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How to Paint a Curvy Moroccan-Star Design

The secret to making this hand-painted pattern? Two templates you cut out of paper

When it comes to small tools with great impact, few painting accessories can compete with a template. To make one, simply draw a shape on heavy coated paper or flexible cardboard, cut it out, place it on the wall, and outline it in chalk, as if drawing around a cookie cutter. Repeat. Once you've outlined your whole design, put the template away and paint freehand right over the chalk. Here, a tailored bedroom in minimalist shades of brown, bronze, and ivory got a welcome infusion of color and pattern with the help of two templates, three cans of paint, and a small brush. Atlanta-based decorative painter Brian Carter loosely based the design for this accent wall on a Moroccan tile, then added a twist. "Blowing up the pattern keeps it from being fussy," Carter says, while the wavy, diamond-shaped stars it creates and the way it's interrupted by the ceiling and corners keep it from appearing too rigid. Bronze dots, dabbed on with the same brush, add a graphic touch to the pale blue-and-cream scheme. For the how-to, read on.

Step 1

Morrocan Star Overview

The secret to making this hand-painted pattern? Two templates you cut out of flexible posterboard. Download these patterns to get started on making the large and small templates.

Step 2

Make the Chalk-Line Grid

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Put down your base coat. Once it's dry, measure the wall side to side and snap a vertical chalk line down its center. Snap more lines to the left and right at 18-inch intervals till you hit the corners. About 3 inches from the ceiling, mark the bottom of the top row of interrupted stars with chalk. Move down the chalk lines, marking dots at 18-inch intervals. Using a yardstick, connect the dots diagonally and create a grid of 18-by-18-inch diamonds.

Step 3

Make the Templates

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Using a piece of 18-by-18-inch posterboard folded into quarters, and the pattern available here, create a template for the larger Moroccan star. Create a second, smaller star by tracing the second pattern, available here.

Step 4

Trace the Large Template

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Placing the large template under the topmost dots, use chalk to outline a row of whole stars. Continue, working in vertical rows. Outline interrupted stars last, bending the template to help.

Step 5

Trace the Small Template

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Center the small star within each of the large stars you just drew, and outline it in chalk. (Note: The outlines of adjacent large stars create similar shapes that don't get small stars, so you should end up with a pattern that has equal numbers of two-template and one-template stars.)

Step 6

Paint the Large Stars

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Using a ½-inch round artist's brush, paint the large stars right over the chalk outlines. Make sure the stars touch at all four points. Let dry.

Step 7

Paint the Small Stars

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Paint the small stars over the chalk outlines. Let dry.

Step 8

Paint the Dots

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Using the same brush and an accent color, paint dots at the intersections of the stars. Give the dots a second coat as needed.

Step 9

Erase Chalk Grid

Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Once the dots are dry, use a damp sponge to erase the chalk-line grid.