How to Paint a Checkerboard Pattern

Written by denise howard | 13/05/2017
How to Paint a Checkerboard Pattern
Checkerboard patterns work in many different colours. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A checkerboard pattern can be used as an accent or border, as a floor design or even on a game table for use in draughts and chess. The technique is the same, though the scale and colours will vary. Choose two colours that suit your project. Black and white or red and black are classic checkerboard colours, but for an elegant floor pattern, two muted hues in the same colour family can create a tiled appearance. Two bright colours in an unexpected combination will add funky fun to a playroom.

Paint the entire surface with the lighter colour of paint. Let it dry completely.

Measure the item you're painting to determine the size of squares you want. Small items look best with a small pattern, while a large floor or wall is better suited to a large-scale pattern. Divide the space evenly among the desired number of squares if you don't want partial squares on the edges.

Mark the measured squares with a chalk line, snapping it to create plumb lines. Line every other square with painter's tape.

Paint inside the painter's tape squares with the darker paint colour. Allow it to dry slightly and carefully remove the tape, touching up the edges as needed with a small brush and a straightedge.

Add a protective urethane coat to the fully dried surface if it will be heavily used, as with a floor or game table.


Use a checkerboard stencil and a pounce brush or sponge for small craft projects to save time and effort.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a checkerboard stencil and a pounce brush or sponge for small craft projects to save time and effort.

Things you need

  • Two colours of paint
  • Painter's tape
  • Chalk snap line
  • Paintbrush
  • Straightedge or carpenter's square

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