of acrylic paint to stripes.
  8. Tip

    Always pull the paintbrush over and away from the edge of the tape -- otherwise paint will be forced under the edge and won't create a clean line.

    Varnish and mount

  9. Seal your dried artwork with several layers of matte or gloss varnish for an even finish. Mount on a wall as a patterned headboard or add short table legs for a custom chevron coffee table.
  10. To use this same method to create chic striped walls, simply increase your stripe width to suit the scale of the wall or project.
  11. Have questions about this project? Ideas on surfaces to paint stripes on? Share them with us in the comment section below!

Things You Will Need

  • Two colors of paint
  • Paint rollers
  • Paint roller trays
  • Drop cloth or painter's plastic
  • Chalk line
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Calculator
  • Blue painter's tape

About the Author

Lindsey Crafter is your go-to crafting and styling guru. She graduated from the Fashion Institute in New York City, but left the industry to pursue crafting and sewing instruction. In her free time, she enjoys creating alternative jewelry, haggling at flea markets,and pushing the limits of renovating her rental apartment.