How to Paint Your Walls With Buffalo Checks

3 Materials
3 Days

This project was done in collaboration with Zibra Paint Brushes. I love buffalo checks! They give such a homey feel to any space. I have been wanting to add a buffalo check wall to my dining room, but the rolls of removable wallpaper are quite expensive! Plus, we have lived in too many houses that were done in the 90’s. The word wallpaper makes my husband revolt! So, I decided that painting them would be a good option. This post also includes a video! Be sure to check it out, so you can see a time lapse of the whole project!


This project is quite labor intensive. I should have probably stuck with just doing an accent wall rather than the whole room! However, I truly love the way this turned out. Also, due to the fact that the paint must dry before taping the next rows, you must allow for several days to complete this project. So, let’s get started!

First, Here's a Before

Step 1: Select your paint colors. You can see my samples on the wall in the before photo. True buffalo check has four colors, however we only did three and it is just perfect. It is vital that you are absolutely sure of your colors before you start painting. This is not a project that you want to change your mind on midway through...ask me how I know!Tips for selecting your colors: My mistake was trying to select coordinating colors. What I found was that this just doesn’t work well. The best thing to do is select the white, and then select the darkest color. For me I chose Dutch Boy Baltic Grey. Then you need to ask your paint person to mix the third gallon at 50% saturation of the first color you picked. Now this is not difficult at all. However, I found that not every paint counter worker is aware of this process. I had to ask several people before they pointed me to the assistant manager. He knew what to do and was happy to help me. It is as simple as typing a number into the computer.

Step 2: Lay out your project. To start, we measured the walls length and height to help us decide on what size squares we wanted. This took some math, of which I had no part. My engineer husband did all the figuring. I just told him approximately how big I wanted the squares. He measured down to the sixteenth of an inch to make sure they came out as even as possible. Our squares are 9 9/16”

Step 3: Prep your wall. Make sure it is clean and smooth. Patch any holes. Sand smooth and prime. Even if you are using paint plus primer, it is important to prime over any areas that have been patched. Again, ask me how I know! If you do not, the paint will stick to the tape and come off when you remove it!

Step 4: Paint the base color. For us this was white. Use a good paintbrush to cut in around windows, doors, corners and ceiling. I really liked the little palm brush for this. It has the most accurate angle of any brush I have ever used.

Step 5: Measure, mark, and tape the horizontal lines. We measured and marked the distance down the wall. Then we used a laser leveler to guide us as we taped the lines. This was an incredibly useful tool for the job!

Tip: Make sure you are taping outside of the line for the row you are painting.

Step 6: This step may seem like extra, but it will ensure that you have super straight, super clean lines. First, get out your paintbrush. I used the Zibra 2 1/2” angled brush. Now, using the base color (white) put a light coat of paint over the tape to seal it. Any paint that bleeds under the edge will be the base coat. Therefore, you have straight lines!

Step 7: Paint the next color--the lighter of the two greys. Be sure to cut in with a paintbrush in the corners, along the ceiling, and around windows and doors.

Step 8: Pull the tape off right away, then let the paint dry for 12-24 hours

Step 9: Next, measure and mark your vertical lines.  

Step 10: Using a paintbrush, seal the tape with the light grey

Step 11: Paint the vertical stripes using the same light grey color. Leave the tape up this time. Let dry for 12-24 hours

Step 12: Tape horizontal lines for your final squares. All of these squares will go over the light grey column. These will be painted the darkest color.

Step 13: Seal the paint with the lighter color underneath. Paint the darkest grey in each taped off square.  

Step 14: Remove the tape, and stand back to admire your outstanding work!

Thank You!

Thanks for checking out this project! I hope you were inspired! Don't forget the video!

Here's the Video!
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Jenn Dynys
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  • Alice Alice on May 14, 2022

    I love this, love that you kept your color choices subtle, I am not sure I have seen Buffalo Check look glamorous before but combined with a country vibe, well glamorous, relaxed Buffalo Check! Awesome job, I hope you and yours enjoy it for many years to come.

  • Jenn Dynys Jenn Dynys on May 15, 2022

    Thank you! That is so kind! I just love still! As a matter of fact I just noticed it today as I walked through and thought, man I still like this so much! It was worth all the work!