Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY Circus Tent Ceiling Tutorial

After coming across this gorgeous circus tent ceiling on Pinterest, I have been determined to incorporate this idea into Bean new room. This weekend, after weeks of dreaming, plan finally came to fruition.  The walls and ceiling of her new room were painted a tan color that I once loved for the guest room but that simply would not do for Bean’s Big Girl Room. 
Step 1: We painted the inside of the closet ( I added horizontal pink lines), the ceiling and 12” down the wall with White.  As we painted our fourth coat, we learned a valuable lesson about saving $12 on the cheap generic brand paint. Trust me,  paint quality is not the place to save a few bucks!

Step 2: Straight Lines!! After the ceiling was painted white, it was time to tape the lines for the circus tent.  Admittedly, this was a bit intimidating but in the end it was so much easier than I anticipated.  I began on the upper 12” of the wall that we had painted white. Now I sketched it out on AutoCad to figure out the scale of the triangles.  Bean’s room was essentially 11’0” X 11’ 1” with a strange little entrance Bump.     

I figured out that the triangles at the ceiling line would need to be approximately 19” to make them all the same so I began at the corners and drew a vertical line every 19” using my handy level to keep them straight.  I started at the corner and worked to the middle of the wall.  This meant that the excess measurement ended up in the center space. You can see from my diagram that AutoCad came in very handy in extending the lines into the entrance area.

Step 3: Once I had the vertical lines drawn, I began painting every other square the pink color. 

Step 4: Chalk Lines!! When the vertical blocks were painted the husband and I took a chalk line and snapped a line following the pattern on the diagram.
Step 5: More Lines!  With the chalk lines up, it was time for tape.  I knew this project would depend on a straight crisp line so this is a place where I splurged on the good painters tape.  Was it a necessary splurge?  I have no idea but the idea of painting this ceiling twice made the extra $10 bucks more than worth it!

As we taped to the middle we kept the tape inside the “white area”.  This part is crucial.  We also let our tape overlap in the center. You can tape more precisely to get a perfect point in the middle but I am LAZY! I also planned on adding a ceiling medallion to the center of the ceiling so I was not overly concerned with the center 18”.

Step 6: PAINT!  To be honest once the tape went up, the painting was a breeze and went quite fast.  The next day the tape came down and well honestly I was in love!!!

We were left with the brown on the wall, which looked especially shabby with the newly painted ceiling so the next step was to paint the walls.

Step 7: Transition Strip! There are two ways that we considered transitioning from painted ceiling to the wall.  You could paint a horizontal line or you could use molding.  We went with the latter. We used cheap vinyl trim called trellis trim.  It was $2 for an 8’-0” piece and was a simple 2”w square trim. The trim can be cut with a utility knife and applied with a simple construction adhesive.  Is this the correct way to do it? I don’t know, but it did the job and it looks great!  

I also had my hubby build window valances so we simply ran the trim right into the valance.  (picture tutorial to follow)

In the end the job was much easier than I expected it to be so if you give it a try be sure to share your experience with me! I thought I would feel relieved when the painting was done but now really there is still quite a long To Do list from bedding to storage to curtains so check back and please let me know if you have any ideas or comments for me!


  1. Looks great! I am currently attempting something similar. To get even segments I used a giant compass to draw a circle in the middle and then used the compass to break the circle into 6, then 12, then 24 segments. Felt like going back to geometry classes at school.

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  3. This nice, If you can paint on the wall like tent, i think this will perfect

  4. the tutorial is helpful for us. I was searching at last I've got.

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