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How to Add a Scumbled Design to an Inside Wall

In this project, a geometric pattern is painted on a wall in four colors, then scumbled with the same colors to create texture and depth.

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add scumbled design to inside wall
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Plan Your Design

Measure your wall, and use its dimensions to plan your design. Work out the geometric plan on paper, noting all dimensions and planning the color scheme.

work out geometric plan on paper

Step 2: Mark the Walls

Mark the walls with a pencil, measuring all dimensions according to your sketched-out plan. Use a chalk line to make quick work of marking and measuring straight lines on the wall. Simply fill the device with chalk, hold the line taut against the wall and snap the string, and a chalk line will appear.

mark walls with chalk line

Step 3: Apply Masking Tape

Put painter's masking tape directly over the chalk lines. Pull the masking tape against the blade of a putty knife to make straight cuts at the corners and ends. Tape the geometric pattern on the entire wall. Make sure to press the edges of the tape firmly to the surface to prevent the paint from bleeding through underneath. A credit card comes in handy for this task.

applying masking tape

Step 4: Begin Painting

Apply a few strokes of latex paint to one square (you can also use acrylic paint from an art store). Use a chamois cloth pressed into the painted area to move the color around and blend it in. The chamois cloth can be used wet or dry, depending on the effect you want to achieve. Work with one square of color at a time, as the paint dries rather quickly, adding a few more brushstrokes of paint as necessary and blending with the chamois. A few drops of dish detergent added to the paint will extend your working time. Pay special attention to the edges, making sure paint is applied all the way to the edge.

chamois cloth pressed into painted area

Step 5: Start the Scumbling

Now it's time to scumble (which means to cover a surface with opaque or semi-opaque color). Put a small amount of cream-colored paint on a heavy paper plate. Dip the tip of a stencil brush in the paint, getting just a little paint on the brush. Scumble the cream-colored paint on a fuchsia square by lightly pounding the bristles of the brush into the wall. Gently pound the paint onto the wall, using a circular motion. Build up the color to the desired intensity while still letting the base color show through.

Scumble any of the four colors over any other color as desired; cream over fuchsia, blue or green; blue over green; green over blue; and so on.

gently pound paint onto wall

Step 6: Remove the Tape

Remove the masking tape to reveal the pattern.

remove masking tape to reveal pattern