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A Mandala on Your Deck

Embellish a deck platform with chalky matte paint, semitransparent stain, and a freehand mandala

a hand-drawn mandala on deck boards using chalk paint
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com
The Henna Treatment

No one says you have to paint the entire deck or worry too much about being able to draw like da Vinci. This freehand mandala is designed for relaxation, while you put it down as well as after. It was created by Brittany Bailey, who blogs at prettyhandygirl.com. After finding herself with a platform deck, its boards installed at a dynamic diagonal, Bailey conjured “an exotic staycation,” as she puts it. She scouted for a mandala-like pattern online, then grabbed chalk, string, pushpins, and a tape measure. Starting with a center point about two feet from the most prominent corner, she inscribed a half-dozen concentric circles, each a little farther out from the last. After that, she says, “a lot of doodling” ensued—and to nice effect.

One key, Bailey says, is to prestain the deck and use the same product as a protective top coat. (She used Thompson’s WaterSeal in Semi-Transparent Acorn Brown.) Also, get a friend to help; Bailey inveigled her sister. “Our goal was to make the deck a getaway, to transport you to Bali,” she says. Even if it doesn’t get you that far, when a mandala meets a fabric-hung pergola, you’ve still got an inviting outdoor room and a good reason to stay home.

Step One // A Mandala on Your Deck

Using Chalk, Draw Six Concentric Circles

drawing a small circle with the help of string wrapped around a pushpin at one end and chalk at the other
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

Choose a spot in a prominent open area and draw a small circle with the help of string wrapped around a pushpin at one end and chalk at the other. Add five more circles, each one a little farther out.

Steps // A Mandala on Your Deck
1 ×

Using Chalk, Draw Six Concentric Circles

 
Step One // A Mandala on Your Deck

Using Chalk, Draw Six Concentric Circles

drawing a small circle with the help of string wrapped around a pushpin at one end and chalk at the other
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

Choose a spot in a prominent open area and draw a small circle with the help of string wrapped around a pushpin at one end and chalk at the other. Add five more circles, each one a little farther out.

 
2 ×

Mark Out Manageable Sections

 
Step Two // A Mandala on Your Deck

Mark Out Manageable Sections

drawing long lines to create eight wedges for a deck mandala
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

Mark four compass points on the innermost circle and add four more equidistant points. Align a tape measure with the center and two points, and draw long lines to create eight wedges.

 
3 ×

Start Embellishing

 
Step Three // A Mandala on Your Deck

Start Embellishing

repeating the petal-like pattern in a deck mandala
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

Add freehand flowers, loops, and curlicues to fill in the design, repeating the petal-like pattern in each circle. Use a damp rag to erase and redo any stray marks, as needed.

 
4 ×

Paint the Pattern

 
Step Four // A Mandala on Your Deck

Paint the Pattern

beginning to apply paint to the deck mandala
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

Use small and medium round and square artist brushes to apply a chalky paint, such as Valspar’s Chalky Finish Paint in Kid Gloves. “That way, you don’t have to prime,” Bailey says.

 
5 ×

Keep Going

 
Step Five // A Mandala on Your Deck

Keep Going

continuing to paint the deck mandala
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

Make yourself (and ideally a friend) comfortable and gradually complete the pattern. If your deck is a platform style, like this one, don’t forget to continue the pattern along any deck sides that are exposed.

 
6 ×

Sand and Seal

 
Step Six // A Mandala on Your Deck

Sand and Seal

sanding the painted deck to get the aged look
Courtesy of prettyhandygirl.com

When the paint is dry, use an orbital sander and 180-grit paper to “age” the pattern. Wipe away dust before applying a top coat with an exterior stain pad. Allow it to dry a day. Then arrange furniture, string up lights, and kick back.

 
 
 
 

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