You may know that I recently redid my daughter’s bedroom. It was one of the cheapest and quickest makeovers I’ve ever done and one reason is because I didn’t repaint the room. Yay me! But I did paint a chevron pattern on one wall. The one behind her bed. She wanted a LARGE chevron pattern, which I wasn’t a big fan of at first, but I think it turned out great! And, it meant less taping for me!!
There are lots of options for painting a chevron wall, including using a stencil. If you want to go that route I’d suggest Cutting Edge Stencils. I had a good experience with their stencils when I painted my Birch Tree Wall. But I didn’t want to pay for a stencil or wait for it to arrive, so I just decided to tape it out.
1. Measure wall and plan pattern on paper
I highly recommend drawing your pattern on a piece of paper first. It doesn’t have to be perfectly to scale, but it will help with planning things, like how many chevrons, and which ones to paint. My daughter wanted thick chevrons, so I decided to do 3 chunky white chevrons across her wall. I decided to do 5 peaks so there would be a good amount of up and down action going on. If you want a less busy look, go with fewer peaks.
**You need to make a decision about how many chevrons and peaks you want OR how thick you want the chevrons to be. The formulas will help you calculate the other.**
If you ask for help in the comments, you need to give me more info than just the length and width of your room. I need to know how many chevrons/peaks you want. You can also ask to make it look just like mine. If you only send me the dimensions, but don’t tell me what you want done with them, I will be at a loss. Thanks
How to Calculate Horizontal Grid Lines
This might be a little technical, but if you know how many chevrons you want, you can use this formula height/2x = space between horizontal lines. x = the number of chevrons. For example, if your ceiling height is 90 inches and you want 3 white chevrons, this is how far apart to draw your lines… 90/2(3) = 15. You will end up with 5 horizontal lines spaced 15 inches apart. The number of horizontal grid lines = 2x-1.
How to Calculate Vertical Grid Lines
Use the same formula to figure out how many vertical lines to draw and how far apart, but let’s use y this time. y = the number of peaks. width/2y = space between vertical lines. The number of vertical grid lines = 2y-1.
It’s not as tricky as it sounds, but feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you don’t get it, don’t feel bad, I used to be a high school math teacher.
Update: I was asked about a wall that is 8′ high, 150.5″ long and the reader wants 12″ wide chevrons with only 4 peaks (as opposed to my 5).
Horizontal Grid Lines
The height is easy, make lines every 12″ up the side of the wall. You’re fine if you want to stop armed with only that knowledge.
There will be 7 horizontal lines for 8 “stripes.” The formula is 96/2x = 12. We are solving for x this time because the “problem” stated that the chevrons should be 12″ thick. (So unlike the example above, the inches were given, but the # of chevrons was unknown.) x = 4 Which means there will be 4 chevrons. (There are also 4 peaks, but that is just a coincidence)
In the picture below, the lines already on the paper are the horizontal lines. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.
Vertical Grid Lines
For the requested 4 peaks, use the second formula 2y-1 = # of vertical grid lines. This formula will not tell you how many inches apart to make the marks, only how many marks you need. y= # of peaks
Fill in 4 for y… 2(4) – 1 = 7. This means you will have 7 vertical grid lines. So you need to make 7 marks along the baseboard. To space the 7 vertical lines (marks) out without using another equation, you can split the 150.5″ wall in half first (at 75 1/4″). Then split the halves in half (at about 37 1/5″ each). Finally split the quarters in half (at about 18 3/4″). This is the method you would use on paper. I didn’t measure anything when I drew my diagram, I just split the rectangle in half, then quarters, then eighths.
2. Draw grid on the wall
Whatever grid you came up with on paper, it’s time to transfer it to the wall. I started with the horizontal lines, but it doesn’t matter. I marked my increments in the left corner and used a level to draw a straight line all the way to the right corner. I did this with pencil. (My pictures have darker lines, I had to add these in Photoshop, because the pencil lines were not dark enough. But rest assured, the darker lines are drawn right on top of my pencil marks.) Then I drew the vertical lines by marking off my increments just above the baseboard and using a level to carry the lines all the way to the ceiling. Note: If you trust yourself you can save some time erasing later by not drawing the complete line, simply make a mark where your horizontal intercepts your vertical line. When in doubt, draw the lines all the way across.
3. Tape from corner to corner of each square
There is no need to draw the diagonal lines, just tape them off. Refer to your diagram so you know which areas to tape around. EVERY square will have an invisible diagonal line drawn through it, but sometimes you tape above the diagonal and sometimes you tape below. You tape INSIDE your background areas and OUTSIDE the areas you are going to paint white. If you mess this up, it’s not the end of the world. You’ll just have two different size chevrons. Your white portion will be smaller than your background portion. I’ve seen lots of pictures on the web where people have messed this part up and not even known it. I like to put scrap pieces of tape in the areas I’m NOT going to paint, so I can remember which area is which. Hopefully the pictures will help clarify.
Tip for getting crisp corners
Go ahead and let the tape overhang while you’re taping the diagonals. It’s easy to fix in three simple steps (does anyone else watch Special Agent Oso??). Remember, you only need to trim off the inside corners. For each chevron, the inside corners are on the bottom of the upper piece of tape and the top of the lower piece. And yes, I know sentences like that never really make sense to the reader, but I had to say it.
Here’s the overlapping tape. (This doesn’t count as a step)Pull off from the wall a little bit. Make sure to keep the two pieces of tape stuck together.Trim the excess with scissors. That’s right, no razor blade needed!Then reattach tape to wall.
4. Lock in the tape with paint
This step is crucial if you don’t want to do any touch-ups after you take the tape off. After you finish taping the wall, paint the INSIDE edge of the tape with the background wall color. Some of this paint will seep under the tape, but that’s okay because it’s the same color as the paint underneath it. This “locks in” the tape so none of the new color (white in my case) can seep under. Allow the background color to dry completely, then paint the chevron color as you would normally paint.
5. Paint the chevrons
6. Remove the tape
Don’t let the paint dry! Remove the tape as soon as you’re finished painting. Here’s a video I didn’t know my 6-year-old daughter was taking of me. But it sure does show you how crisp the lines look as soon as the paint comes off. http://youtu.be/6Gh3Z4SieH8
That’s it! Be sure to read about the rest of the makeover. Here’s my little videographer.It looks a lot better now, doesn’t it?