How To Paint Gingham-Checked Walls

Gingham isn’t just for fabrics. Create this classic pattern on your walls with these four steps from decorative artist Katie Hesse.
Article: Jennifer Kopf

Supplies: 

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator
  • Blank sheet of paper
  • Pencil
  • Painter’s tape
  • Laser leveler
  • Two paints in your choice of colors (base paint and stripe paint)
  • Mixing glaze
  • Mixing pail
  • Paint roller

Steps:
1. Using a measuring tape, measure the height and width of each wall. If you have decorative molding, make sure you measure only the wallspace between moldings.  It is helpful to then draw a diagram of your room (with measurements) on a blank piece of paper to use as a worksheet for Step 2.

2. Based on the size of your room, decide the size and scale you want your checked pattern to be and then determine the width of the individual painted stripes. The stripes on the wall pictured are 12 inches wide.  The stripe width should divide evenly into the overall height of the wall. For example, if your wall is 96 inches tall, making stripes 12 inches wide will result in eight complete stripes from top to bottom.

When the stripe width is determined, sketch the stripes on your room diagram to use as a guideline for Steps 3 and 4.  When your placing your vertical stripes it may helpful to start in the center of each wall and work outward so that partial stripes will fade into the corners and be less noticeable.

3. Paint the walls with your desired base paint, and let dry completely.

Mark the horizontal stripes on your wall.  Katie’s tip: You can draw the stripes by hand, but it will save time and improve your accuracy to use a laser leveler. Leaving the top stripe the base color, use painter’s tape to mark guidelines for the alternate horizontal stripes that will be painted. When you are finished taping, paint the inside edges of the tape with the base color and let dry. This will seal the edges and prevent the stripe color from seeping through.

Mix 1 part paint with 2 parts mixing glaze in a pail. Paint the desired stripes. Slowly remove the painter’s tape while the paint is still wet, and then let dry overnight.

4. After the horizontal stripes have dried completely, repeat the process for the vertical stripes.  First mark the vertical stripes on the walls and then use painter’s tape to make guidelines for the stripes that need to be painted. Don’t forget to add in the extra width to the corner stripes, if needed.

Paint the desired vertical stripes. Where the vertical stripes overlap the horizontal stripes, the paint will be darker, giving the look of gingham. Again, slowly remove the tape while the paint is still wet and then allow it to dry completely overnight.