Home Makeover,  The Home

My Hand Painted Checkered Floors

I can hardly believe I painted my own floors. Crazy, right? With Annie Sloan Chalk Paint actually.

It was surprisingly easy once we wrapped our wits around it.

Step-by-step: How I hand painted checkered floors on the diagonal with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.

This is the traditional way that most DIYers will share on how to paint checkered floors, but I have to confess that my husband had a quicker way that we ended up using when we painted checkered squares in the kitchen which actually took 4 hours from taping the floor to the first coat of polyurethane. 

But this post doesn’t cover that method. You can find that one here.

The main difference between these two methods is the taping process. 

Supplies & Materials:

  • Pencil
  • T-Square
  • Scotch Brand 3M Painter’s Tape
  • 9″ Paint Rollers
  • Painter’s Trays
  • Padco Floor Trim Pads (Floor Sealer Applicator)
  • Annie Sloan Decorative Chalk Paint (Old White and French Linen)
  • Varathane High Traffic Floor Finish in Satin Finish

First things first:

When we painted these floors, we first determined a control line. This is the line that we felt would be most visually appealing and draw the eye. In our case, the line goes from our front door (which you can’t see in this picture because I’m standing just inside of it and to the left). But we wanted a clear line from the front door to the back window. That “line” needed to go down the center of a row of squares on the diagonal.

We penciled in the actual lines before taping, but I could not get a photo that captured that on the gray floors, so I’m showing these photos for illustration purposes first.

How to hand paint checkered floors: First, determine the control line. You can see it in yellow going from the center of the front door.

As you can see in the photo below, going across the area, there are 3 full diagonal checkers per row, then a half square-2 full squares-a half square, then 3 full squares, etc.  The yellow arrow going from left to right shows the line closer that I show in the photo above. The line going from top to bottom is dead center of the middle square (diamond at this angle) in the row with 3 full squares.

There are actual pencil lines that we used before taping.

We determined aesthetically which squares we wanted to paint; in this case, the outside half squares to create the illusion of a border. Note that we did not paint an actual border on these, so this was important. 

How to hand paint checkered floors: Tape the borders, then using the control lines, tape each square.

Each square is 20″ on each side, and from diagonal corner to corner is 28″. We actually used a t-square once we established the lines that create the border to draw each square. 

We added blue painters tape to the t-square at 20″ so we could see the measurement at a glance. We also added a piece of tape on the end so we could easily lift the t-square off the floor. 

Hand Painted Floors: I taped the measurement on the T-square for ease of measurement.

We put single squares of tape in each square that we were not painting. If you look closely near the bottom, you can see that the tape is along the INSIDE of the square on each of the ones with a piece of tape in the middle. 

It is vitally important to run the tape along the entire inside of the squares that are not being painted (every other square) as this is how you create a checkered floor where the actual squares touch on the corners. 

If you just taped straight lines, there would be a gap between each square at the corners and it would not look like an actual checkerboard. 

An important word about the tape.
The brand you use matters. I know a lot of bloggers recommend the green stuff, and I know they have a program for bloggers. I even bought it and tried it myself because of a blogger, but I found that the paint leaked underneath creating uneven lines. This blue tape is the Scotch 3M Brand Painter’s Tape and it has NEVER let me down. My lines are crisp and clean and the tape doesn’t lift until I lift it, and it’s gentle enough to leave the paint behind. I don’t know if 3M has a blogger’s program or not (that would be awesome), but I would highly recommend them anyway. It does exactly what it says, and the packaging is more eco-friendly.

Hand Painted Checkered Floors: With this method, I hand taped each individual square, avoiding the squares I marked with a single piece of tape. I was careful to paint the contrasting color on all OUTSIDE squares so that I created a border of sorts.

Once the floor was fully taped, I painted each bigger square using a 9″ paint roller. I opted to use the darker color as my base because I was willing to have the darker color bleed through and create a distressed look. The coverage is excellent though, so there was no bleed-through.

The paint dries within 15 minutes of application, so as soon as I finished painting the first coat, I started over immediately and applied the second coat. Another 15 minutes, and I was able to remove the tape.

Hand Painted Checkered Floors: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint dries very quickly, and it only required two coats. I was able to remove the tape within 15 minutes. LOVE!

The quicker method I mentioned earlier does not involve individually taping the squares, so is more accurate and less time-consuming. The result is the same though: Gorgeous floors!

Look at those crisp, beautiful lines! I’m telling you, use the blue tape. Perfect!

Hand Painted Checkered Floors: I tested a number of water-based, non-toxic sealers. I settled on this Varathane High Traffic Formula in Satin. Perfect!

Once the floors were dry. I put on a clean pair of white socks and used a Swiffer mop head with old t-shirts instead of a pad to ensure that there was no lint on the floor. 

