Since I will be using this method, again, for the One Room Challenge, starting April 2nd(Ahem), I thought it was probably time for me to post the “tutorial”. I use the word “tutorial” loosely because it was really just me trying things until something worked and trying not to have to repaint too many times. White over Oil-Based-Black-Paint-Marker is not a one coat job.
My original inspiration to do a design on the small corner that connects my hallway to my living room came from Mandi at Vintage Revivals and her Sharpie wall paper. If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve already seen it, and you already know I was even featured in her monthly newsletter for this DIY!
My idea for a design evolved from stripes, to chevron, to herringbone. From white on black, to silver on black, to black on white…and so on, until I was finally inspired by the quilting tumbling block pattern, sometimes referred to as baby blocks.
My first idea was to print out the template they use to create the quilt pieces, trace the shapes onto cardboard, cut them out, and use the shapes like a stencil, but my angles weren’t working. This is a very finicky pattern, and the angles, and lines lining up, are crucial. Say that five times fast.
I tried to convince myself that a few lines being off wouldn’t matter or maybe it would just look a little hand drawn, and unique, but I knew it would bother me until the day I died if I didn’t get it right. Eye twitch inducing everytime I walked by it.
I had to cover my hard work with not 1, but 3 coats of paint, and start over. Good times! You can still see a shadow. Back to brainstorming.
I had seen a tuotrial on Design Sponge where a blogger(Donna Yu) had created a graph on her wall using painters tape to create a geometric pattern. So I pulled out my graph paper to see if something like that would work for me. Cue angelic chorus! HALLELUJAH!! It would!!
Since I just wanted the lines, and wasn’t coloring the sides of the blocks in, I would have to come up with something different than what she did. I essentially turned my walls into graph paper.
I started at the top and marked off every 2″. Of course if you want your design bigger, go bigger. I figured out my measurement by what was easiest and looked the most proportional on my graph paper. Then I went down the side edge and marked every two inches and used the level and straight edge to draw straight lines up and down and left to right. 2″ by 2″ squares on two small walls took 2 days of nap times and after bed time and during bath time(I didn’t leave her alone in the tub, her dad gave her baths. Don’t call CPS) to do, but boy was drawing in the tumbling block design a breeze! Kinda like connect the dots. Please, make sure you use the PAINT marker. If you use a regular Sharpie Marker, you will hate me for ever suggesting you try this and want to hunt me down and cut me. Don’t find out why the hard way. Doesn’t really matter if use water or oil based. Trust me.
I think an easier way would be to use a projector to get the graph lines, but I didn’t have one, and was determined not to let this wall beat me.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, cleaning the pencil lines up afterward was a pain and took many Magic Erasers. Like, I had to buy them several times, several packages, and used them down to little knubs. So, when I do this for the ORC I am using a Mechanical Chalk Pencil with Grey lead inserts. They use them in sewing. There is yellow, too. MUCH easier to wipe off, but I worry about smudging the lines while I draw the design. I will let you know if it works better…or worse.
Speaking of the ORC….
Now go get started! It’s tedious, but the finished product is so worth it!
Hey, did I tell you about the One Room Challenge? HA
***UPDATE:: One Room Challenge is complete. You can see the bathroom reveal and how I used this technique here. I used two other quilt/optical illusion patterns:
***Just wanted to mention that Julia@Cuckoo4Design traced her pattern, after having the design printed out as an Engineering print, to complete a more complex pattern(Cowtan & Tout Bamboo) on the back of a bookshelf/hutch. This would be a great method if the design has curves or circles in it.