After buying a very run-down hundred-year-old house, my husband and I are quickly learning that our plans for the future aren’t about what to renovate, but are about what to renovate first. Half of the house is an unfinished addition and the other half was last updated in the late seventies, so there are very few areas that don’t need to go through major changes to turn our house into the palace that we dream of.
There is no question that there will be a lot of painting in our future, so when I was asked to review an innovative new painting device called the U-Stripe It & Design Tool, I was thrilled. The tool is designed to take the hassle out of adding gorgeously modern stripes to walls and I couldn’t wait to see how it worked.
I received the U-Stripe It & Design Tool and two rolls of Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape to review. Now I am definitely not the home improvement master in our household, but I decided to take out the tool and see if I could figure out how it worked.
I shouldn’t have even worried. The U-Stripe It & Design Tool is beautifully simple both to understand and to use. The tool consists of two long, clear pieces of plastic that are joined together by two centre strips of plastic that cross over one another. Five wing nut screws hold the crossed sections in place, and the long main pieces that are used to tape off the area of the stripe are conveniently marked with one-inch measurements. It didn’t take me long to see basically how the tool worked.
By releasing all five of the screws, I could pull the U-Stripe It & Design Tool open or shut to create a guideline for marking off stripes of various widths. Thanks to the convenient measurements on the side, I simply lined up the edge of the crossed plastic with the number equal to the number of inches that I wanted my stripe’s width, tightened the five screws and started marking the walls!
My husband had recently prepared our porch for painting, and I thought a bold white stripe running horizontally around the tiny room would add great contrast to the tan paint we had chosen for the area. I decided to create a six inch stripe about three-quarters of the way up the wall around the space.
I loosened the screws and lined the edges of the crossed sections on either side up to the number six. Then I tightened the five screws to lock the U-Stripe It & Design Tool in place. The tool also has a horizontal and a vertical level to ensure that stripes are not only straight and even, but are also perfectly level throughout the room. I held the tool up at the height I had chosen and started marking off the area.
The basic concept is simply to apply painter’s tape along the upper and lower edges of the U-Stripe It & Design Tool, moving the tool along gradually as the taping is completed. When that area between the two lines of tape is painted, the resulting stripe will be exactly the desired width. The one thing that I did find was that because I was creating a horizontal stripe rather than a vertical one, applying the tape while holding the U-Stripe It & Design Tool was a little tricky. My husband and I were quickly and easily able to mark a wall when we worked together with one of us holding the U-Stripe It & Design Tool and the other applying the painter’s tape. I also found that holding the U-Stripe It in place with a strip of tape or two while I marked the wall helped to make the job easier. Vertical stripes, however, were much easier to create by myself, since I could let the roll of tape hang down as I held the tool with one hand and applied the tape with the other. The website offers great information about how to create a hands-free feature for the tool, and I can’t wait to give it a try at some point in the future!
The other thing I noticed was that while marking off walls was quick and easy, moving over a doorway was a little more difficult. Again, this would only be an issue when creating horizontal stripes. The U-Stripe It & Design Tool is wide enough to stretch from one side to the other on doorways of fewer than 30 inches. But for wider entryways, ensuring the strips of tape stay level and even takes a bit of work. If the space actually contains a door, then a bit of careful lining up and levelling will let you tape a line onto the door to ensure that the stripe continues at the same place on the other side. If it is just an entryway and it is wider than 30 inches, then measuring the distance between the floor and the bottom of the lowest tape strip is a fairly easy way to make sure that the stripe on the other side of the space starts in the right place.
Since I only did a single stripe, I just taped along the outer edges of the tool to get the look I wanted. For those looking for contrasting stripes of an equal size, the tool is lined up over top of the painter’s tape on every other stripe so that the resulting taped-off section is one inch smaller than the previous section. Because the smaller space will remain unpainted, the taped-off area needs to be smaller to compensate for the wall covered by the tape itself. Of course, there is no rule that says the stripes have to be of equal size, so if you prefer to get bold and do contrasting stripes in different widths, then go for it!
After the lines are marked, all that’s left to do is to roll or brush paint between the taped lines. The U-Stripe It & Design Tool can create stripes of between four and twelve inches that run horizontally, vertically or diagonally. But with a bit of imagination, the looks that can be created with stripes of various sizes are endless. I loved browsing through the gallery of photos on the website and daydreaming about the different looks I could create in the rooms of our house.
A simple stripe can add an incredible touch of class to a room, and I love the look of the single white stripe in our porch so much that I am planning the same thing for our living room, since we’ll also be using the same shade for that room. And when we start working on bedrooms, I can’t wait to let my imagination go wild creating fantastic kid-friendly havens for our boys! If you want to create sensational and original rooms in your home quickly and easily, the U-Stripe It & Design Tool is the tool for you. You’ll be amazed at how many great looks you can create with nothing more than some paint, some tape and the U-Stripe It & Design Tool!
Buy It: To purchase the U-Stripe It & Design Tool, shop online now
Win It: One lucky reader is going to win their very own U-Stripe It & Design Tool and two rolls of Scotch Delicate Painter’s Tape, a $50 value, from U-Stripe It & Design
To Enter (mandatory): Visit the official U-Stripe It website and tell me about something you liked or something you learned there
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on March 7, 2011. Open to US and Canada