Tuesday, March 26, 2013

DIY: (Mis)Adventures in Painting a Striped Ceiling

Finally I can blog about this project! When I first hinted that I was planning to paint the ceiling in my daughter's room, I didn't exactly reveal the extent of what I was going to do. Well, if you haven't already figured it out from the title of this post, I actually did STRIPES! And it wasn't easy...

This project really tested my limits, physically and emotionally. I swear, there were so many things that went wrong and NOT how I pictured it to be, that I really wanted to quit midway. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. I just kept thinking that I needed to push on and finish it. My inner goddess kept chanting "It will look great in the end. It will look great in the end." Well did it? Read on to find out... ;p

It all started when I was lying down on the bed thinking of my next DIY project. I hadn't noticed it before but our ceiling already had lines in them which suddenly gave me the idea to paint stripes! I figured, I didn't need to measure anymore and make sure everything was straight since I would just need to follow the lines. Piece of cake! Or so I thought...

I did a lot "research" before I started, checking out different blogs, watching YouTube videos of how to paint a ceiling, etc. Anyway, I even did a little mock-up in photoshop just to see how the stripes would look. I tried a few different colors, but in the end decided to go with gray. I thought it was a good neutral color and would match the purple I had painted on the walls earlier.

In the beginning, I was honestly thinking of not even taping the ceiling and just using an angled paintbrush to follow the outlines of the stripes (and then using a bigger brush to fill the insides). That didn't work out.

Idea Fail #1

You see, our ceiling is what you call a popcorn ceiling, meaning it's not flat. So the brush wasn't really able to glide on it smoothly. I ended up deciding to tape it (using regular masking tape) but since the ceiling is textured, the tape wasn't able to lay completely flat on it. So I already knew there might be bleeding, I just needed to be extra careful. I figured having the tape was still better than having none at all.

It was definitely so much easier to tape everything since I had the lines to follow. Although it still took me about 3 - 4 hours to do it! I couldn't really tape a continuous line since I was on top of the ladder and had to stop every couple of feet to move. And I had to take breaks, because after a while, I was seriously lightheaded from craning my neck and looking up.

After everything was taped up, I was ready to paint! I HONESTLY thought that the hard part was over and it would just take me an hour to paint over the lines. It just looked so easy. NOT!

Anyway, I guess another thing I wish I could have changed about this project was the paint itself. I usually get the Davies Harmony paint which I have mixed in Ace Hardware. But my mom suggested to try getting paint from one of the stores near her place since it would be cheaper. They mixed the colors manually and this is what they gave me below. This 1 litre can cost P140 compared to about P250 in Ace. I was happy with it initially, until I started to paint. The color was darker than I would have liked and after a while, I noticed that it definitely had a strong smell*. But during that time, I was so committed to the project already that I didn't want to have to stop to buy and change colors. My feeling was, I'm doing this NOW no matter what!

* The smell was actually so bad when I finished, that we had to stay with my mom for a few days so the kids wouldn't be exposed to the fumes!

Fail #2

I used a 2.5" flat brush to paint the insides of the stripes and a thinner brush where I needed more control. I didn't bother using a roller since I wasn't sure how well the coverage would work on the popcorn ceiling.

Remember how I thought it would be so easy to paint everything? Well, I didn't realize how hard it was for the paint to spread evenly on the textured ceiling. To give you an idea, it took me about 10 strokes (really applying pressure) to cover a small area then there would still be white spots all over that I had to dab on repeatedly. My arms were killing me after an hour! Plus, I realized that my 1 litre of paint wouldn't be enough once I was halfway through, since I was laying it on pretty thick at first. So I diluted the remaining paint with water! Which worked out fine since I still have a tiny bit left over after everything hehe.

After I took out the tape to check how the lines were, there was definite bleeding! I swear, I was getting really stressed out and depressed. It's funny because if I thought that having the built-in lines really saved me some time, I think having a regular ceiling would have been better. Because even if I spent more time measuring and marking the lines, I could have just used a roller brush to paint the stripes easily. Oh well...

FAIL! Seriously doubting this project at this point...
My perch, which I almost fell off a couple of times!

Anyway like I said, I still continued on even if I was hating every damn brush stroke I did. And after about 9 hours of painting (spread over 2 days), this is how the ceiling looked after I peeled off all the tape. Thankfully, the paint did even out once dry and it actually looked... GOOD (whew!). But there were still imperfections that I couldn't let go off...

Everytime I looked up, all I saw were SOOO much bleeding! :( And there were still white spots and areas I wasn't able to completely cover evenly with gray...

Plus, I still had to paint in between the crevices but after 9 hours, I just needed a break from it all!

After about a week, I decided I was ready to resume where I left off. I bought smaller brushes which I used to fill in those spaces. Definitely looking better already... :)

And for the bleeding, I decided to buy white acrylic paint and an even thinner brush so that I could touch up those areas...

And it worked! I was seriously doing mental cartwheels already! YAHOOOO! :)

After another 2 hours of touching up, I was done. And now I can say that I seriously LOVE how it turned out!

So after all that drama, I'm glad this story did have a happy ending. But I'm keeping my brushes and paint for now... until my stiff neck and sore shoulders get better! ;p


  1. Good job sis!!!! Pwede ka ba i-hire to paint my son's room? :) Joke! Galing, I swear!!!

    1. Thanks sis! Hehe painter na ang bago kong profession! ;p

  2. nice work you did there. you are really good with decorating your home. clap clap clap.:)

  3. Good job Mommy! Super challenging but I wanna try too.

    1. Go try it! :) I'm sure it will be so much easier on a regular ceiling. :p



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