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How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood

I LOVE harlequin patterns. I think few patterns can be so classic and traditional or so whimsical and playful at the same time. In my own home, I have a torn paper cut into diamonds in my dining room. I have a cabinet that I painted diamonds on the front of. But…. this…. THIS diamond job TAKES THE CAKE!
We are working in a client’s master bedroom on the wall behind her headboard. Joy did a gorgeous lusterstone finish that is so soft and pretty for our background faux. It’s looks like a soft metallic butter on the wall.
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How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood

Then we began the twisted feat of marking out our grid on the wall. I shared with Joy and my client that I’m really a math nerd at heart. In high school, I used to participate in math bees. I love algebra, geometry… any math problems. So measuring diamonds is something I have a love/hate relationship with! I love to measure them on walls (the love part); yet it’s impossible to measure them in the middle of a window over blinds (the hate part). UGH!

Making a grid of squares on the wall that looks like a checkerboard helps you to tape off perfect diamonds. So go with me here. If your diamonds will be 36 inches tall, we will snap a horizontal chalk line every 18 inches (1/2 of your diamond height up the wall). Make little tick marks with chalk at both corners of the wall (I use my kid’s sidewalk chalk). You stand in one corner with the end of the chalk line and have someone else stand at the other end of the wall to snap your chalk. Do that at 18 inches, 36 inches, 54 inches, 72 inches and 90 inches. You wouldn’t chalk the last line because it is either at your ceiling line or trim line. Remember, if the chalk color in your chalk line tool is similar to your wall color, it will be harder to see, but easier to clean up. Chalk GENTLY.… dark chalk lines can ruin a finish.

Then we need to mark our vertical lines up and down. Our diamonds are going to be 24 inches wide. So start in one corner of the wall and snap your chalk line every 12 inches from one side of the wall to the other. If you are doing an entire room…you really need to start in the LEAST noticeable corner of the room. Usually, that is right above the door or close to it. This way, if you get around the room and aren’t quite perfect at the end… you will “fudge” your measurement in the least obvious spot (not that that has EVER happened to me- HA!)

Basically your wall should look like a grid or a checkerboard of chalk right now.


Next comes the taping. If your wall is freshly fauxed or painted… I would do a test on my tape first in an inconspicuous spot to make sure my tape is not going to pull off my faux/paint . I prefer Diamond Vogel brand tape. You can also use 3M’s blue tape for faux finishing.

This is where the diamonds come to life. The grid was created so that you can tape corner to corner for perfect diamonds. Remember to tape on the OUTSIDE of your chalk line so that you can use a damp rag or sponge to remove the chalk once the tape is up and before you paint. You don’t want chalk to show up on your beautiful finish! 

Since I wanted 3 different color diamonds on this project… we marked some of our diamonds with a big “W” so we would know those were the diamonds we were fauxing white. It helps just to “x” out or mark what you are doing in each diamond so you don’t get messed up. And trust me… it’s easy to get messed up… especially if you are doing a whole room in harlequins!

Most of our time on a diamond job is spent on measuring and taping with blue painter’s tape. And ….perhaps re-measuring and re-taping (sorry for that itsy, bitsy mis-tape Joy). Note our seriously professional stand for our laser level….

How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood
I was introduced to laser levels by one of my paint mentors, Allison Bade! It makes diamonds and stripes so much easier. If you have any desire to do either of those projects, I really suggest you snag one of these bad boys, like this one HERE. Mine’s a gem!!!

I’m rabbit trailing here…. but I’ve decided “in my spare time” to invent a laser level that is on a collapsible bottom. So it kind of looks like a turtle’s neck or one of those fancy liquid measuring cups from The Pampered Chef. It can go up or down. Then I wouldn’t have to use my client’s nightstand decor and my Valentine snack box from my mother to prop my level up! Thank you, Cheryl, for just letting me grab from your personal things! This invention will come right after I invent a “Chandafan” (ceiling fan with a chandelier on it)! Wish me luck folks! Back to our diamonds, just to keep it all straight in our minds…. we taped off the diamonds that would get a final white skim coat of lusterstone over them. “W” equals “white” ….

How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer AllwoodMoving right along to the darkest diamonds. We taped those and prayed we hadn’t messed anything up. Then, we did a stain over them to darken them up. When you’re doing 3 colors of diamonds, it really is difficult to keep it straight. I completely recommend getting yourself some graph paper and coloring it out on paper first.

