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DIY Paint Pen Accent Wall (Cheapest Faux Wallpaper Ever)

Are you looking for a very unique way to dress up a room? We searched high and low for the right modern wallpaper but found a much better solution. Save time and the hassle of hanging wallpaper by creating a hand-drawn black-and-white accent wall for under $10!

black and white paint marker mural with gold bathroom mirror on wall.

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Choosing A Design

First, you have to decide if black and white is the style you are going for. If you want more color, then you can consider designing with painter’s tape or geometric shapes first and then adding hand-drawn elements to your painted wall patterns.

Modern Style

Before we decide to just draw on the wall, we were looking at different black and white hand-drawn wallpapers at places like Etsy and Pottery Barn.

Things To Consider When Planning Your Wall

  • Do you want an abstract design, nature-inspired or a combination for your DIY accent wall design?
  • Do you want a variety of lines where some are thicker and some are thinner?
  • What else will go on the wall? Will the space be broken up with things hanging on the wall like a shelf or mirror?
  • If designing a more traditional faux wallpaper, are you going to repeat the same pattern over and over? If do this you will probably want to consider making a template like we did when making this painted geometric wall idea.
black painted bathroom cabinets with gold mirror and black and white paint pen wall.

Our Plan

We knew that we wanted a natural look to the lines and even a sketchy quality. This faux wallpaper would be more random instead of completely repeated.

By not worrying too much about the repetition you are able to just have fun drawing a bathroom wall mural.

Best Markers For Drawing On Walls

This is one of the most important parts of creating a hand-drawn wall. You can use a variety of different types of permanent markers, however, we recommend using these water-based paint markers.

Be careful, because these markers can also come in oil-based. If you ever want to change the room decor, it will be easier for you to paint over your wall mural if you draw with water-based markers instead of oil-based ones.

ends of paint markers one with blue label saying water based and the other with pink saying oil based.

Cleaning Discovery

When cleaning around your wall be careful. We have found that while a little water won’t smear the marker, certain cleaners can. We had a little overspray that smeared by our toilet, but we were able to clean the smudging quickly with a wet paper towel.

As with any DIY, it is always smart to test your materials in your area first.

How To Use Paint Markers

Paint markers take a little bit of getting used to. We recommend practicing your drawing on paper before just jumping right into the white wall. This will help you get the feel and how much pressure to apply.

hand holding paint marker with black line drawings on white wall in background.

Get Your Marker Started

First, you have to follow the instructions to get your paint marker started.

  1. Open the package.
  2. Keep the paint pen upright and press the tip down into the canister.
  3. Recap and shake the marker.
  4. Press the tip of the paper to fully saturate the tip.

Recommended Supplies

Want Bolder Lines? This broader tip paint marker is also a great option and comes in a variety of colors.

No matter what design you choose, you can follow our basic steps. If free-hand drawing a mural isn’t really your thing, consider making a stencil out of cardboard that you could easily repeat.

Before You Begin

  • You should have practiced drawing with paint pens and markers.
  • You also need to start with a clean and dry painted surface. We painted our walls with SW Pure White before beginning this drawing process.
  • Tape any areas where your lines may hit the other walls and counters. Small pieces of tape will work just fine.
small bathroom with white paint on some parts of the walls.
You can see what this half-bathroom looked like before.

Do you need help deciding what color of paint to use?

We recently just tried Samplize, which beats having to buy individual paint samples. These 9″ x 14.75″ samples will be shipped directly to you and save the hassle of clean-up (we loved that). See our full review here.

woman drawing floral organic design with paint marker on white walls in bathroom.

How To Draw With Markers On Your Wall

Step 1: Create A Sketch Of Your Design On Paper

Sketching your design on paper is very important. Your design will naturally change once you start, but it is good to help get your ideas on paper first.

Step 2: Sketch Very Lightly With Pencil On The Wall

As lightly as you can, draw on the wall. If you think you can just go for it with the marker, it will save some eraser time in the end.

hand holding pencil drawing on white wall.

Since we were free-hand drawing this mural, we found pencil sketching was the best way to go for our design.

Pro Tip: Step away from the wall periodically and look at the sketch from a distance. When looking up close for a while it is hard to see what it really will feel like in the space.

Step 3: Begin Tracing With Paint Pen

Use the paint marker to go over your designs. It is easiest to do the thin lines first and then go back to thicken the lines that did not turn out as well.

woman in glasses using black paint pen on wall.

Pro Tip: When drawing on the wall, hold the paint marker at as much of a 90-degree angle as possible. This will help the paint flow out of the tip and give you the smoothest and bold line.

Step 4: Continue To Look At Your Mural From A Distance

Step back and look for areas that could use more details, thicker lines, or ones that should be left alone. Like most artmaking, it can be hard to decide when to stop. Just remember, sometimes less is more.

beginning of black organic lines drawn on wall to create floral accent wall.
Here is the start of the lines that were continually made thicker.

