We have a very tall narrow wall at the base of our stairs and I have always hated it. There was one medium-sized picture hanging there, but it needed something more. I have always planned to do something different and was constantly on the lookout for a large print or something that would be more of a focal point. For about the last two years, I have been contemplating creating some kind of a feature wall. I have scoured the internet and could never really find anything that I loved enough to commit to. One idea that kept creeping into my mind was to make a grid with random blocks of colour. I have made several murals/feature walls in the past and I am not going to try to “snow” you, they are lots of work. So, making a decision to do a project like this is a big commitment. Projects like this can take anywhere from 6 to 30 hours. My daughters mural took me about 30 hours to complete. I was not 100% sold on my plan, so I decided to refrain from consulting my husband as I knew I would have trouble convincing him when I wasn’t totally sure myself. He generally likes the finished product, but often doesn’t share my “vision” at the beginning of a project. So, here is a picture of the project before painting. You can see I had already done a bit of prep on the dings. My husband was in bed all day, as he was working a night shift. This is how the wall looked when he went to bed.
Grid Feature Wall
- Patch any wall dings. Our wall had several as it is a very high traffic area.
- Sand and prime patched areas.
- Measure your wall and decide on the size of the squares for your grid. The width of my wall was 39″, so I decided to make 13″ squares.
- Using a ruler, pencil, level and tape, measure and tape out the grid. This part takes lots of planning and problem solving. You want to make sure that you are taping strategically, so that you will be left with some full size 13″ squares. You must place the tape in such a way that the width of the tape is sitting inside the grid line of every second square. I know this seems very confusing, but basically you have to account for the width of the tape. If you look at the photo below, you will see how the top left and right squares are 13″. As you look down the grid, you will notice that the left and right squares on the first, third, fifth and seventh rows are all 13″. Those squares on the even rows are only 11″ because the tape is sitting inside those squares. All of the center squares are also only 11″ wide as the tape is sitting inside those squares as well. I have pink “post-it notes” on a few of the squares showing that they are smaller.
- When painting, you must paint the full size squares first (two coats) and then peel the tape away from the completed squares. Only remove the sections of tape that are impinging on the full 13″ size of a square. The most time consuming part of a project like this is that you are constantly changing colours and washing brushes. I use the tape to complete as many of the squares as possible, but I have a pretty steady hand and am able to “cut” some of the edges without adding tape. I am always very cautious when applying tape over recently painted areas. I have experienced the horror of peeling off fresh paint and try to avoid that at all costs.
This is a photo of what the wall looked like when my husband woke up. Luckily he got up late and was rushed to get showered and out the door for work. He said nothing. I am not sure if I will finish it today or not, but I will post as soon as it is finished.
Things to Consider:
- Make a plan. I actually drew my grid on tag board and used my paint colours to decide on colour placement. Don’t do trial and error on the wall. It is way too much work.
- I used paint that was left over from different areas of our home, so it cost me very little. I only bought two small sample containers that were on clearance at Home Depot for a $1 each. I often buy the small samples for projects like this because they are often under $5. When you are using many colours, it can get very expensive, so samples can come in very handy if you only need a small amount of paint.
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