Introduction

a finished painted bath using a stamp
Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
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Remember those potato stamps you made in school? Now imagine a less starchy—but no less fun—medium made with a sheet of flexible craft foam and squares of scrap wood. The pattern shown here was applied with two homemade stamps and semigloss paint. "It's a great way to add energy to a small area," says decorative painter Brian Carter, who came up with the pattern as a way to enliven a plain white bath painted with Benjamin Moore's White Dove. "The wainscot provides an orderly block of color so that the handprinted pattern can dance above it." A base coat of Benjamin Moore's Hawthorne Yellow serves as the pattern's backdrop. The look is akin to handmade wallpaper.

Carter likes the contrast of a semigloss pattern on a flat base coat. To keep the look loose, he moved across the wall, stamping squares with diamond cutouts at 4-inch intervals in freehand fashion. Then he went back and added smaller circles in the blank spaces. "Try out your pattern on a piece of colored paper, and if you don't like the way it looks, vary the amount of paint on the stamp or make a new one," he says. And save the paper—it's great for gift wrap. For a step-by-step look, read on.
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    Tools List

    • craft scissors
      Scissors, to cut the foam material
    • X-Acto knife, to cut out the patterns
    • roller tray
      Small roller tray or plastic plate, to hold the paint
    • artist paintbrush
      Artist's paint brush
    • level
      Level, to create straight guide lines
    • chalk
      Chalk, to draw lines lightly on wall

    Shopping List

    1. Craft foam

    2. White glue

    3. Wood blocks to hold the cut patterns

    4. Paint for both background color and pattern color