Can A Girl Paint Ikat?

November 21, 2011   //  Posted in: Bedrooms, Closets, DIY   //  By: Emily   //  10 responses

Ever attempt painting an ikat pattern? (No, not an IKEA pattern, an ikat pattern.)

Call a girl crazy for undertaking an ornate painting project on the rarely seen inside of her closet, but it seemed like a fun place to try something different, and a place where if I totally flubbed up, at least it would be hidden until I got around to repairing the situation. Also, hand-drawn was less expensive than buying a stencil or wallpaper, actually, 100% f-r-e-e because I used leftover paint from my basement stash). What you’re seeing here is a bit of Behr’s Burnished Bronze from when I last painted the stairwell (see a swatch of it on my latest palette post).

Starting the ikat closet.

I’ve been meaning to paint the insides of the closets for the 2.5 years I’ve been inhabiting this abode; the four closets of my house (three bedrooms, one hallway) are actually the only spaces that never received a fresh coat of paint.

Closet, before.

When I started brainstorming ideas for a patterned wall, I didn’t actually even know if I could emulate the soft, exasperated patterns that ikat is appreciated for, but I did think the fact that by-nature, ikat’s totally imperfect, I could probably give it a whirl. Did you know that the technique originated in Central/South America, and the fabrics themselves are similar to tie-dye, in that the dying is a restrictive process where parts of the fabric are blocked from absorbing the treatment? I didn’t, until right here, right now. Thanks Wikipedia, I hope you’re right-on.

I did a trial run, painting patterns with artists brushes on a piece of paper before considering ikat walls a real option:

Sampling techniques.

I initially considered that some of the samples (like those above) felt too clean-lined and Aztec-y, and began playing with drybrushing over the top of the wet paint to roughen up the look. It still wasn’t what I was hoping for, but I ended up liking the diamond pattern that I had been creating.

Sampling techniques.

I took the idea of a pattern a little further once I decided I liked the diamonds (pretty, like this inspiring fabric), and aligned a small series to see how it would flow; looked good. A little sloppy, intentional imperfection.

Sampling techniques.

As much as it seems like a imperfectly hand-drawn ikat paint job would be an easier technique than strapping some blue painter’s tape on the wall and meticulously creating a striped pattern (horizontal stripes seem to be my default, if you’ve ever seen my living room or my recent art project), I still ended up using a whole lot of painter’s tape. Moreso than needing the surrounding walls, trim, and concerning myself with worries of bleeding paint, it helped to have the tape to create straight lines and parameters for each diamond-esque shape. Consider how your handwriting begins to slope when you’re writing on unruled paper; I expected the same thing to happen with my painting, especially if I was constantly turning my head to the right to catch a glimpse of the bedroom TV screen (DVR’ed Millionaire Matchmaker, yo), so having the leveled tape in place helped tremendously. It also helped keep each row evenly separated vertically. My non-meticulous project had become very anally orchestrated.

I used the short edge of the latest Coastal Living as the space maker to keep each line evenly divided, and Codeman would not let me get a clean photo of this, so, yet another outrageous, ear-flappin’, howling shot.

Taping off lines in the closet while dealing with an interruptive dog.

I’ve only just started, but I think it’ll move along quickly (by sheer will, so I can go back to having an orderly closet space). As of early this morning, I’m this far along. See how I’m also giving myself parameters for the width of the diamonds? More to come on the overall interpretation.

Ikat painting.Get jamming on any fun projects this weekend? Have any inspiring ikat wall painting samples I could get my eyes on?

(Update: See the finished closet here!)

  • Cait @ Hernando House
    6 years ago - Reply

    Fun! I think it’s going to look completely awesome when it’s all done!

    PS- I saw this on Pinterest recently and thought of you.

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      Shoot, Orla Kiely stairs make me absolutely bonkers. My fave. Tomorrow’s post actually features my O.K. wallet, ironically, just taking some photos of it now.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Cait @ Hernando House
      6 years ago -

      Ooh fun! Can’t wait to see!

  • Elisa @ The Self Life
    6 years ago - Reply

    Oooh, I dig the freehand design.

    Cody cracks me up to no end!

    • Emily
      6 years ago -

      He’s the wild child. ;)

  • Kate
    6 years ago - Reply

    What a neat idea. I’m excited to see how it turns out!

  • Pete
    6 years ago - Reply

    I’ve seen it in an even more finished state and it looks awesome. Like hand-painted wallpaper. Awesome.

  • Regina - Fauxology
    6 years ago - Reply

    Saw the results on Apartment Therapy — way cool! Great result!

  • Lindsey
    5 years ago - Reply

    What size were the boxes you created with the painters tape? I think I want to give this a shot in my laundry room but I want to make sure I am doing it the right size, I like the scale you have and I don’t want mine to be giant or tiny!

    • Emily
      5 years ago -

      Mine were just about 5″x9″. Good luck!!

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