I first spotted this graphic wallpaper made in France on a blog I follow, Dos Family, and I knew I had to have it. The one stumbling block was the price tag. So instead of buying it, I used it as inspiration, and figured out a way to do it myself.
After a few failed attempts at using a measuring stick and lever, I cut out a cardboard triangle, which served as my template for the whole project. A friend helped me trace the cardboard cutout from left to right until we covered the entire wall. It’s definitely not a science, and it’s precisely this imperfection that gives the pattern a nice handmade, patchwork feel. Plus, the graphic mix of colors allowed me to include my son’s favorite color, pink, without making the room feel too girly. Bonus: Finally, I was able to put to good use the collection of half-empty cans of paint in my basement. I only bought two new colors and filled in the triangles pretty randomly, deciding as I went along which color combinations I liked and didn’t like (i.e., yellow and red).
The whole thing took about a month–but only because I worked on it in stolen snippets of time. (Note: You do have to be comfortable with the paint-can pile-up with a work-in-progress like this.) As for question of smell and wet paint, it really wasn’t an issue. Cans of paint were never open in the room; I would pour a tiny bit into of paint into an old yogurt cup and use a small paintbrush (the kind you’d find at an art store, not a paint store) and only paint a few triangles at a time. Another advantage to the piecemeal nature of this project is that a day’s work dries very quickly.
In the end, I actually like my painted version better than the original wallpaper—I love the wobbly lines and hand-drawn feel. And my boys love counting the number triangles in each color before naps and bedtime.
Meghan McEwan is the founder of the brilliant travel site Designtripper.