DIYdiy projects

DIY Project: Patterned Picnic Blanket

by Kate Pruitt

It’s pouring outside as I write this, but I know there are sunny fall days ahead, and I intend to get out and enjoy the turning of the leaves eventually. I thought this design from Stevie May and Ashley Renuart provided a unique spin on the traditional picnic blanket, and it’s pretty enough to double as wall art when not in use on the lawn. They were inspired by Twister and Backgammon boards, but once they took to the surface with paint and tape, a totally unique pattern emerged. If you find yourself with a bit of spare time, you could easily make this on a weekday afternoon and be picnicking by the weekend. — Kate

Read the full how-to after the jump . . .

We decided to make a bright patterned picnic blanket to share with our friends. As we were sketching out our plans for the design, we thought anyone could take the idea further by making a game out of the layout. Our idea was to make a colorful Twister or Backgammon-like patterned picnic blanket to lay out for entertaining at backyard BBQs or days at the beach with the family. Our version definitely took some surprising turns from the original look of the game and showed our true esthetic preferences! This is a fun collaborative project (we suggest having a second pair of hands and eyes for this DIY). — Stevie & Ashley


  • Scotch painter’s tape or masking tape
  • new or found sheet (fitted or not) and pillow case (for practicing) (Any fabric blend will do, but we prefer cotton.)
  • scissors
  • spray paint (Pick out 3–4 in various shades and values — this could be upholstery spray paint or outdoor spray paint. We even found spray paint for fake flowers!)
  • a drop sheet or plastic liner to protect the floor
  • extra scrap wood or large sheets of paper to block the spray paint from getting into unwanted areas
  • paper weights/paint buckets or anything to hold down your fabric
  • sketchbook
  • pencil
  • ruler



1. Take your favorite sketchbook and pencil and draw a few rectangles to represent the layout of your picnic blanket. Then start thinking of simple geometric shapes and patterns that suit your fancy (think of quilt patterns, argyle, ombre and diamond shapes). After you have chosen your plan of action, make sure your sheet is ready to go. Iron it for easy painting, and if it’s a fitted sheet, cut off the elastic. Then prep your painting area (outdoors is best)! Place a cover (either a drop sheet or extra liner) under the sheet you are using for your design.

2. Anchor your edges so that the fabric doesn’t ripple or fly away. Play with the spray paint on an extra pillow case to practice. Start laying out the basic shapes of your design with Scotch painter’s tape and mark areas with a pencil to realize the whole design.

3. Start spraying with your favorite colors (but remember that the tape is your negative space, and you may want to go back in and paint those areas when you’re done).

4. Use paper and scrap wood to block bigger areas from unwanted spray paint and let it rip! Once the paint is dry, pull it off and reveal the final pattern.

You’re done!

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