Making a Faux Linoleum Floor in the Doll House

I started with a blank slate in the classroom, which is 24″ deep by 48″ wide. There’s a window on the side wall that’s 7″ x 12″. The classroom is on the top floor so the side walls are angled to reflect a roof shape.

I wanted our classroom space to feel like how I remember school in elementary and middle school. We moved around a lot when I was growing up. Between kindergarten and 7th grade, I went to 6 schools in 3 states, in 2 countries and lived in 6 houses. Something that pops up in my memories for all the schools is linoleum flooring. I knew our classroom had to replicate the look of linoleum tiles on the floor.

When I imagine school linoleum flooring, I picture a checkerboard pattern with beige and a mix of soft gender-neutral friendly colors. For my colors, I picked blue, aqua, green, yellow and orange.

To start the faux linoleum floor, I created a pencil-line grid with lines spaced every 3″. American Girls are said to be between 1:3 and 1:4 scale, which would make the tiles between 9″ and 12″ square in human size.

When I made the grid, I centered the “tiles” widthwise (made a center line, then marked every 3″ from it on each side). Lengthwise I wanted full size “tiles” along the front of the classroom which leaves a row of partial tiles along the back wall, where it is less noticeable.

The easiest way to paint a precise checkerboard pattern with tape is to do it in two main steps.

For the first step, tape off every other row and column. This leaves half of the squares to be painted uncovered.

I forgot to take a picture of this step, so created a mock-up to show what that looks like, above.

I wanted the color placement of my tiles to be random, so I didn’t plan out where each color would go.

Use a sponge to apply the paint to give a mottled look to the tiles.

Once the paint dries, remove the tape (pictured above). Let the paint dry overnight before continuing.

For the next step, tape off the rows and columns that have already been painted.

Again, I forgot to take a picture of this step, so I did a digital mock-up of what that would look like; see above.

In the picture above, I’ve finished the second round of checkerboard painting and taken off some of the tape (and then I remembered to take a picture).

Once all of the colored tiles are painted and the tape removed, dip a toothbrush in paint and rub your thumb over the bristles to speckle the surface with tiny spots of white and grey paint.

➜ Practice this action somewhere else first (in an empty cardboard box?) to get the technique how you want it.

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