DIY Raw Edge Paint Line

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When I was designing the guest bedroom, I had a few design choices I had in mind when it came to using a bold paint color. I had painting the ceiling black, color blocking halfway up the wall, and color blocking halfway up the wall but also painting the doors/trim the same color as well. I was wanting something out of the box for us. The basic color blocking was too simple, the ceiling Ryan wasn’t a fan of and literally painting the room half a color didn’t quite feel right for the space. That’s when I decided to get a little edgy (See what I did there?) and decided on a raw paint line.

What is a raw paint line? It’s a fancy term for an unfinished paint line. Instead of having that crisp, straight line there’s an unfinished line where the roller marks are shown. I know, sounds crazy right?! There was a huge debate about it on this Instagram post and I received messages doubting the design choice. But I had this gut feeling it was going to be exactly what this space needed and went for it. Without the furniture and decor in the room, I liked it. But when the entire room came together I fell in love with it. This space wouldn’t be the same without it.

I learned a few things when creating this type of wall design and would love to share with you my process. My biggest takeaway: don’t think too much about it. Here’s how you can create your own raw edge paint line in a space in your home.

What You’ll Need

Tape Measure
(Skip the first two things if you have a laser level)
Paint color of choice (I used Dark Olive by Benjamin Moore)
Regular 9 inch roller cover
9 inch roller
Mini 4 inch roller cover
4 inch roller

The How-To

You’ll first want to decide how high you want your raw edge paint line to go. With average height ceilings, my paint line went up to about 64 inches. Once you know the height, create a level line going around the perimeter of the room at that height. I accomplished this by cutting a piece of shipping paper at 64 inches and marking that height around the room. Then I used a level to connect all the lines forming my straight line. An easier way? Using a laser level if you have one.

You might be wondering why you need a line around the room if you’re creating a raw edge paint line. Well, you still want it even overall! You don’t want to look at your wall and see that the right side is a foot higher than the left side. The line basically keeps you level while create areas that may stay a little lower or go a little higher than the line.

Next you’ll start painting your wall starting at the bottom and working your way up. Stop when you’re about a foot away from the line. This will give you room to play around with your raw edge line and get into your groove of how you like the line to look. The last thing you want to do is paint right to the line and then all of a sudden it’s higher than what you originally wanted because of getting the line design to where you like it.

Now, as far as creating the raw edge paint line, I used a regular 9 inch roller and a 4 inch roller. Starting with the 9 inch roller, slowly roll up to the line until there are a few inches left to work with under the line. At this point, it’s okay to have a normal amount of paint on the roller.

As you start working to the line, you want less paint on the roller. To the point where it’s getting paint on the wall but it is super blotchy from it appearing to be dry of paint. I hope that makes sense! This is where your creative freedom comes into play. Make some areas go slightly above the line, then dip down a dip, then have one stop shoot up, etc.

The big roller helps to get your larger areas that you semi-want the same. The 4 inch roller is the next best step to add a bit more “raw edge” detail and is easier to control. You barely want any paint on this small roller as well.

With trying this raw edge look, I discovered there are two final looks you can go with. There’s the clean edge where the line is uneven but it’s still semi-crisp. Refer to the image below. See how it’s uneven but you don’t see any of the splotchiness of the paint roller? You’ll achieve this by kind of pressing down on the roller as you end the roller stroke so that more paint ends up on the wall. This make work for some but I knew I wanted mine a little bit messier with more of that unfinished look.

For more of an unfinished/feathered out look, you’ll do the opposite of the cleaner look by not applying as much pressure and lifting up the roller towards the end of the roller stroke. This doesn’t mean the entire raw edge line has to be feathered out. You could do a mixture of clean and feathered out areas.

It really just comes down to your personal preference. I’m not the first one to try this type of unfinished paint line so the best thing you can do is look some other spaces up on Pinterest that have done this. You’ll know right way, visually, what kind of raw paint edge you like. It can also help guide you in creating your pattern as you move down the wall. For example, use my raw edge lines around my room to know when to move a little up, on and right below the line you drew. I’ll make sure to post a lot of photos below for you to reference.

That’s pretty much it! It’s a straight forward project and pretty easy. If you overthink it, it will become a frustrating and not as fun. So turn on some of your favorite music, grab your paint and start creating! Make sure to tag me if you try this. It always brings me so much joy seeing you try the things we’ve tried in our home.

You can also check out the full reveal of the guest bedroom and the DIY Wood slat wall.

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