DIY swiss cross feature wall

Updated: Aug 10, 2018

As a renter, I'm not allowed to paint or permanently modify my apartment. I've looked into temporary wallpaper previously but it seemed outrageously expensive, and I couldn't find a pattern I loved.

I'm big into that Scandinavian influence so I'm all about anything with a Swiss cross. I've seen pictures before but couldn't find a fab tutorial so I winged it (wung it?). It's not perfect but I LOVE how it turned out.

The whole thing cost $3 and took about an hour to finish my 5' X 7' wall.

Here's how I did it:


  • 1 roll of black masking tape ($3 at Michaels)

  • ruler

  • post-its


1. Call a friend. You can totally do this with one person but it was more fun with a gal pal and vino.

2. Pick a wall. I wanted a feature behind my couch and also I didn't have many walls to choose from because windows and doors.

3. Clean your wall. Not that you're dirty (unless you are, which is cool) but it's nice to start with a clean canvas. I used Mr Clean Magic Erasers because they are ~literal magic~

3. Test some spacing options. For easy measuring, I started with 12".

  • Using a 12" ruler, I started at one end of the wall and mark the one-foot with a pencil.

  • I started at the top of the wall. I figured if the spacing didn't work at the bottom, that part could be hidden behind my couch.

  • Whatever length my wall is, I couldn't fit the crosses so that each end had a cross exactly 12" from the end. I decided I was fine with that.

  • I went back to the start of the wall. I measured 12" down from my original starting point. This was the start of my second row.

  • This time, I measured 6" from the end of the wall and marked the spot. This way my crosses would be staggered rather than in perfect rows.

  • From that point, I measured 12" between each mark until I reached the end of the wall

4. Post It. To get a better sense of what this pattern and spacing will look like, throw a post-it note on top of each mark and stand back from the wall. I decided I liked the spacing (and it was already done so, like, yay).

5. Decide on the size of cross. I liked the size of the post-it and thought it scaled well for the pattern and my wall. I decided to make each of the crosses the same size as the post-it, which is 3" X 3". 

6. Cut tape! My pal Julie cut 3" strips of masking tape, and I put them on the wall. It wouldn't have taken very long (maybe 30 minutes) but we kept stopping to drink wine/dance about (as one does).

7. With wine in hand, stand back and admire your work. Cheers with your pal and/or doggo, or lean out your window and shout self-congratulations into the wind (people love when you do this.)

I'm super happy with how this project turned out. I haven't (and will never) measure out the final spacing. It's definitely not perfect and I don't mind one bit. 

Have you figured out any creative ways to temporarily modify walls in rented places? I've seen giant stretched, coloured canvasses used in place of paint and would love to hear from someone who has done this!


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