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Painted Wallpaper

After Apartment Therapy linked to my previous post, several people commented and emailed regarding a how-to. While written step-by-step instructions would be tough, I do have photos that I took along the way that may be of assistance. For anyone interested in trying something similar on their own walls, below are the project pictures I could find on my camera.

Step 1: Using a diamond-shaped paper template, I taped up the background grid — which I kept the original paint color that was in the room.


Step 2 and 3: I taped off the left side of the diamonds and painted these blocked off areas white.



Step 4 and 5: I taped off the right side of the diamonds and painted these blocked off areas tan.



And that's it! It actually wasn't terribly difficult; just time-consuming.


Oh that is so cool! I've seen this linked to in so many places and each time I hoped you would one day write up a tutorial. It's such an awesome project! Thanks so much for sharing this, I'll be linking.

I can't believe none of the paint bled under the tape! Every time I use that blue painter's tape, there are all kinds of dribbles when I pull the tape off.

Anyway, great job!

Leah - Oh, there was definitely some bleeding. I had to do quite a bit of touching up -- and there's still more to be done! But the most frustrating thing was that some large pieces of the original paint came off when I removed the tape. Ugh.

The paint job on the wall looks great!

SO cool!

a bit of varnish brushed along the tape seam will seal it so no bleeding. also, if paint is coming off in large pieces 1 of 2 things is up: you didn't let it dry enough or 2 you gooped too much up on the taped out spaces. these things i know from lots of trial & error.

AMAZING!!! I'd never have the patience, but it looks fantastic.

Looks good but how time consuming. Whats wallpaper cost for that small of a wall $30's?

lollie - Hmmm. I don't think it was #1, but it could possibly be #2. And thanks for the tip about the varnish! I'll have to try that next time (if there is a next time).

Steve - Cole & Son wallpaper usually runs $100-200 per roll. So it actually would have cost quite a bit more than my two small cans of paint.

Also, I've put up wallpaper before and this project definitely feels like more of an accomplishment. Sometimes, it's not about getting things done as quickly as possible.

You clearly have super-human patience. Which is why your home rocks and mine resembles a college dorm. Maybe someday you'll sell your house and I'll buy it. Only way I'm gonna get a design that cool on a wall I own.

emma james - I've got another wall in my house that I'm hoping to post about soon. A friend painted that one, and it is amazing. It's the reason we may never sell this house!

Can't wait to see the new wall as soon as you are ready to reveal it! Even if it does turn me an even darker shade of green. I'm a red-head. I look good in green.

this reminds me of the design of the swedish candy kexchoklad! http://www.newtaste.se/bilder/1_1163074317.jpg

Too bad the land-lord isn't willing to negotiate a decrease to your rent to compensate for the cost of this genius!

NEVER sell this house! If you did then it'd be a huge waste of love and time!

That is so awesome! Great job!

Excellent Job! Not only was it cheaper and easier than wallpapering, but if you ever decide to change it, you just paint over it. None of that horrible wallpaper removal.

This is a pretty simple and cool idea to decorate your home. And paint is an easy thing to replace when moving out of apartments. thanks for the pics!

Looks awesome. Great for a contrast wall.

Try using Drafting Tape, available at Art or office supply stores. Or better, call 3M and ask for a catalogue of specialty Masking tapes, and Adhesives. They make many. With the adhesives you can make patterns from Mylar or? that are easily removed from delicate surfaces....

OK, it's probably just me or the the colors on my computer, but I'm having a problem seeing what you did between steps 3 and 4 and 4 and 5. Your right looks like my left and I can't see what you painted tan - and what color was the original color?

Fabulous job. Must try it.

Use latex paint thinner (looks like white glue) or glaze for faux painting on the tape lines to seal them...less/or no bleeding under the edges. Also, scoring the tape before pulling and pulling at a right angle will decrease the chance of pulling paint with the tape.

If you are getting bleed under the blue tape itis because you have not pressed it down firmly enough along the edges. After you have applied the tape, go back and realy press firmly along each edge. You won't have nearly as much bleed if you do this.


omg. This is crazy delish. I can't believe you did this with paint. how did you get the lines so straight?

i'm so inspired.

Super job. Thanks. Goes to show a picture is worth thousands of words.

it took me a while to figure out how you achieved this astouding effect because your progress photos and possibly your instructions skips steps. it seems that applying the second stage of tape to the top and bottom of one the first side you have to cut away the middle criss-crossing portion, and after painting you removed that stage of tape, and repeated it for the third stage of painting including the vertical edge between the two colors; it seems your photos are somewhere in the middle of these stages, and the blue tape is hard to discern because it was painted, is that correct? how long did this take? i have an ugly bathroom wall and don't mind projects going on for a few days, so i'll try it on paper and then perhaps try my hand on my walls! thank you!

Hi Gary - Yes, you are correct, what I posted is not a complete step-by-step. And I think you have indeed deciphered the missing parts. (I didn't mean to be mysterious with my steps; I just couldn't think of a good way to articulate every single part of the process.) So after the basic grid was laid out, the white part was painted in two taping stages (one for each angle, top/bottom); the tan part was also painted in two taping stages (and this is when that criss-cross portion you mentioned was taped to create that vertical edge between the two colors).

It took me about a week to complete the wall because I had to wait for the paint to dry before moving on to the next taping stage. Taping each stage took a couple of hours each time, but it made the painting part very quick and easy. And I went with two coats of paint. So I would say, in actual work time, I spent about three hours on each stage of the process.

I hope that helps! And sorry for not being more clear initially.

Nice wallpaper.

Very, very trippy, too.

Awesome! This looks really cool. I hate wallpaper, you always have to replace it, it bubbles...this is much cooler.

Looks nice but i feel first side you have to cut away the middle criss-crossing portion, and after painting you removed that stage of tape, and repeated it for the third stage of painting including the vertical edge between the two colors; it seems your photos are somewhere in the middle of these stages

Wow...at first I thought you were crazy, but then I saw how cool it looked when you were done. Cool!

Did you use benjamin moore paint on those walls? Do you prefer one bran over the other? I have heard BM makes the nicest colors.

I did use BM paints. I'm a big fan of the Natura line.

Benjamin Moore is a great product... http://www.aboffs.com/paint.htm

really awesome effect, I know I'd mess this up somehow

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