DIY Dalmatian Print Wall
Lesley Myrick Interior Design is closed for vacation this week, so I’ve decided to share one of our most popular blog posts from the archives. This DIY dalmatian print wall, created in 2015, has been featured on HGTV.com, Brit + Co., and more. Enjoy, and we’ll be back next week!
Okay seriously, how much do you LOVE the black and white dalmatian print wall from my foyer makeover? I don’t mean to humblebrag here, but a wall entirely outfitted in animal print pretty much rocks my world. This was actually a DIY project that I pulled off pretty inexpensively, and I’d love to share the process with you in case it’s something you’ve been thinking about tackling yourself (DO IT).
A DIY dalmatian print wall isn’t tough to do, but it does take some time, planning, and patience. And a lot of Netflix shows to binge on while you paint black dots endlessly. I’d like to thank 30Rock (I love you Tina Fey) and quite a few gin & tonics for keeping me company during this process.
Here’s about two weeks worth of work summed up in one animated GIF:
Now don’t worry, this wasn’t two weeks straight of work. It was two weeks of painting in the evenings after the kiddo went to bed and two weeks of painting as much as I could during lunchtime naps and between client projects. If you really hustled, this could totally be a weekend project.
I pinned this image almost a year ago and have been in love with it ever since. My foyer was the perfect place to play around with a DIY painting project like this, because the existing wallpaper was uuuuuuugly and needed to go ASAP. I did this project with the intent of it being a temporary fix, but I love it so much I’m not sure I want to re-do the space any time soon.
Here’s how to create a DIY dalmatian print wall:
- 1. Prep + Prime Your Walls. While I normally advocate for proper wall prep (including stripping old wallpaper), this was a ‘cheap and cheerful’ project that wasn’t meant to last forever so I simply painted over the existing wallpaper. I made sure to wipe down all the walls with a damp cloth to remove any grit and grime, then used blue painter’s tape to cover the moldings and casings.
2. Paint Your Base Color. I used Sherwin Williams Downy, a slightly creamy white, as my base. I “primed” the walls by mixing several old white paints left by the previous homeowner in my garage (I told you, cheap and cheerful!) which did the job of covering the brightly patterned wallpaper. Two coats of Downy and the space was looking a zillion times better.
3. Make a Stencil. I contemplated painting the dots entirely freehand, but realized pretty quickly that I was likely going to get a really irregular result that way (and possibly go crazy). Instead, I created a stencil by printing out a picture of a dalmatian print I liked (here’s the wallpaper I used as a starting point) at a scale that looked good in the space. You can see the printout taped to the door in the photo above. I then traced the pattern onto a stencil blank and cut it out with a sharp (keyword: sharp!) craft knife.
4. Place Your Stencil Randomly, and Start Painting. I used a stencil brush and black chalk paint for a really rich, matte finish. Here’s the most important tip about this kind of stencil: be sure to place it irregularly and rotate it to keep the pattern feeling “random”. I ended up with a couple of areas where distinct “lines” in the pattern appear at certain angles and it drives me bonkers.
5. Fill in Spots Freehand. The final step is to fill in any small areas or gaps freehand. This isn’t as scary as it sounds, since the pattern has a random feel anyway. I gave my son Ford a paintbrush and let him “help” with this part, and he was in toddler heaven. (In case you were wondering, toddlers are awesome but totally unhelpful when it comes to home decorating.)
Ta-da! You’ve now got your very own DIY dalmatian print wall that people will SWOON over. It takes serious design balls to pull off a wall treatment this bold, but I know you’ve got ’em! If you’ve got any questions about this project, send me an email and I’d be happy to help you out.