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How to Paint a Compass Rose and Stripes on Your Floor

Give a room a lift with a stylized compass rose and lots of ocean blues

No one knows exactly when the compass was invented, or when its north, south, east, and west indicators were subdivided with a sun-embracing design of petal-like points, giving rise to the term compass rose. But in time this motif jumped from sailing ships to inlaid floors and even quilts, becoming as much a part of Americana as it is a navigational tool that dates back to at least the 14th century.

In the photo shown here, a compass-rose medallion rimmed in red is set among rug-like blue and white stripes. While the eight-point star punctuates the base of a spiral staircase here, it could also anchor a foyer or even a breakfast table. A faint N, for north, can be seen above the rim, but the updated design, with facets in white, navy, and ocean blue, is less literal than a classic compass rose, lending energy and graphic punch to an otherwise restrained color scheme. Let the design point the way to a place worthy of this patriotic flourish.

Download and print out the template here. Then take it to your local print shop to have it enlarged, or watch this video to learn how to enlarge templates with graph paper.

Step 1

Overview of Paint Ideas: Stars and Stripes

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Download and print out the template here. Then take it to your local print shop to have it enlarged, or watch this video to learn how to enlarge templates with graph paper.

With the triangle cut out, outline it on posterboard and cut out the posterboard triangle. Position it on the floor at the center point. Outline in pencil.

Step 2

Position Template on Floor

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Download and print out the template here. Then take it to your local print shop to have it enlarged, or watch this video to learn how to enlarge templates with graph paper.

With the triangle cut out, outline it on posterboard and cut out the posterboard triangle. Position it on the floor at the center point. Outline in pencil.

Step 3

Mark Out The Rose

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Flip the template along the longest side to create a mirror-image triangle, and outline. Then flip the template along its shortest side, always keeping it in contact with the center point; outline.

Step 4

Create a Four-Point Star

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Repeat, working your way around the center point, until you have a four-point star.

Step 5

Reposition Around The Center Point

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Reposition the template as shown, flipping it and working your way around the center point.

Step 6

Tape Off and Paint The Star

Photo by Jean Allsopp

You should have have overlaid another four-point star, for a total of eight points. Jot down which color goes where before taping off and painting the light blue triangles, using a small brush or foam roller. Pull up the tape when the paint is still tacky, wait for it to dry completely, and reposition the tape before rolling on the dark blue triangles.

Step 7

Create The Inner and Outer Rims

Photo by Jean Allsopp

Attach a length of string to a pencil. Place the end of the string at the center point and use the pencil to outline the outer rim of the circle. To create the inner rim, shorten the string by a few inches. Use a half-inch artist's brush to paint the circle. Mark off the surrounding stripes,using a pencil and a yardstick, and mark which blue goes where. Tape off the lighter blue stripes and use the foam roller to paint. Pull up the tape while the paint is still tacky. Let dry overnight. Repeat to create the darker stripes. Finish with a couple of coats of satin polyurethane.