Bedroom Makeover: Part 3 ~ How to Paint a Feature Wall

Geometric Feature Wall

Geometric Feature Wall

For a feature wall, Shay wanted something geometric. I did some research and ended up coming up with a triangle design for his geometric feature wall.

How to Paint a Feature Wall:

  1. Prep your walls (plaster, sand, prime any holes)
  2. Paint your base colour (in my case white)
  3. Plan and tape off your design.
  4. Firmly press both edges of the painter’s tape to the wall.
  5. Using a fairly dry brush, seal the edges of the tape with the same colour as your base wall.
  6. Plan your colours.
  7. Paint the sections of your wall.
  8. Remove the tape and touch up if necessary.

I first had to sand the edges of the red stripe and then patch/repair any imperfections on the wall. Once that was dry and sanded, I primed those areas before putting on two coats of white paint (Benjamin Moore Simply White). It is important to let fresh paint cure before adding any tape. I let the painted white walls cure for 10 days before starting this actual feature wall. In the past, I have applied tape too soon and it is very frustrating when you remove tape from your finished project and have several layers of paint come off with it. Be patient!

To be honest, other than deciding on triangles, there was no plan. I liked the look of having a one inch white border between the shapes and that was why I did the two coats of white before starting. I began by taping off a border that went around the permimeter of the wall (top, bottom and both sides). I did not put a border around the door frame because I wanted to create the illusion that the design extended through the door frame. I then created the wall using the tape as my design tool. It was important to make sure the lines I created were straight, but the angles and sizes varied from triangle to triangle.

tape wall

Tape the design on your wall. Ensure the edges are firmly pressed into the wall.

Once the design was created with the painter’s tape, I had to go over each piece with the edge of my finger nail, firmly pressing both edges of the green tape to make sure there was a proper seal to the wall.

Although you may be tempted, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Step 5 is the key to getting those crisp perfect lines with little to no bleeding beneath the tape. You must take your base colour (white in my case) and with a fairly dry brush (not too much paint on it), seal Seal the tape edgesboth edges of all the paint strips. This may seem a bit overwhelming, but believe me it is the key to achieving the best results possible. The truth of the matter is PAINT BLEEDS UNDER TAPE, so you want to control this by making sure that the paint that bleeds is the same colour as your base wall (white bleeds on white). There is nothing as disappointing as removing the tape and finding that the colours you’ve used have leaked over top of one another. I have to confess the white boarders made this job pretty easy because all of my sealing was done in white. If you have different colours up against one another, you need to make sure that the colour you are sealing with is the same as the colour it will bleed onto. For example if I didn’t have white boarders, I may have grey bleeding onto black and visa versa. I would need to use the appropriate colour to seal each and every strip/edge of tape. This is much more work.

Seal the edges with base colour.

Seal the edges with your base colour to avoid have the paint bleed under the tape.

To plan out the colours for the triangles, I ended up taking a photo of the taped off wall and importing it into a Pages document on my Mac. I then used the drawing tool to draw each triangle and then filled it with the desired colour. This allowed me to change the colour for any given shape until the desired look was achieved. The grey tones did not match my paint colours exactly, but I was able to get the over all look using black, dark grey, medium grey and then a light shade. I wanted to make sure I was happy with the design and colour placement before starting to paint. For the colours, I used the black and white paint I’d purchased for the walls (one gallon of each) and the grey was a gallon I’d purchased as a mistint for real cheap. (When decorating on a budget, always check the mistints because you can often purchase excellent quality paint for a fraction of the price.)

Plan your colours

Use a drawing program to plan out your colours. I just used Pages on my Mac.

Once you have a plan, begin painting the triangles. I did this one colour at a time and by the time I finished the wall, the first colour was pretty much ready for a second coat. I rolled my colours on as I prefer the smooth look of a roller as opposed to a brush. (I did use a brush for a few of the tight corners and to trim along the door frame where there was no white border).

Remove the tape and voilá ~ you have a beautiful geometric feature wall! If you have sealed your tape well, you should not need to do any touch-ups, but if you didn’t, you may need to clean-up the spots where the paint leaked under the tape. This is not fun, so try to be very careful when completing steps 4 and 5.


Painting Stripes and/or Creating Clean Colour Transitions

I previously did a post on how to create clean crisp lines when painting stripes or transitioning from one colour to another. I came across this video tutorial that describes the technique that I use in video form. For anyone attempting to create stripes or lines, this procedure is a must. Here is a video that describes and demonstrates the steps.  
Happy painting!

Painting Perfect Stripes

Very few people have a steady enough hand to paint the perfect straight line.  If you are like me, I always use my trusty painter’s tape when trying to get that perfect straight edge. Despite my efforts to perfectly align my tape and rub my finger over the surface to be sure there would be no seepage, I would often feel frustrated and disappointed with the results when I peeled the tape back and found that there was still “bleeding” onto the base colour.

Please Stop the Bleeding!

Several years ago, I came across this great tutorial for making the perfect straight lines without bleeding. It works every time. Although there are a few more steps involved, it is completely worth the effort.  I couldn’t find the original, but this tutorial provides the same information and steps.  It is complete with pictures and more detailed than my description below.

In a nut shell:

  1. Measure very carefully and be sure to use a level to ensure that the finished line is perfectly straight.
  2. Tape off the line with blue or green painter’s tape (I have used both).  I always use a credit card or wooden wedge and slide it along the edge to ensure proper adhesion of the tape.
  3. THIS IS THE KEY:  Take the base colour of the wall above and below the stripe (navy in Shay’s room) and paint a thin coat of paint over the edge of the tape.  The paint will bleed under the tape, but the paint that bleeds through will be the same colour as the wall above and below the stripe.  For example, when painting Shay’s red stripe, I first painted a thin coat of navy blue over the edge of the tape, so that navy would bleed onto navy. This seals the edge and prevents the top coats of red from bleeding through.
  4. Let dry completely.
  5. Paint your coloured stripe and remove the tape.  You will get a perfect finished line every time.

You can see that Shay’s red stripe extends around his whole room.  Two of his walls are painted navy and two are taupe, but the red stripe circles the entire room, through both colours.  Obviously, when painting the red stripe on his taupe walls, I first painted a coat of taupe to extend over the edge of the tape and seal the edge from bleeding.

Another Technique for Getting the Perfect Edge

I have never used the technique below, but thought it looked like an excellent idea for when you have two different surfaces meeting.

Happy painting!

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