Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DIY Chevron Pattern Tutorial

Today’s post is another feature from my daughter, Kelly. I’m sure everyone has noticed the popular chevron print appearing on everything from pillows to rugs to even peg boards! My daughter recently painted the pattern onto some shelves she’s had since her childhood.

She was using the shelves in her office, but decided to paint and modernize them so that she could incorporate the unit into her guest bedroom. The shelves came out so nice, I asked her to give a tutorial on how to paint a chevron pattern.

 Chevron Tutorial:

The first thing I did was give the shelves a fresh coat of white paint. While the paint was drying, I began thinking about the dimensions for the chevron print.  I really wanted the design to be proportional to the unit (not too big or too small), so that looking at it head on you could easily see there was a chevron print across the back. I ended up going with a height of 5.5 inches (the width was already predetermined by the width of my shelves).

[Measuring tip: I took the height of the shelves and kept dividing it by different numbers until I got a measurement that would divide as close to a round number as possible. I did this because I didn’t want there to be half of a zigzag across the top of the unit – I wanted to try and have a full zigzag across the bottom and a full one across the top.]

Once the paint dried, I got the level, the ruler, and the tape measure so I could get started on drawing my design. (Unfortunately the shelves could not be taken out, which made things a lot more complicated, but I’ll show you how I worked around that.) To begin creating the pattern I made horizontal lines across the back of the shelves every 5.5 inches. Starting with the bottom, I made a pencil mark every 5.5 inches up the shelves.
I used a laser level from my markings, which gave me a nice straight line across the shelves, and used a pencil to draw the line across.

[Measuring tip: Before I started painting I wanted to double check my measurements so I measured in between each horizontal line to make sure they were all 5.5 inches apart. 
Now, I know originally I said that the width was predetermined by the width of my shelves. However, you still have to determine how far apart you want the pattern to “peak”. By that I mean, the chevron pattern is zigzag, so it goes up and down. You have to determine how far apart you want the “ups” to be from one another. I went with 6 inches. So, going across the horizontal line, I made little ‘x’ marks every three inches. (It’s important that you do half (3 inches) of what you want (6 inches) – you’ll see why later).


 The next step is to connect the dots! Having a straight edge is SO IMPORTANT here, because this is what will give you the chevron pattern. I used a ruler (again, starting with the bottom) and lined up two diagonal dots and drew a line. You are basically connecting a “peak” with a “pit”. I know that may sound weird – but the point is to create that zigzag pattern. I repeated this step until my entire shelves were complete. (This part would have been a lot easier if I could have taken the shelves out, however I just worked around them. It was important to be able to take a step back and feel like if the shelves weren’t there it would all connect. )

Painting the pattern! I was so excited to see the pattern in pencil that I could not wait to get to painting. I consider myself to be a decent painter when it comes to trim work, but after all this hard work I knew I had to take the time to put up painter’s tape. This was certainly time consuming, but it really helped to keep my lines nice and crisp. I had some leftover paint from the wall color of the room the shelf unit was going in, so I used that for the pattern and painted every-other zigzag section. (I recommend penciling into each section which color it is supposed to be, because it can start to get a little confusing.)


I definitely still had to go back and do touch-ups with the white paint, but I know I would have never achieved those crisp lines without the painters tape.

For the most exciting step of all….time to take off the tape and see the final product!!

I did have to go back with the pencil and erase some pencil marks that were still showing in the white sections where I didn’t paint. If you’re using two different colors, then obviously this wouldn’t be a problem for you. I just went back with the pencil and erased the markings, but I could have taken extra white paint and covered up the spots as well. Honestly, I was too worried about getting white paint on the gray sections to attempt doing that.

I didn’t mention in the steps, but this process took me an entire weekend. There were many points where I had to walk away or take a break because working in between the shelves was tricky! The chevron pattern was just not as easy to paint as I thought it would be, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It was definitely worth it in the end!

Thanks Kelly for sharing!  Little did I know some 20+ years ago when your Dad and I purchased this unfinished piece of furniture, that you would be turning it into something beautiful and trendy!  

Has anyone else done a Chevron pattern DIY project lately?  Please send me your photos and comments about your project to oisfororganize@gmail.com.

Happy Organizing!

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