I followed the instructions on the can of Varathane and used a floor trim pad which is specifically designed for applying sealers with the least streaking and bubbles.

I poured the Varathane into a painters’ tray. I did not shake it or pump it, I just ran my brush gently into the tray and then in single strokes from the far end toward me, I applied the Varathane. 

The important point here is to not move too quickly because you don’t want to create bubbles in the sealer. This is really explained well on the can of the Varathane and I can not stress enough how important it is to read the directions and follow them.

I started at the far end of the room, and “painted” my way to the exit.

Hand Painted Checkered Floors: Once the sealer was completely dry, these were my hand painted checkered floors. Gorgeous!

I applied 4 separate coats, allowing each to fully dry before the next coat was applied. After the final coat, I waited 48 hours before moving my furniture back in.

And here was the final result of the room after putting all the furniture back in:

Hand Painted Checkered Floors: Here is the final look. I love it!

Dining table and chairs painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, then waxed with regular and dark wax.
That blue feature wall is painted in Behr Premium Plus Flat Color 510F-5 BAYSIDE

Hand Painted Checkered Floors:  Annie Sloan Chalk Old White and French Linen

The white squares are an equal mix of 1:1 French Linen to Old White.

The gray squares are a mix of 3:1 French Linen to Old White.

Easy to clean up. Beautiful. And perfect for sock skating.

Be Awesome Every Single Day

Are you planning on painting your floors? I’d love to see what you do. Let me know in the comments below.


  • Arin

    Hello, I assume you painted over plywood, correct? May I ask if you secured the floor w/ screws or nails? Also, did you leave the seams ‘as is’ or apply something to mask the seams; likewise did you apply anything over the nails or screw-heads to mask those as well? I painted my kitchen floor last year & it looked beautiful in the beginning but looks like a disaster now due to the seams cracking the paint plus using an incorrect product for the finish. Please advise on the technical aspects of your initial floor application so I don’t have to re-do this over & over again. I thank you for your time, your floors look beautiful!

    • Siouxie

      Hi Arin. The floors are actually concrete. We originally had hardwood floors which suffered water damage. When we removed those, we found terrazzo underneath, but it was damaged in places, so we covered the floor with self-leveling concrete which led me to the idea of painting the floors 🙂

  • shelly pack

    Can you share with me the accent wall color in your dining room? I am wanting to do an accent wall in mine in a similar color.

    • Siouxie

      Hi Shelly. The color is Behr Premium Plus Flat Color 510F-5 BAYSIDE. I’m still smitten after all these years. 🙂

  • Jared

    Hi Siouxie,

    Floor looks great, i’d like the opinion of your husband on the difficulty here, you made it sound easy :). (My wife loves this and would like to do it on our patio) I am a very experienced painter (but HATE it) and would like a true difficultly level indicator.How long did ya’ll spend taping…

    • Siouxie

      Hi Jared.
      Thanks for stopping by. So, I actually taped and painted the floors mostly myself. My husband helped me on the main floors with some of the rolling, but I am weirdly the one who paints, sands, and crafts the DIY stuff (for the most part). The taping was quite tedious and it did take a couple of hours, but it wasn’t terrible. This floor area is long and about the width of a wide porch. I will tell you that he did come up with a mathematical system when we did the kitchen that was absolutely brilliant and reduced the taping time WAY down–like waaaaaay down. I’ve ordered him to detail that just now and he’s on it. If you shoot me an email, I will send you the instructions before I even post them on the blog. By the way, it’s so worth it! Your wife will not be disappointed!

    • Siouxie

      Hey Jared, this is “the husband” replying under Siouxie’s login. The first project (the dining room) we drew a reference square in pencil, and then extended the lines from that to make the checkerboard, and then taped EACH SQUARE which, as you can imagine was extremely laborious. So, after that, when we proceeded to do the checkerboard design again in the kitchen, I talked my wife into letting me try a math-based method instead. In that case we drew the rectangle of the area we were going to checkerboard, and then I measured off and made marks along the edges (using the hypotenuse of the square size we wanted – because we wanted the checkers to be diagonally oriented), then we snapped chalk lines from point to point across, and then we taped in long stretches from edge to edge. It’s really hard to explain without drawing out a diagram, but basically we taped and painted every other row, let the paint dry, then taped the remaining rows and painted those. But the taping was long strips from point to point rather than the labor intensive hand-taping of each individual square. And THAT made a huge difference! The dining room took DAYS, while the kitchen took about 4 hours from start to finish. My wife was shocked that my method worked. I just smiled knowingly 😉

  • Keeli

    I am interested to see the method that you used in the kitchen but I can’t find the link. Can you share it again? Thanks! Planning on starting this project tomorrow.

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