Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Handy Dandy Masking Tape

Masking tape is not just for covering trims. You can use it for stenciling.

This is the breakfast room. It was originally a kitchen. The kitchen was moved to the pantry by the previous owner. We thought putting the kitchen back here, but the modern kitchen doesn't fit in this room without covering any windows, which are the biggest feature of the room. In 1920s, most of kitchens had just a small sink, a stove and some counter space. There was no big appliances at home like today - I guess we don't really need a big kitchen. You can still cook in a small kitchen like our grandmas or great grandmas used to do when they were young. Anyway, we concluded that was not a good idea.

The breakfast room should be something cheerful and lively. Opposite from the formal dining room, it has a casual setting. I also wanted something European. More specifically, something was flashing in my head, "French", "French", "French." Then, came up with diamond pattern. I don't think this is considered an argyle pattern. Or, is it? Don't ask me how this pattern connects to French. Anyway, here comes masking tape, the super hero of this project.

The process is pretty simple. It requires a little bit of patience and a lot of masking tape. You need to make sure a right width for the masking tape. Also, I recommend to use good masking tape, not cheap one. Cheap one cannot create a sharp line. You would see bleeding. All your hard work could be ruined by that. So, don't go cheap.

  1. Put a base color on the wall.
  2. After the base color dries completely, you pick a point on the wall and start taping on the wall with 45 degrees angle. It's easier to start from the middle or a part you can tape from the top to the bottom. This way, you can check the angle of the pattern and make any necessary adjustment. When you put tape on the wall, don't stretch the tape. If one side of the tape gets more stretched than the other side, it screws up the pattern.
  3. When the first strip is done, put the second strip right next to the first one. No gap, no overwrap. All strips have the same width. Repeat this process one more time.
  4. When you finish the third strip, remove the second one from the wall and put it where the fourth one goes. Basically, you create 45 degrees angle stripe pattern with the base color and the masking tape. Repeat the steps toward the edges of the wall.
  5. Once the stripe wall is done, you start taping with 135 degrees angle. When you remove the second strip with the 135 degrees side, you see your first diamonds. This is quite exciting! Keep going before you lose the excitement.

  1. Now, it's ready to paint the pattern with the second color on the wall. I used a brush and painted diamonds one by one. You can use a roller if you like.
  2. When the paint dries 50%, remove all masking tape. Don't wait till it's completely dry. You see a lattice pattern at this point. It's half done. You need to wait the paint gets dry completely to start the rest of the work.
  3. To start the second half part, pick one row with the diamonds you painted. Of course, the row runs with 45 degrees. Put tape on it.
  4. This is a key, put a mark on one of the diamond on the tape. You are going to tape on all diamonds. Once you finish 45 degree strips, you don't see any diamonds anymore. Then, how do you decide where to start 135 degrees strips to avoid paint a right next row to diamonds you painted? This is the only tricky part in the whole process. The little mark on the tape on the first strip guides you to the right direction.
  5. Start 135 degree side right on the marked diamond. When you starts right, you finish right. You see a lattice pattern with masking tape showing the base color in each hole.
  6. It's time to paint diamonds.
  7. Once the paint dries 50%, remove all tape from the wall. You got a beautiful diamond pattern wall!

Oh well, I forgot to take pictures of the room before painting. The walls used to be all one color, the creamy color of the upper walls. The Kermit green was a drastic change. That scared Chad first. The second color toned down the intensity of the green well. I like the contrast between the black furniture and the bright wall. They complement each other. The room needs a little more help, but this is a good start.

I hope this room will be a place for hang-out. My picture is friends and family stop by and chat over tea or coffee in the afternoon.

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