Add style by painting an oversized pattern on your walls
Steps // How to Paint an Oversized Design
1 ×

Make a Pattern

 
Step One // How to Paint an Oversized Design

Make a Pattern

make a pattern to transfer to your wall
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Using a pencil and tracing paper, borrow a pattern from a book or a piece of wallpaper, fabric, or even gift wrap. If the design is on an object, like a rug, take a photo, make a photocopy, and enlarge it. Trace the largest shapes, and make the pattern wider than it is tall so that it can wrap the room like a mural. Avoid repetitions.

Free Template: Download a design like the one shown here. Our template is designed for easy printing on an 8½-by-11-inch piece of paper. You can enlarge it, if you'd like, by photocopying it onto larger paper.

 
2 ×

Create a Grid

 
Step Two // How to Paint an Oversized Design

Create a Grid

create a grid
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Using pale chalk dust, snap vertical and horizontal chalk lines on the walls at 12-inch intervals. Then draw a grid of 1-inch squares on the traced pattern. Use chalk to transfer the design, now 12 times larger, square by square onto the walls. Step back and make sure the design connects gracefully. Allow it to bump up against windows, ceiling, and doors – that's part of the charm.

NOTE: The proportions are up to you. If you transfer a one-inch square of
template to a one-foot square on the wall, you will enlarge the
pattern 12 times. You can play with the ratio to get the effect you
want.

 
3 ×

Paint the Outlines

 
Step Three // How to Paint an Oversized Design

Paint the Outlines

paint the outlines
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Carter started out with walls painted a neutral pale blue and used Blair Gold for the outlines, applying it right over the chalk with a round artist's brush and long, smooth strokes. Let the paint dry. Then gently erase the remaining grid with a damp cloth so that it won't distract you during Step 4.

TOH Tip: To make smooth, curving lines, use a round #12 artist's brush, which offers more control than a housepainter's brush. Robert Simmons brush:

 
4 ×

Add Two Softly Contrasting Shades

 
Step Four // How to Paint an Oversized Design

Add Two Softly Contrasting Shades

add two softly contrasting shades
Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Carter used Benjamin Moore's Salisbury Green inside the lines and Province Blue for the background. Using the same artist's brush, he dabbed on the paint to create a mottled effect, letting a bit of the pale-blue base color show through. This adds depth. Any mistakes can be easily painted over.

 

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