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How to Paint a Buffalo Plaid Design
Hello crafty friends!
Today, I’m going to teach you how to paint a buffalo plaid design. This can be great as a background for holiday signs, or for other signs you want to make.
I did this as a buffalo plaid sign workshop for the Holiday Maker Fest 2020 which runs November 4th – November 8th.
You can catch my full video tutorial workshop along with over 40 other makers and their projects for free Just click here to sign up or keep on scrolling for the written tutorial on the best way to paint a buffalo plaid design.
Supplies Needed for Buffalo Plaid Design
- Base board
- Red, black, and white paint (chalk or acrylic is fine)
- Painters tape
- Paint brushes
- Something to mix the paint in (I used cups and popsicle sticks)
- Sponges (optional, to cut down on bleeding). I like these from Amazon
- Tape measure to keep everything centered
- Sealers like Polyacrylic or Mod Podge found here to protect your paint
- Sawtooth picture hangers found here and a hammer if you’d like to hang your sign
- Extra embellishments and tools like ribbon, hot glue gun, etc. (optional)
- To finish your sign with vinyl, you’ll want something permanent like Oracle brand found on Amazon here
- Or you can use a stencil vinyl like Oracle Stencil Film found here
I purchased my base at Lowes. I got the 2’x3′ size and it’s pretty much ready to paint. You may have to do some light sanding in places first though.
The red paint I’m using is Deco Art from Hobby Lobby. This took quite a few coats though.
And the black and white paint is from Sea Paints that you can find here. They really have spoiled me with how pigmented their paint is.
Step 2: Paint the Base Coat
The first thing to do is to get the base painted red. For my base color, I used the shade True Red from Deco Art. As you’ll see in the workshop video I just pour the paint directly on the board and spread it out with the brush.
Depending on the paint you use, it will probably take two or three coats to get a nice, solid base. Make sure you cover the front and all of the sides in this red, and then let it dry completely before you move on to the next step.
Step 3: Measure and Tape Horizontal Lines
Once the base color is dry, you’re ready to measure and tape. With your tape measure, find and mark the middle of the board. You want to get your tape exactly on the center, so you don’t end up with any weird edges.
Now that you know where the middle is, take your first piece of tape and line it up horizontally all the way across the center of the board. Take your time to get it nice and straight. Then press it down really well, so no paint can seep under it.
The next piece of tape will be your spacer piece. This piece of tape will not be staying on the board; it’s just to give you the same spacing between every stripe in the design.
Line it up carefully next to the first piece of tape, but don’t worry about pressing it down. You’ll be picking it right back up again for the next row.
Place the third piece of tape on the other side of the spacer piece. Again, line it up carefully, and make sure to press it down tightly, just like the first piece. This one will be staying, and you don’t want paint bleeding under it.
Once you have the third piece of tape firmly in place, pick up the middle piece (the spacer piece) and move it down to the other side of the third piece. Then you’ll just repeat this same process all the way down and up the board, until it’s covered in stripes of tape that are evenly spaced.
Now that you have all the pieces on, make sure they are really stuck down.
Then you’re ready to mix the first color of paint.
Step 4: Paint the Horizontal Lines
The color you want here is a dark maroon. Start with the red from your base coat, and add just a little black. Even though you want it to be dark, just a little bit of black should be enough. If you end up with a color that’s a little too dark, add a tiny bit more of the red and continue mixing until it’s just right.
You can use either a brush or a sponge to paint the stripes. Either way, the key is not to use very much paint at a time. The more paint you have on your sponge or brush, the more chance you have of it seeping underneath the tape and giving you bleeds.
If you use a sponge, you are much less likely to get a bleed. However, you’ll also probably need to do several coats to get the coverage you want. A sponge will take a bit longer than a brush, too. The tradeoff is you won’t have a lot to fix in the end, because you’ll have hardly any bleeding through the tape.
Get a little paint on the sponge and dab the paint onto your project, and add more paint as needed.
If you use a brush instead, a makeup brush will help the paint go on smoother without as many lines. Make sure you move the brush in the same direction as the tape, and do not put very much paint on it. Most people use way too much paint on their brush, and that is what will give you bleeds.
Once you have painted all your lines, let the paint dry completely again. Remember, you may need several coats of paint to get full coverage. The good news is that thinner layers of paint dry super fast.
When the paint is completely dry, you can remove the tape. You shouldn’t have many bleeds, but if you have a few, there are some ways to fix them.
For a tiny bleed, you can grab a weeding tool and gently scrape up that layer of paint. Be careful not to scrape up the base color at the same time. Brush the paint dust away, and it will look much better.
Step 4: Tape and Paint Vertical Lines
Now you are ready to mix your second color of paint. This color is going to be mostly red. If you only have a tiny bit of the dark maroon color left, you can refill your cup with the original red. That should be enough dark color to give you a red that’s just slightly darker than the base color.
Next, tape vertical lines using the same method you did for the horizontal stripes:
Measure and mark the center of the board. Place one piece of tape vertically across the center. Again, take your time and make sure it’s nice and straight. And, just like before, use a spacer piece of tape between each line of tape to make sure all the lines are even.
After all of your vertical lines are taped, you can go ahead and paint with that second color you mixed up, the one that’s mostly red.
Now, this coat of paint does not have to be a complete coverage. As a matter of fact, you want to be able to see those darker stripes through it. However, depending on the pigment of your paint, you still might want to go ahead and do two coats. Just make sure you can still see the darker stripes.
Once again, make sure the paint dries completely before you move on.
Step 5: Tape and Paint New Horizontal Lines
This time, you’re going to leave the vertical lines of tape in place and tape a new set of horizontal lines on top of them. You won’t need a spacer piece of tape now, because you have the lines you’ve already painted to guide you.
Line up your tape directly on top of a strip of the red squares. Take your time and make sure all of the red is covered up. Then the darker lines that show through will act as your spacers.
The final color in the buffalo plaid pattern is straight black. So you’re going to take your black paint and just follow the horizontal tape lines. Don’t worry about the vertical lines; the red layer of paint will help seal that layer of tape. But you still want to make sure there’s not so much paint on your paintbrush that it puddles up.
Step 6: Remove All of the Tape for the Big Reveal
It’s time for the big reveal!
It’s a good idea to wait until everything is completely dry before you remove your tape. If you don’t wait, you might get black paint from the tape all over your hands. Or, if wet tape falls and hits your project, you might get some black where you don’t want it.
So, once it’s all dry, go ahead and remove all of the tape. This part can be a little scary and exciting at the same time. Now you can see your beautiful buffalo plaid design!
You might find a few bleeds, but that’s okay. You can fix them with a weeding tool like I mentioned above, or you can use a tiny little paintbrush with just a little bit of paint on it. A toothpick will also work. Then just slowly cover up those areas that bled.
Using a sponge instead of a brush to paint the lines will help keep this from happening. It may take a little longer to paint the lines that way, but it will also save you time from having to clean up these little bleeds after the fact.
Now that you have your buffalo plaid design painted, you can add embellishments such as vinyl designs, ribbons, and so on. You can also add hooks to the back of the board for easy hanging.
Here are the finished signs I made.
In the workshop I’ll also show you how to apply the vinyl and use the PVPP method in the Christmas tree sign. And you’ll even get 5 free SVGs so you can make your very own sign.
Thanks for crafting with me today!
Chris Butler has helped thousands of crafters learn how to use their Cricut machine without feeling overwhelmed. She is a best selling author and an up and coming designer. For fun Chris enjoys designing SVG Files, hanging out with her family (preferably at the lake), traveling, and volunteering at her church. She is a wife and mom of two crazy fun kids.