One thing to keep in mind is this… if your tape is light enough in tack to not ruin a faux… it may not be heavy enough in tack to prevent bleeding. Does that make sense? There is nothing worse than going to all the work of taping off diamonds and then your paint bleeds and they don’t have CRISP painted edges. UGH!
You can do a couple of things to prevent bleeds. First… if you have straight paint as your base coat for the diamonds, you can tape off your diamonds and then paint inside of them with the same base color as is already on your walls. Then the bleeds will match what is already there and you won’t be able to see them. Then after that dries, proceed with whatever fauxor paint you want on the diamonds right over top of that color.

Since we had faux finished diamonds on faux finished walls, one of my girls just put the Lusterstone product on her finger and ran the length of all the tape before staining some of the diamonds dark. Again… then the bleeds would be tone on tone and wouldn’t be seen. And just for the record….we did try to skip this step. We stained our first diamond brown and it bled everywhere. I will share a tip that has taken me 8 years of business to learn: Shortcuts will always make you pay in touch-ups later.

If you do need to do some touch-ups…. keep a box of Q-tips handy! 

How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood
So faux finish or paint every other diamond. You are only able to paint every other diamond each day… otherwise you will be taping over diamonds that are still wet! Rip off (or cut if you need to) your tape immediately unless the diamonds need a second coat. Let the walls dry overnight.

Then the next day, 
faux finish or paint every other diamond. Un-tape the entire wall or room.
Finally, we cleaned off our chalk lines and added upholstery tacks where ever the diamonds met.

How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood

This room was gorgeous to begin with. But the faux just added some warmth and depth to the wall. I hope you all love it as much as we do!

How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood

So dreamy in fact, that Cheryl called me up and asked us to do the 2 walls on both sides of the focal wall in the same pattern. Look at how pretty this is when the diamond pattern “wraps” to the next walls.

I wish you could come through the computer and “FEEL” these walls. If you have never felt Lusterstone before… it’s just lovely. It has a velvety texture to it…. so soft and pretty. And it looks like butter….


Cheryl has actually painted her crown molding black since we were last there…

How to Paint Harlequin Diamonds Jennifer Allwood


Accent and feature walls are so much fun to have in your home. If you’re wanting to learn a few new techniques, join my Paint Finish of the Month club where you’ll have access to 20 of my DIY Finish Videos – including some gorgeous wall finishes!! You’ll also learn two new finishes each month from the industry’s top painters!

Happy Painting,



  • LOVELY and like the lusterstone effect!!! And I bow down to you, because I must admit I won’t even show Harleys in my ‘folio! Math was my best subject as well, but I just don’t have the patience – you guys rock!!

    I cracked up at your piled high tower to raise the level – I will have to share, one day, the photo where I did a very similiar thing – trying to raise a projector in a clients bathroom!

  • Girly Stuff says:

    That is incredible!! I never knew I could get so excited about painting! You make me want to faux everything in my house…including the kids!

    I am mathematically challenged…I don’t know if I could ever do something so precise…my hat off to you! Again!

  • fung family says:

    Jen, you really have a gift. Everything you do is beautiful! I love that diamond pattern!

    My girl is not quite as busy as the boys. They are master destroyers. I’m thinking of hiring them out for babyproofing peoples homes. Seriously, they can have a room trashed in a matter of minutes! Baby girl is still not walking, though. She will take about 5 steps and that’s it! How about Ava? I bet she is running!

  • fung family says:

    oh, I forgot to ask, how do you get the upholstery tacks to stay in?

  • KC Mom says:

    I love it!!

  • Shauna says:

    It is to die for! and the crazy thing is people it is even better in person!

  • OOOOhhh, la la….love it!!


  • Laretha says:

    pics are amazing but really – nothing like the real thing baby!

  • Another FANTABULOUS job! Thanks for showing us the diamond love!

  • Schmoodles says:

    OH MY GOODNESS!!! This is my new favorite finish!! I love it!!!! I also love how the black furniture sets off the light colors in the room. WOW! You and my sis (Joy) are amazing!!

  • Katy says:

    The walls look wonderfully fantastic!!!! I would have a hate hate relationship w/ the entire job, I don’t like taping (ugh), I don’t like having boundaries to paint within (ugh) and three I don’t really enjoy painting walls (ugh). Now, I DO paint walls and other things in my home…I love the outlook, but not the work so much.
    SO, kudos to you and Joy for the GREAT looking room! You two gals rock!!

  • Your room turned out lovely. The measuring, the remeasuring, the taping, the laser stand. It all brought back the funny memories I have of the room we did. The client must have thought we were nuts – up in that room for a long time seemingly not doing a thing. Good work Jennifer!

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