Colors swirl and blend in complex patterns on these painted panels. But there’s nothing complicated about how they’re made using tape and spray paint.
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Cut the plywood into 2 x 2 panels. (If you don’t have a table saw or a circular saw and straightedge, have a Lowe’s associate cut the panel in half.) Sand the panel with 120-grit sandpaper followed by 180-grit sandpaper; wipe clean.
Working in a well-ventilated area, spray on two coats of white paint and let dry completely. Apply 1-inch painter’s tape around the outside edges of a panel. (Covering the sides and ends is optional.)
Place a strip of tape down the center of the panel, dividing it in half. Then divide each half with a parallel strip of tape to form four equal-size rectangles.
Use short tape strips set at a slight diagonal to develop the herringbone pattern. The strips don’t need to be precisely parallel or identical in number or placement between the long rectangles. After applying all the tape, press the edges of each piece firmly against the wood.
Begin by spraying the first color on roughly one fifth of the pattern areas (if you’re using five colors). Use short bursts of paint while holding the can slightly closer than usual to the surface to focus the spray. It’s okay if small amounts of paint overspray onto the adjoining sections.
While the first color is still slightly tacky, apply the second color to a handful of sections. Some overlap will help the colors blend. Repeat for the third and fourth colors.
Apply the final color. Then touch up areas where the color is too thin. For an optional touch, choose one or two colors and spray a thin, light mist of paint over the entire panel at twice the usual distance from the surface.
After the paint dries, begin revealing the pattern by first lifting off the diagonal strips.
Remove the center strips and outside border in the reverse order they were applied, taking care to avoid pulling the paint loose. If you’ll hang the panel on a wall, screw a D-ring hanger to the back. (To keep the tip of the screw from poking through the front of the panel, trim it with wire cutters as needed.)
After mastering the herringbone pattern, experiment with other tape patterns and swirled paint color combinations like the ones shown. Estimated cost: $46 for two panels.