How to Paint a Checker Board Black and White Room

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Paint a Checker Board Black and White Room
Paint a Checker Board Black and White Room (Image: craigpj at sxc.hu)

Painting a wall or floor in a black-and-white checkerboard style is an interesting and classic design that goes great with bold splashes of color. While it may look like a daunting task, it's actually fairly easy to pull off, it just takes a bit of time and patience and careful preparation. Follow these steps to create a checkerboard pattern in your room.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Chalk line
  • Level
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Painter's tape
  • Rollers and brushes
  • Box cutter or razor

Prepare your painting surface if it needs preparation, such as stripping off old paint, filling in holes with Spackle and sanding them smooth. When your surface is ready, use a good primer, such as Kilz, so that the paint will go on smoothly and evenly. Allow the primer to dry for 24 hours.

Paint the entire surface white first with an interior paint. That way you will only have to paint in the black squares. This will be much easier and much less time consuming than trying to paint every white square, too. Allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours so you will not damage the surface when making your guidelines and preparing to paint the black squares.

Decide how big you want your checker squares. Go along one edge of the wall or floor with a yardstick and make a pencil or chalk mark at intervals. For example, if you want a 12 inch square, make a mark every 12 inches. Your last mark, closest to the edge, will probably have shorter squares than the others, so this would ideally be the least obvious area.

Find a friend or two to help you with the chalk lines. If you don't have a friend to help you, you can simply put a nail in the wall where you would want the chalk line to be held. The problem with this, however, is that you will have to fill in the holes and prepare them to be painted over after you have made the lines. This can take longer, so it's best to find a friend.

Prepare the chalk line as instructed by the packaging. One person should go to the area with the marks you spaced out and hold the end of the chalk line on that first mark. The second person should unroll the chalk line and go to the opposite wall.

Use a level to ensure that the line is straight if you are making lines on the wall. Use the yardstick to see if the line is straight if making the lines on the floor. Just as you did when you made the marks, measure the distance to the first mark on the opposite wall to ensure your line across the room is going straight along with the wall line.

With each person holding the chalk line taught, pull back the line a bit and let it go, so it will snap back. As it does, it will create a line of chalk on the wall or floor. Continue doing this until all of the lines in one direction are marked off.

Using the same method, start making lines in the opposite direction, to cross over the first lines. When you've done this, your checkerboard pattern is ready to paint.

Decide which squares in the first row will be white, and use tape on the inside line of these squares, on all four sides. Make sure the tape is even and straight against the line, and squared off in the corners.

Tape off the squares in the next row, which will be diagonal from the ones in the first row. Continue doing this until all of the white squares are lined with tape to protect them.

Paint the untaped squares black using a roller, or if the squares are small, a brush. Continue until all of the black squares are painted in. Allow the first coat to dry and paint a second coat if desired, to ensure the black will be nice and dark.

Use the box cutter or razor to go over the lines where the tape meets the paint. This will prevent the tape from peeling the paint off with it when you remove it, so it is an important step. Peel off the painter's tape and discard it.

Use a small craft brush and some leftover paint to correct any imperfect lines or corners.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you're painting the floor, don't paint yourself into a corner. Start painting on the end of the room opposite the door and work your way towards the door.

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