As promised, I’m here to showcase my recent bedroom update! I’ve been a follower of Mandi’s wonderful site Vintage Revivals for a while now. Usually I just drool over her amazing room reveals, but after seeing one of her recent office makeovers and this tutorial for wallpaper with a Sharpie, something about that design just stuck in my head and I couldn’t get it out. And you know what they say when you can’t get something out of your head?
“Take a Sharpie pen to your wall and recreate that masterpiece!” Is that not what they say?
Well, that’s what I said, and my bedroom now thanks me for it.I’ve been wanting something to take my bedroom in a more graphic direction, and the wall behind my bed was screaming for some attention. Seriously, it was hard to sleep at night. I decided to use black to really keep true to the high contrast look and to start to tie in some of the black picture frames I have on a shelf above my TV as well as the oil rubbed bronze handles on my vanity and nightstand.
I changed up some of the math in Mandi’s tutorial to better suit my needs (aka to better accommodate the tools I had on hand). I also started by drawing out the whole pattern in pencil first. I think this step probably tripled my work time, but for me it was totally worth it. I was a little worried that the pattern might not play nicely with the other prints I already have going on in there (namely my duvet and curtain), and tracing the design in pencil first helped me decide that they all seemed to be friends right away. The whole project took me about 5 hours on day 1 to draw out the pencil lines and about 3 hours on day 2 to trace everything with the Sharpie pen. All in all, not a bad time investment for such a dramatic effect. Plus, I got to watch – ok, listen to – a few episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix while I worked and I got twice the arm workout! Guns of steel!I don’t have a good picture of the pencil lines all drawn out because they were pretty much impossible to see in photos, but you can sort of catch a hint of them in that picture on the left. After the pencil lines, I used a Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Pen in black to trace the whole design.
My straight edge was only 6 inches wide (as opposed to Mandi’s 6.5 inches) so I decided that rather than stress out about that 1/2 inch, I’d just leave only 6 inches between all my vertical lines. I did, however, measure out 6.5 inches for all of the arrow points because I was worried the missing 1/2 inch might be more noticeable in that part of the design and didn’t want to end up with arrow points that were too shallow.
So basically: Start in the middle of your wall and draw a straight line from ceiling to floor. Definitely use a level when doing this otherwise you’ll very easily end up with a crooked final result! Then, measure 6 inches and draw another ceiling-to-floor straight line (or simply trace a line down the other side of your ruler if it’s 6 inches wide like mine). Keep at it until you have vertical lines all the way across your wall. It should look something like a jail cell at this point.
You definitely want to start measuring your vertical lines in the center of your wall so your design is cut off evenly on the edges rather than only on one side. This will keep the finished result balanced and beautiful!
When you first start using the Sharpie pen, you may need to press the tip down into a paper towel to begin the paint flow process. I also found it helpful to keep that paper towel around while I was tracing my design to periodically wipe down the edges of my ruler. This seemed to help cut down on my smudging quite a bit. You can see my design looks unfinished at this point, but I decided to leave just the pencil marks on spots of the wall that I knew furniture would cover – behind my bookshelf and the space just above my bed where my pillows (and future headboard) hide the wall. I thought this would help me save some paint (which it totally did – I only needed one Sharpie pen for the whole wall!), and the pre-measured and pre-drawn pencil marks will make it really easy to fill in those spaces if I ever do decide to rearrange my furniture.
Once your jail cell is finished, go back to that middle line, measure down from the ceiling 6.5 inches, and put a little dot. Measure and dot the same way on every other vertical line. Then connect the point where line meets ceiling to each dot. You should have a row of little arrow points (^^^^) now!
Next, measure 6.5 inches down from each lowest point and put a little dot on that same line. Then mark 6.5 inches down from that point on the skipped lines. Connect your dots. To get the double line effect on the arrow points, I followed Mandi’s suggestion and measured one inch from each of my low points. Then, I connected that new lowest point to the same place I’d been connecting the original lines. You’re basically just making a steeper angle.
From this point, you pretty much just go to town following that same pattern until you’ve covered the wall. Just remember that every time you start a new row, you begin by measuring 6.5 inches down from the lowest point. My brain kept wanting to mark the wrong lines every time I started a new row, and I inadvertently ended up switching to chevrons (rather than arrow points) in the middle of my design. Oops. This is what made me so happy that I took the time to trace this all out in pencil first. All I had to do at that point was erase my errant lines and draw them properly. Pre-planning FTW! My bedroom was a bit of a disaster during this whole process since I basically just pulled all the furniture that usually lives on that wall into the center of the room and proceeded to climb over it whenever I needed to get to my closet on the other side of the bed. A new statement wall and a chance to practice my parkour: double win for me! You can also clearly see the little space I left unpainted above my bed in these pictures. It’s impossible to tell, but I promise the pencil lines are there. Ta-da! Finished! I’m definitely loving the final result and am so happy that I decided to just go for it and try something this bold. I’m usually too afraid to commit to huge statements like this, but I’m hoping the grand success of this project will help check my nerves in the future. I can’t believe what a huge difference this pattern makes on the feel of the whole room!I’m definitely realizing just how badly I need to find a headboard and some artwork for all that empty space above the bed now. It’s funny how adding a huge, bold design on all that blank space actually makes the lack of headboard and art even more noticeable. I think the final direction of this wall will definitely depend on the look of the headboard I do find, so I’m off to scour some thrift shops!
Have any of you tackled a project inspired by someone else? Any major statement walls in your home?