How to Paint Plaid Patterns

Written by diana prince
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How to Paint Plaid Patterns
Paint plaid patterns with basic art supplies to create an interesting look. (brown plaid pattern image by yelena demyanyuk from

Patterns can help add interest and intrigue to any painting. Plaid is a pattern made up of cross-hatched perpendicular stripes and bands which originated as part of Scottish tradition. While the pattern may look challenging or complicated to create, it is actually fairly simple. Plaid is a playful and traditional pattern, and you can paint plaid patterns on a piece of canvas, art paper or other medium with basic art supplies.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 2 different colours of paint: 1 cup per colour
  • Paintbrush
  • Art paper or canvas

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  1. 1

    Paint over the entire piece of art paper or canvas with one colour of paint, the base colour. Allow the paint to dry completely.

  2. 2

    Draw the outline of the plaid design over the base coat of paint. Using a ruler to ensure that your lines are completely straight, draw lines across the surface vertically and horizontally; choose to either keep the lines closer together or farther apart, depending on the plaid pattern you want to achieve.

  3. 3

    Paint over the lines with the second colour of paint. This creates the cross-hatched design, and over top of the base coat you now have a complete plaid pattern.

Tips and warnings

  • You can incorporate more than two colours into the plaid design, for instance by painting thin lines of a third colour underneath the original lines.
  • Choose similar shades of paint for a more subtle plaid pattern, or opt for contrasting colours for a more dramatic look.

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