How to create your own wallpaper design

Hey guys! So following on from last week's post all about the fabulous Antionette Poisson studio in Paris I'm am going to be talking about how I created my own wallpaper a few years ago from some pretty old book covers AND how easy it was; you too could create your very own wallpaper design for perhaps a bedroom, living room or even kitchen (I predict a comeback for that oh so lovely 80's classic of wallpaper in kitchens!) and its actually not as hard as you may think! It's all about getting creative, not being scared and producing something ace that is totally YOU.  Read on to learn how I did it myself from scratch with no design experience and the steps for you to follow if you feel like taking on the challenge yourself! 


But first let me just rewind back to the summer of 2014 when I was in a pickle about how to decorate my very plain boring bedroom.....let me just say it was pretty horrendous, gross baby blue and yellow paint, ginger carpet and that god awful wood chip ceiling stuff that is a fricking nightmare to get rid of.  I started looking in the mags for inspiration and colour, and an overall "look" when I stumbled across a pile of antique books that belonged to my german granny (below) at my mums house.....and this is where my initial design work started. 

How to create your own wallpaper.

I immediately fell in love with the prints and had a flashback to an article I had read on Triscia Guild in which she talked about how she had bought some old indian fabric, recoloured it and her first collection was born! Lightbulb moment!! I immediately got to thinking about how I could re-invent the book prints in my own way to create a wallpaper instead of buying something that everyone else had.  So to step 1. 


Look for inspiration and define what sort of feel you want to create, if you need help with this read my dedicated blog post on defining your style HERE.  Begin by thinking about the mood you want to create - do you want something soft and relaxing for a bedroom, or a bold statement for a dining room etc.  Practice and experiment by hand drawing a very simple motif, (a motif is a decorative image that can be repeated to form a pattern) even paint a canvas (this can be repeated to cover a wall). GET CREATIVE. Keep standing in front of the wall you would like to wallpaper and imagine what sort of design you would like to see there.  Borrow some wallpaper and fabric books and study the designs for ideas.  I knew I wanted something soft and pretty and it was a stroke of luck to have found these gorgeous old books.   


At this point you will need to have an idea of the scale of the pattern you would like and how the design is going to be repeated, this will make for a seamless print that is effectively never-ending and can be printed on rolls and rolls of paper or fabric.  Take your motif to your local photocopier and ask them to copy it in different sizes - this is a great way to see how the motif or even doodle you have drawn out will look like in smaller and bigger scales.  

I went for a small motif and scale because I love those old 80's Laura Ashley prints that are sweet and pretty but this could be scaled up for fabric or scaled down for accessories.   

Also decide on your pattern formation and repeat - i.e. how the motif or drawing is going to be repeated and arranged across the wallpaper.    My design is a classic trellis print which works in a diagonal half drop repeat but here are a few other pattern types: 

These layouts and pattern repeats below show how the motif (the flower) is repeated in different lines and blocks.  


How to create your own wallpaper design.


How to create your own wallpapers. 


Don't worry about actually putting the repeat into your design document, just have an idea of the layout like these above, your printer can add in the proper repeat work ready for print when the time comes.  I do recommend taking a repeat pattern class like this one to learn the basics though. 


Once you have your motif sorted, the next thing to do is scan it into your computer so that you have a digital document to send to your printer.  You will need to understand the basics of Photoshop, so if you don't have a clue like I didn't, start by asking a graphic designery friend.   You can add in the pattern repeat if you like or just experiment with a single motif - just make sure you have hand drawn out the pattern repeat and layout to give to your printer for reference.   For experimenting with colours there are lots of tutorials on YouTube for doing simple things like adding colour.  Print out as much of your work as you can as you progress through your design and keep copies of all stages for personal reference.  


For me this process took a month or so of changing around the colours and adding a little bit more detail to the original design (learning the basics of photoshop as I went which took a bit of brain power) but I came up with something I was pretty happy with....and here it is....I call it the Oak Leaf print in Putty/Navy! 

Creating your very own wallpaper design.


Next is to find a wallpaper printer.  Luckily after trawling the internet and making lots of calls I came across THIS fab company based in London called SPACE INNOVATION who are pros at this and have great quality papers, plus I could order as few or as many rolls as I wanted AND  crucially they could also do the repeat for me which I wasn't even going to attempt at that point! The only snag was that because I was ordering very small quantities, the price per roll was rather high (around £60) so I decided to try and see how I could maybe avoid wallpapering the entire room and just do a few panels!  The other point to factor in here was the colour element - I got mine digitally printed (the cheapest way to print these days as an alternative to block or screen printing) but the colour that I sent over inevitably came back a bit different as you can see, luckily I was happy with the lighter shade.  You may want to discuss how your printer, colour matches to their print technology.  

Steps to printing your own wallpaper design


I was and still am so happy with the result! I chose the grey tones because although I wanted pattern I also wanted to be able to change the other colours in the room around from time to time so this colour served as a great neutral background.  (If you have any questions regarding this process please email me and I can happily talk you through it or expand on any points). 

The point here is that you can actually paint or draw ANYTHING and have it printed on virtually EVERYTHING these days, I never thought I would be able to actually achieve this but a bit of investigation and experimenting enabled me to get the look I really wanted......This process then turned into a bit of an obsession and I ended up designing a whole heap of other wallpaper designs....some of which I have designed solely on the computer like the bunny design and some of which I have drawn by hand like this blue flower motif below. 

How to make your own wallpaper

..... now a couple of years on I am beginning to branch out a bit into other products and am adapting some of my original designs for this space!!! I just love playing with pattern and prints, colour and arrangement, its so fun and relaxing!

I hope you feel motivated to get creative and perhaps get some of your artwork or designs printed onto stuff, you certainly don't have to be an expert at art or design, just a kid's doodle could be turned into a fabulous pattern and printed onto wallpaper or fabric! One off custom designs that TRULY reflect YOU and YOUR STYLE.  

If you have any questions regarding this process please email me and I can happily talk you through it or expand on any points!

Repeat examples by PRINTMAG