How to paint a scallop border

Hey guys! Holy Crow-ly! We are IN the studio! Yes there are some tiny little bits that still need to be finished up, but we are in there working! And we couldn't be more excited! Take that Hurricane Sandy! We took some pics yesterday and we should have a mini tour to share with you guys this week!     Today, we have a super fun, super easy wall treatment tutorial for you! A scallop border! Our studio is actually quite tiny, but we have a second connecting room that is studio storage...a full wall of cabinets and a big long counter top. This space here is exclusively for sitting down and creating...though we do keep our most used supplies close at hand! We've got the walls full of favorite things, inspiring elements, our classic colors...and shelves holding our fave collectibles and keepsakes. 

For the walls we went with a color somewhere between tan and gray, which we've been calling gran ...or tay! It works as instant age. An old timey, general store type of feel. All of our candy colors are simultaneously vibrant and more subdued against this backdrop...if that's possible. And being that the wall color is more on the masculine side, we thought a scallop border would soften it a bit...make it fun...add a touch of whimsy. 

You can see that we went with a skyward facing scallop. We've had scallop borders facing down in the past. Two homes ago we did one with black and white stripes, like an awning. So for this new room we were eager to go with an all new look for us.
We think a decorative border like this would be perfect in a studio, bathroom, or vintage inspired nursery!

Wanna give it a go? Here's how! 

What you will need:

-Paint of course! (we used Benjamin Moore. Mayonnaise and Rockport Gray, both in eggshell.)
- 2 inch paint brush (or whatever size you feel comfortable using.) 
- roller
- round disk / circle. (We used a 9 inch wide bowl)
- pencil
- scissors
- a piece of poster board
- yard stick

Ok, you'll notice that our room starts out as pale aqua. This was the old color that was there when Hurricane Sandy hit. We had to replace the sheetrock on the lower portion of the room, which we taped and spackled and all that good stuff...but that has nothing to do with this fab scallop border. Just wanted you to know that we left the room the old color and then just painted this new scallop design right over it. 
So for the top part of our wall, the white, we only painted in the portion that you'd see above the gray scallop. We did this both to conserve paint and to speed up the process. But you can paint your scallop (our gray) right over your existing color. Or you can roll your whole room one color and then paint your scallop color right over top of that after. 

The first step is deciding what size your scallops will be. We kept it fairly simple and got out some plates and bowls of different diameters, held them up to the wall, and decided what would look best. It was between two sizes for us and we went with the larger. It's a small room and we thought the larger scallop would make the room look not as small. 

Next you want to determine the height of your scallop border. Use your yard stick to measure the same distance down from the ceiling around your whole room and mark with little pencil dashes. We wanted ours about 20 or so inches from the ceiling, but we could definitely imagine doing this look as a chair rail...half walls look great. And again, the small size of our room also worked well with our design choice. By putting the scallop higher on the wall we visually heightened the room. A dark color on bottom and a light color up top creates the illusion of a slightly higher ceiling.

Once you've measured all around the room then use your yard stick as a straight edge and connect all of your pencil dashes with one continuous line of pencil.

Now fill in the top portion with paint. Decide if you want to use your brush or a roller depending on how much space you have to cover. Ours was sorta small so Aaron used a brush.

 We did two coats.

While your paint is drying make the scallop template. First measure the diameter of your circle to determine half of it. 

Then on your poster board draw a line equal to half of the diameter of your circle.

Lay your circle down on the poster board and bring the edge of the circle flush against the line you drew. Trace your half circle, slide the circle to the right keeping it flush to the line and flush to the edge of the half circle that you just traced, and then trace the next scallop and so on til you can't fit anymore on your poster board. Keeping flush to the line will ensure that you don't end up with wonky scallops. 

Yup, cut out your scallop template.

Now that your paint is dry you can go ahead and trace the scallops on. Just keep the bottom edge of your poster board flush with the line on your wall.

With your brush paint in the scallops. For this stage we were glad that we chose larger scallops...painting larger curves is easier and the larger they are the less of them there are to do. When painting these in just pull your paint down slightly below the dividing line that you drew around the room. Just enough space so that when you roll paint in the next step you've got a bit of a comfort zone with the roller and you're not afraid that you might roll right up over the scallops and onto the white part of the wall. And yes, we did two coats of this as well.

The final step is easy and rewarding. Roll the remaining part of the wall...roll right up to meet the paint of the scallops. We had to roll two coats for this step as well to get full coverage over the aqua. I think you'll be surprised at how quickly it all comes together. And the scallop being higher up on the wall seriously did make the ceiling look way taller! The room is tiny and any enlarging illusion is welcome...we'll be working endless days and nights in this room after all! 

Paint used:
Benjamin Moore 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below! And if you try this for yourself...we'd love to see pics! 

Happy Painting!
xo Jenny & Aaron


  1. I love this idea. Thanks for the demo!

  2. Hi Jenny, I looove scallop borders, I especially loved your last one,to me it was the bestest!!! This is cute too, but I keep wanting to see a little bauble hanging down from the little points! You guys are such a wonderful wealth of inspiration, I loove the tutorial, it RoCkS!!! A fan, Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  3. I just got a bowl like your blue one from the thrift store in pink and I love it. Can't wait to see more pictures of your studion.

    Vintagehoneybee.blogspot. com

  4. You made it look so easy! Wish I was allowed to paint the walls in my apartment. I love that there's a paint colour called Mayonnaise!


  5. Looks AMAZING!! I loveeeeeeeeeee the scallops!!!

  6. Wow, so beautiful and love the color!! Thanks for sharing how to do it!! Wishing you a sweet week and your studio looks amazing!! xo Heather

  7. Very pretty! I love grey... we have a very similar grey on our walls on our main floor :)


  8. That is such a wonderful idea and the execution is beautiful. I'm mostly glad to know that I am not the only one who uses cups, plates, and bowls any time and EVERY time I need a round template!

  9. Jenny, this is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with us!! :) Love your colors & how it all turned out.

  10. it looks so cute! thanks for the tutorial :)

  11. I'm so glad that you got to do scallops again! I remember the ones you did before and figured they'd been ruined by Hurricane Sandy. These are so fun! Love the whole room - very inspirational and just plain happy! Hugs, Leena

  12. you guys are just too amazing!!! I am so glad your studio is up and running, and it will never truly be done, they are always changing to accommodate whatever projects we are working on, aren't they?
    miss you and love you!!!

  13. This is awesome! I need to share this the next time I share DIY Tutorials on my blog (next week maybe???) So happy to things coming along in your home!

  14. Jenny... love this post.. you and Aaron.. do the most fun things...!! xoxo

  15. This is awesome i like yourpainting ideas using scallops you guys work like professionals & using fully measurement skills.


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xo Jenny & Aaron

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