Painting a Compass Rose

By | November 16, 2009

One of the first things I did upon arriving home (besides saying hi to the family, etc.) was paint a 45 inch compass rose on the floor of the camp in LLB. My dad and uncle were working on refinishing the hardwood floor, so this was the perfect time to do it.

My mom and I looked together online to find example compass roses, then created one of our own, using the elements we liked. Using a scaled down version of the process described below, I painted a practice compass rose on my little brother’s desk (much to his chagrin.)

  1. The empty room and the (ancient!) space heaters I used to warm the place up to begin work. I had to lightly sand down the floor before painting, then clear away the dust.
  2. I used a stencil cut out of vinyl (at Designotype Printers), which I transferred to the floor. It’s basically like a gigantic sticker which I applied with a squeegee. It was so big, I had to do it in two halves. The paint cans you see were my basic area to work in. I used a real compass to determine which direction was North so the compass rose would be accurately placed.
  3. The stencil all ready to go. Bright orange is not a beautiful color, but as a temporary stencil, it would do the trick.
  4. I used four different colors: two shades of green and two shades of a purplish color. Instead of doint one color completely before moving on, I worked from the top, down, to avoid smearing wet paint. I had a color printout to work from, to make sure I put the right colors in the right places.
  5. No one else was around, so I set up a self-timer to show myself working on the project.
  6. Finally it was all painted. (It took about an hour and a half to paint, plus an hour of setup work.)
  7. It took another half hour or so to (carefully!) peel up the vinyl stencil, leaving only the painted parts on the floor.
Painting a Compass Rose Process

It took awhile, but the end result of painting this compass rose was worth it!

Here is the finished stencil, one more time. The sun came snaking across the floor during this process so the lighting is a little skewed, but here’s the general idea. The “H” in the middle is for the family last name, in case you were wondering.

This was an incredibly fun project for me. It’s one step closer to my dream of one day painting a mural!


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5 thoughts on “Painting a Compass Rose

  1. Andrea

    ahem. i know of someone in need of a mural. right now…

    nice job at the camp!

  2. Jared

    How did you get the stencil made? I want to do something similar on my ceiling. Very close to the same idea.

  3. Ev

    Jared – The design was created in Adobe Illustrator, as a vector file. Then, at my parent's print shop, I sent the file to a plotter, which was able to cut the design in vinyl. Once the vinyl was cut, I put transfer tape on it, brought it to the location, and squeegeed it to the floor. Any sign shop should be able to create a stencil for you.

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