Step 5: Let The Paint Marker Fully Dry

These markers dry surprisingly fast on drywall. Just give extra time before erasing as you do not want to smudge all your hard work.

corner of a room with white walls and unique black line drawings of flowers, plants and a contour face.
Lines still have a sketchy quality but have been made bolder.

Step 6: Erase Visible Pencil Lines

On our Pure White wall, we were nervous about eraser marks and smudges. The pink eraser on a good-quality pencil worked the best for us with the texture of our wall. You can experiment with other erasers, but some seemed to smudge more than others.

hand holding yellow pencil using eraser to erase pencil lines on white wall with black marker drawing on it.
Take your time when erasing on your paint pen wall.

Optional: Use A Foam Brush For Touch-Ups

If have any areas that you don’t like or that smudge, you can use a small foam brush with your wall color to try to clean those areas up. Just be careful you don’t overdo it and make an area worse.

hand holding foam brush apply white paint to black marker wall.

Tips For Success

  • Before beginning, test that you are able to erase pencil lines on your wall without smudging or looking horrible. You need to be to lightly draw and find the right eraser for your space.
  • Paint markers or pens will give you a smoother and bolder line than regular permanent markers.
  • Plan your faux wallpaper ahead of time. If repeating a pattern, make a stencil or tape out guidelines.
  • You can use an overhead projector to project design on the wall. We were unable to do this due to this half bath being such a small space.

Before and After Small Bathroom Makeover

before bathroom with blue vanity, carpet and after image with black vanity and paint pen accent wall.
This “before and after” half-bathroom makeover was done with very limited demo.

We love this budget-friendly gold mirror we added to the accent wall.

Tutorial FAQs

Do the water-based paint markers smear?

When using the marker, you need to be careful not to rub your hand against the wet paint. Once the paint marker dries, it appears to be very permanent. The lines did not smudge when erasing the pencil and also when water was rubbed a little on the wall.

Can you use paint pens on walls?

Paint pens or markers are the perfect way to draw a fun mural or create faux wallpaper easily.

What is the difference between paint pens and paint markers?

Paint pens usually refer to a smaller tip on the end such as ultra-fine or fine and paint markers generally have a broader or chisel tip. You can use any-sized paint pen or marker for your mural. It just depends on what you are comfortable with and the details you are drawing.

Can you only use black markers for walls?

No, you are able to find water-based paint pens and markers in a variety of colors. If you don’t want white walls with black then you could always try to black or gray walls with white paint pens. for a fun and modern mural in your home.

How many markers did we use for our paint pen wall?

This accent wall has a lot of drawings and bold lines and we did not use 3 full markers. To keep the lines fresh and bold we switched between a 3-pack of water-based medium-tipped paint markers. We still have some paint left in all 3 markers.

Follow us on Pinterest, YouTube or Facebook for more DIY inspiration!

black and white organic accent wall in half bathroom with gold mirror and black painted vanity.

More Budget Bathroom DIY Projects

These cheap bathroom remodel projects helped us cheaply makeover this space. Seriously we could not believe that we were able to get this done for under $150!

collage of cheap bathroom DIY projects.

Get These Tutorials!

If you like this tutorial, make sure to give it 5-stars below 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩. It truly helps us to continue to bring your more free, budget-friendly DIYs.

Create A Paint Pen Accent Wall

Use our tutorial to learn how to make a hand-drawn mural in your home.
Print Tutorial
tricorn lack painted bathroom vanity with door and 3 drawers in half bathroom.
Prep:15 minutes
Active Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 Small Foam Brush optional
  • Painter’s Tape only a few small pieces

Supplies

Optional

Instructions

Before You Begin

  • Plan out your wall mural design on paper.
  • If needed, paint your walls a new base color of your choosing.

Making Your Wall Design

  • Follow directions on paint pen to get paint flowing.
  • Tape any areas where your lines may hit the other walls and counters. Small pieces of tape will work just fine.
  • As lightly as you can, draw on the wall with a pencil.
  • Step away from the wall periodically and look at the sketch from a distance. When looking up close for a while it is hard to see what it really will feel like in the space.
  • Use the paint marker to go over your designs with thin lines to start.
  • Continue to work on your lines by making some thicker than others. Make sure to hold the marker as close to 90° for the smoothest application.
  • Let the paint pen fully dry.
  • Use a good eraser to get rid of extra pencil lines.
  • If needed, add a little wall color to a foam brush to clean any smudges or imperfections.

Video

Notes

  • Test that you are able to erase pencil lines on your wall without smudging or looking horrible. You need to be to lightly draw and find the right eraser for your space.
  • Paint markers or pens will give you a smoother and bolder line than regular permanent markers.
  • Plan your faux wallpaper ahead of time. If repeating a pattern, make a stencil or tape out guidelines.
  • You can use an overhead projector to project design on the wall. We were unable to do this due to this half bath being such a small space.
Author: Erin Nutter
Cost: under $10

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2 Comments

  1. Peggy Wingstedt says:

    As a Zentangle artist I look forward to following your ideas!

    1. Hey Peggy. Thanks for your kind words. As a former art teacher, I love Zentangles and making them with our family. Your ideas probably would be awesome on an accent wall!