DIY Paint Pen Wallpaper Walls

faux bamboo wallpaper paint pen wallsI’m getting into the wall details of this dressing room that I shared yesterday. In lieu of wallpaper, I drew on the walls with a paint marker. It was a pretty straight forward, though labor intensive, process. This is a GREAT alternative to wallpaper if you have a steady hand and a few hours. You get the look of wallpaper without the price, pasting, or permanence. This cost me a whopping six dollars, a few hours, and when I am inevitably ready for a change, all I have to do is paint over it.

I took cues from actual wallpaper in my design. I have long adored this abstract Polynesian wallpaper goodness – and EVERYTHING – in this kitchen makeover from Emily Hendersonemily henderson retro polynesianI also really liked this white and gold Farrow & Ball wall paper and, while I like the white on gold better, this seemed like a more approachable colorway for this project.Farrowandballbamboowallpaper

I used an extra wide DecoColor acrylic paint marker in gold. I only needed one, with ink to spare. The color is a brassier (leans greenish) metallic with a reflective shine but no glitter. The walls in this room were already semi-gloss white to start with (Behr Plus Ultra in bright white) because this area is sort of part of the master bath. I’m sure drawing over a matte surface would give more grip, but the semi-gloss was completely do-able.
deco color paint marker

decocolor paint marker extra wide

decocolor paint marker gold

paint pen walls bamboo

drawing on wallsI did a few practice rounds on some large cardboard sheets and expected that to be sufficient for a precision job, but it really wasn’t. The scale and the surface texture were all wrong. So the actual drawing on the wall part took some trial and error before I found a rhythm. You can see where I began on that back wall in the photo below. I still hadn’t found the right angle and pressure. The marker tip is big and blocky and you really need to slow down and press hard to get the best ink flow. Not great factors for the loose freehand I was anticipating. What ended up working best for me was making my pattern smaller, tighter and more linear for the cleanest lines and richest color.

This ink can’t be wiped away so if you make a mistake you’ll need to paint over what you can’t live with (I’d like to re-do that wonky back wall one day. Not today). But don’t let that stop you from trying this! Depending on your freehand confidence, you don’t need mad drawing skillz, just guts and a plan. If you can embrace the hand-drawn, painterly quality of the process things will come out just fine, like extra fancy handmade wallpaper…or at least that’s what I tell myself.sputnik light warhol

faux bamboo wallpaper paint pen walls

bamboo wall paper

faux bamboo wallpaper paint pen wallsI’m gonna reiterate one fact before I go. This is a tedious process. This small space took me 3 hours – way longer than my 45 minute estimation. That was a bummer but the result was, for sure, worth the time. However, I was *this* close to bamboo-ing up our very long hallway, and I think that would have been a big fat giant mistake. I would have self destructed in the process and never arrived at what would surely be an amazing space. And this is coming from a person who loves getting lost in tedium. Let’s just say I have renewed respect for muralists, even that Wyland guy and his lame dolphin walls. If nothing, he’s got fortitude.

My recommendation if you want to try this: limit it to a couple linear feet of wallspace and save yourself the crazies! This ain’t no daydreaming kind of project! But DO IT! Thanks for reading :)

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