How to paint a rainbow wall; Brighten up a wall in your house with colourful rainbow stripes!
Having recently moved, I now have a new office with more space and lots of light from windows on two sides, which I love. It’s where I create all my designs (and where I spend most of my time) so it needs to feel inspiring and comfortable. It’s also where I often film videos for my YouTube channel, so how it looks is important.
I’m not usually motivated at all when it comes to DIY and decorating, but this flowery wallpaper was one thing I just couldn’t live with!
Choosing Paint Colours
As much as I wanted to paint a rainbow wall (because of how amazing it would look!), I was slightly concerned about whether it was a good idea for the wall behind my computer screen. I didn’t want to burn my eyes with too-bright colours that would be distracting. In the end I decided to do it anyway, but took care with my choice of colours at eye level, so they wouldn’t be too intense. Now it’s done, it’s actually not a problem at all.
I’m a designer, so I planned out the colours in Adobe Illustrator. It was fun making delicious colour combinations, but really hard to pick one to go for! I also got a free swatch book from B&Q and cut out the swatches to check how the colours looked in natural and artificial light.
I put lighter colours at the top to make the room feel more airy. Yellow and orange are the happiest, most sunny colours! I wanted them bright, rather than dusky colours or pastels, but I avoided all-out primary colours so it wouldn’t look too much like a kids’ room.
For a more subtle look, shades of the same colour would look really good (eg shades of raspberry and grey), or a pastel rainbow wall would look magical! You could also vary the widths of the stripes or repeat colours. There really are so many variations.
Instead of standard masking tape I used Frog Tape, which is supposed to reduce bleed. To me it seems identical to normal masking tape but it’s green. There was still some bleed so I don’t know how much difference it made, or how much worse it would have bled with standard masking tape.
Frog tape comes in several varieties and different widths. I used the multi-surface type, in extra wide (48mm) from B&Q.
How to Paint a Rainbow Wall
Start with a plain white wall – you’ll see the white between the stripes, so my wall needed two coats of white first to cover the flowery wallpaper.
Next I worked out how thick each stripe should be (remember to take the width of the tape into account when you’re working it out). I marked the width of one stripe on a thin piece of wood for marking it out on the wall. I measured down from the ceiling for the top stripes, then up from the skirting board for the bottom stripes, making very light marks with coloured pencil.
Next I connected the dots with the frog tape, putting the tape slightly below the pencil marks so they’d be painted over.
I used mini rollers for painting; simply because I found a pack with enough spare mini roller sleeves so I could do all the painting in one go without waiting for rollers to dry. That made it a lot quicker!
The yellow and lime didn’t cover as well as they other colours. They came out a bit patchy, so they needed a second coat the next day. The other colours were fine with just a single coat.
It actually didn’t take that lone – I finished the wall in a weekend. I waited until the next day to peel off the tape – you probably don’t need to wait that long but I didn’t want to ruin it!
Was it Expensive?
My first plan had been to paint the wall with tester pots. That might be possible for smaller walls, but mine’s about 3m long and the coverage of a tester pot doesn’t spread very far. It also wouldn’t be possible to use a roller – you’d have to paint the whole wall with a tiny brush or decant all the tiny pots.
Buying so many full tins of paint can add up, so I picked my colours from the B&Q Colours range, which is cheaper than other brands. Another idea (suggested in the comments on Facebook!) is to buy primary colours and mix the paint yourself.
The number of stripes affects the cost – more stripes and you need more colours of paint. To keep it low, I opted for just 5 stripes.
The smallest paint pot size available in this range was 2.5l, at £9 each for the standard colours and £16 for one colour that was from the premium range. Add the tape at £6.95 and white emulsion (£6) and the total cost was £64.95. So yes, it’s more expensive than a standard decorating job. I only used about a third of each colour at the most, so I’m planning to use the leftover paint for feature walls in other rooms, so it won’t go to waste, and will help offset the cost. Plus, in my opinion it’s totally worth it for such a magical wall that I can enjoy every day.
I love my rainbow wall! It’s so happy and sunny. No regrets. The other walls are white, and I picked colourful roller blinds to match, in yellow and bright pink.
I also now have several perfect colourful backgrounds for Instagram!
There was some bleeding despite the frog tape; maybe I didn’t press the tape down enough. You could spend hours touching up but I decided to leave it (it could go on forever and I’m sure I’d mess it up instead of making it neater!). It doesn’t bother me and you can only see it if you look closely. I wasn’t expecting it to to come out absolutely pixel perfect.
If You Like Colourful Things…
Bright colours can lift your mood so much and literally brighten up your day; if you like colourful things, take a look at my designs! Lots of colourful things and unique gift ideas for Christmas: