Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DIY—How to Paint a Harlequin Design

It’s DIY day at Kimba’s!

Five houses and seven years ago, pre-blog, I did a project which has always been a favorite of mine. The entry to our home was the object of the makeover.

This is before we moved in, with the previous owner’s stuff. The front door is just to the left of this photo. Had we lived there longer, there were several things we would have done in this space, such as replace the light fixture and the faux parquet vinyl tiles. As it was, we were only there long enough to do some painting.


We painted the walls Sherwin-Williams’ Ivoire, color matched at Home Depot, in an eggshell finish. Then I did a harlequin pattern at the foot of the stairs and on the wall which would be on the right in the photo. For that I used a color farther down on the same strip (I believe it was called Blonde) in a semi-gloss.

I had a black Pottery Barn-type bench against the harlequin wall and coat hooks for the children on the plain wall. This was our main entrance and make-shift mudroom.


This small wall faced you as you entered the door. The living room was to the right, and to the left was the hallway to the dining room and kitchen in the back of the house.


My pictures are not the greatest, and there are no ‘during’ shots since I never dreamed I’d be writing about this one day. The only other photo I have was taken by a then-four-yr-old Firstborn.


I tried to straighten it out and enlarge it so you can see the detail.


This was actually quite simple. I was not doing the whole wall, just an area of it, so I measured out the approximate area I wanted to cover. Then I decided how many rows and columns I wanted of the diamond shapes. Then I divided to get the height and width of the diamonds.

For example, let’s say the area I want to cover is 5 ft tall by 5 ft wide. I want 4 diamonds down and 5 diamonds across. For math purposes, it’s easiest to have an even number vertically and an odd number horizontally.

Five feet=60 inches divided by 4=15. The height of my diamond is 15 inches. Sixty inches divided by 5=12. The width of my diamond is 12 inches.

Now, using a piece of cardboard, I cut out a diamond that is 15”x12”. I have marked the exact middle of the area I want to paint. Using a level and faint pencil marks, make a vertical line crossing the middle mark.

Clearly this diagram is not to scale, but it was my first attempt at doing such a thing, so I’m pretty happy with it. The red dot represents the middle (obviously it wouldn’t really be that large). The red line is the line you would draw with the level.

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Using the cardboard template, line it up with the bottom point at the middle mark and making sure the top point stays on the plumb line. Make pencil marks at all four points.

Come to think of it, it would be wise to use the level to also make a horizontal line that crosses the middle mark and intersects the vertical line.

Now you will move the template over to the right, keeping the bottom point on the horizontal level line, and matching up the left side point with the right side pencil mark made previously. Continue moving the template and marking the corners of the diamonds until your whole pattern is marked out. If you started out level, it should stay level.

Using painter’s tape, connect the dots on the diagonal. Then paint your diamonds with your accent color. A small roller may be helpful.

When dry, you can add a dot at all the points if you like. I used a slightly darker acrylic paint that I had with a pencil eraser as a stamp.

I hope you can make sense of that. If you’d like to do this at some point, I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Just leave a comment or email me.

Please enter my Lisa Leonard Designs giveaway!


Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

It's beautiful, Holly!! I love the little detail with the dots in a slightly different shade. Very pretty. :)

Lisa said...

love it, so glad you did this (tutorial) I have always wanted to try this but ... didn't know where to start~! Thank you

Kim @ Cheap Chic Home said...

This turned out so pretty. I love harlequin and never know quite where to use it.

Laurel @ Ducks in a Row said...

OOOh - I love it. Thanks for the tutorial!

Anonymous said...

Thanks...this looks like I could do it.