DIY Handpainted Wallpaper

4 Materials
3 Hours

When making over my entryway closet, I knew I wanted to give it a fun accent but $100+ for the wallpaper I fell in love with was out of the question. Like any frugal cheap DIY-er would do, I decided to paint it on freehand using leftover wall paint.

Step 1: Prep your wall surface

You’ll want to make any necessary repairs to your wall before beginning the painting process. I had to patch and sand multiple holes after removing the shelving system. After patching, I gave the closet two coats of white paint that I had on hand. It’s amazing what these two coats alone did to brighten up the space.

Step 2: Pick your pattern

Browse Pinterest, Instagram, or any online wallpaper shop for a pattern you like. Once you’ve picked some options, you can use my new favorite hack for sampling paint on your wall. I took a laminator sheet and split it into two parts. I painted a few of my pattern choices onto the less slick side of the laminator sheets and taped them onto the wall.

The translucent material allows you to visualize exactly how the pattern will look against the current wall color. Step 3: Level and PaintI started by completing a few rows horizontally across the top to ensure level. After the first few rows were done, I used an 8’ piece of lattice trim I had leftover to keep things level vertically. 

I placed it against the wall, leveled it all the way from top to bottom, and taped it to the wall using delicate painter’s tape. This served as a visual guide for me and kept the pattern from ending up all wonky. Walls and corners are rarely perfectly square so it’s easy for a pattern to start veering off course.  

Obviously a laser level would have made quick work of this project, but mine was MIA, so I improvised.

Using a cheap, 1” paintbrush. I varied the weight and direction of my brushstrokes each time so that the pattern looked intentionally undone and imperfect. I didn’t reload my brush with paint for every stroke either, so some turned out thicker than others (on purpose).  

Frequent breaks saved my sanity and my eyes. Overall I think this project could quickly be knocked out in a few hours.  

I used leftover Repose Grey paint, which is the main color of the walls in my home. It gave just enough subtle contrast to make the pattern come to life without being overwhelming. I was surprised at how much it actually looks like wallpaper. 

I'm now trying to decide which wall will be by next victim for a DIY handpainted wallpaper accent wall. If you want to add some character for cheap with handpainted wallpaper or patterns this project is for you!

For more images of this project you can check out the blog post!

Also be sure to check out how I created a DIY painted table runner using wrapping paper and leftover paint! Perfect for any season or celebration!

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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2 of 17 comments
  • Arlene
    on Apr 5, 2020

    Like it. Something I think I could do.

  • Biwako
    on Oct 11, 2020

    I love the "undone and imperfect look." It is very restful and reminds me of the time (when looking at a catalog with jigsaw puzzles to order) I was puzzling over why I much preferred Grandma Moses' freehand paintings to some other paintings that also dealt with days gone by, but were much more perfect: the buildings had perfectly square corners, all lines were complete, and so on. I decided that the very perfection of those other paintings, although they were interesting, somehow took away their charm and made them tiresome. I'll take imperfection and charm any day! Kudos to you for realizing a simple way to achieve it.

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