Tribal Print DIY

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If you know me in real life (or alternatively, if you’ve ever stalked my Pinboards), you will know that I – along with tons of other bloggers right now – am totally obsessed with tribal print, and tribal print DIY.

I want it everywhere. On my clothes, featured in accents around my home, painted on my fingernails and even in layers on my blogging graphics! After viewing one too many mood boards, I began thinking about how easy it would be to emulate on various surfaces.

Once I started thinking about it, of course, I couldn’t stop – so I decided to gather a few craft materials, and hunt down something I could test my new pattern obsession on.

And, while I am no artist, this was totally easy. Like, take an hour and watch an episode of TV or your favourite movie easy.

So pull out your paintbrushes, cause this is seriously the perfect craft for summer!

The details…

Tribal Print DIY

Total Cost: $35
Total Time Spent: 60 Minutes
Difficulty: Medium

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01// The first thing I did was gather my materials, which ended up being: the wooden container I decided to decorate, my paints (in the photo I have two gold shades and one grey – I actually ended up using grey, coral, navy and lavender, because the golds were total crap), paintbrushes, cardboard, scissors, pie tin, and Sharpie assortment.

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02// This is the wooden container I decided to decorate. It originally held cookies, but you can definitely get something similar from the dollar store, or Target if you’re feeling fancy. The best thing about this DIY is that you can apply the tribal print style to pretty much anything.

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03// I got my pie tin all paint-puddled up next. As I mentioned above, I originally went with two gold shades and a dark grey, but the golds ended up being way too runny to successfully draw shapes with, so I switched them out for navy, coral and lavender (mainly because I had them on hand) instead.

A good rule of thumb for this is to get two dark colors, and two light colors. Keep in mind that as you’ll be layering them on top of one another, you definitely don’t want anything too similar.

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04// I started drawing a simple, block-y pattern on the base. At this point you just want to get some color blocking happening – definitely leave the patterns and smaller details until the second or third layer.

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05// After the bottom came the top! I didn’t know how or where to start, so I cut a diamond shape out of the cardboard I had on hand, and stenciled the three center diamond shapes on.

Once I had the center point done, I added a few coral accents around it. The dash patterns were made by tapping my paintbrush bristle down against the lid.

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06// Once I got started I just kept going. The trick is to build your layers in this type of fashion:

First layer (base): Big blocks using dark colors
Second layer: Stripes, large patterns with light colors
Third layer: Accents on first and second layers with dark colors
Fourth layer: Smaller accents with light colors

Using this formula I went around and around the container, adding small patches of texture and pattern. Lots of stripes, lots of bristle dashes, lots of triangles and crosshatch patterns.

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07// Here’s an idea of what the other side looked like. About halfway through the project, the stencil I was using wasn’t working as well, so I just began free-handing.

You seriously cannot screw this up, so just go wild – tribal print doesn’t have to be perfect (and that’s why I like it!)

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08// I pulled out my Sharpies for the last round of details. Wait until your paint is totally dried, and then get out a pen and start adding really small, pin-point details. I drew tiny triangles, lines of dots, small crosses, fish scales – whatever struck me.

The Sharpie gives you way more control than the paintbrush, which is awesome for adding the smaller details.

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09// This is what both the top and bottom looked like after I added the Sharpie details. I’d like to try another variation with stamping using either potatoes or sponges, but that can wait for another day.

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10// It wouldn’t be a successful DIY without at least one cameo from Shasta!

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11// And this is what the other side looked like! It didn’t take very long to dry, either – maybe twenty minutes, tops, so I had this guy painted and done within the first half of watching Pineapple Express.

I’m such a sucker for tribal print right now that I’ll probably just use this to hold my make-up or something, but I also think it would be an awesome way to wrap a gift, or even to use as an office accessory.

Did you enjoy this DIY? Pin it with the image below!

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What about you? Do you have something laying around your home that could use a layer of pattern and color? Imagine a tribal print photo frame, or kitchen stool!

  • Jules

    Shasta wants to make one too!! What a clever idea. I’m obsessed with tribal prints too. :)
    Jules of Canines & Couture

  • Elizabeth M

    Oooo I love this! I might just end up painting a chair or something this week. Haha

  • Anna Sinclair

    Love this & cool choice of colors!

  • Lorelai

    So cute! I love the trend of tribal prints and I’m trying to decide what I can use this on as I have so many boxes for organization as it is..

    xx Lorelai
    Seams Unbiased

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