My 3 Monsters: How to Paint a Houndstooth Pattern {No Stencil Required!}

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How to Paint a Houndstooth Pattern {No Stencil Required!}

I have long been a fan of the houndstooth pattern.  I like it on clothing and in home d├Ęcor.  It's super trendy right now, but it is a pretty classic design -- it's been around forever.  I'm still secretly coveting a black and white houndstooth coat I saw several years ago.  *sigh*

Anyway, maybe I'm the only dummy who hadn't realized until recently how simple the pattern really is, if you break it down into a grid.  Am I the only one?  Seriously.  Take a look at this:

It's just a series of solid and striped squares.  It's a little difficult to see in that graphic there, but that is all it takes to create a houndstooth design.  Look here at my painted powder room rug:

Can you see it now?  You don't even need a fancy-schmancy stencil or nothin'.  Just some good old painters tape and gumption.  {A stencil would really be a whole lot faster, but I'm just a big cheapo and I already had painter's tape on hand.} Start by laying out your grid and taping off the black squares.

Paint those squares and remove the tape.  Once paint is completely dry, tape off the squares directly to the left of the black ones.  Then, use some more tape and tape off the two diagonal stripes within the squares.

Paint the stripes and allow to dry.While we wait for those to dry, allow me to apologize for the bad cell phone photos.  I decided to work on this project at 11:30 one night, only to discover that my "good" camera was dead.  So, what would have been bad pictures to begin with are now almost comical.  {And edited to within an inch of their lives.}  *whistles awkwardly*  There.  They should be dry now.

Remove that tape and then repeat that step for the squares directly above the solid black ones.  I had given up on the picture-taking at this point, but this step looks a whole lot like the last one.  Be sure to pay very close attention to the pattern here.  You paint the opposite stripes in these squares than you did in the previous step.  Does that make sense?  In the last step you painted the first and third stripe within the square.  This time you'll be painting the second and fourth stripes.  Got it?  Sweet.  Peel that tape off, let the paint dry again, et voila!  Beautiful houndstooth pattern, super easy. 

Obviously this works on a sisal mat, but it would also look great painted onto a piece of furniture or an accent wall in a room.  I'm considering painting my small hallway at the top of the stairs in a tone-on-tone houndstooth pattern, using flat and gloss versions of the same color.  I think it would catch the light just enough to catch your eye without being overwhelming.  Yep, I just talked myself into it.  Watch for that project soon!  I'm still trying to get that post about Camp AZDA and our fundraiser ready -- hopefully tomorrow.  See y'all soon.


  1. Well, I skipped the mat and decided to go straight for the 8'x7' wall in our den downstairs... & without mentioning it to my spouse while she's out of town no less. Not finished yet- Currently letting the 2nd coat of paint dry on the 1st set of stripes but so far so good! I just wanted to thank you for posting this- I have wanted to do this for a while but refused to buy the overpriced stencil so when i came across your site i was thrilled!

    1. Jess,
      That is AWESOME!!! I'm so glad it was helpful to you. I would love to see a picture of the wall when you're done. I haven't penciled my hallway into the schedule of projects yet. Yours might be just the motivation I need. Have a great week.


  2. Thank you for this, I used this as a guide to help me get through painting a houndstooth round clawfoot kitchen table.

  3. I hope this didn't post twice, my apologies if it did. My question is that I would love to use this as a stencil on my wall but if I make my squares larger will I need to thicken my lines or use thicker frogs tape? I will test out before placing on the wall but any advice beforehand is appreciated. Thanks!


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