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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Painted Plywood Floors - Scaling Your Design

You've finally settled on a design you like, you've done all your homework and believe it matches perfectly with your floor plan...that hard work's over, right?  Or is it?

I'm now going to show you how to take your digital (or plain ole' pen and paper) drawing and apply a scale to it that you can use to transfer to your floor for painting.  It's actually quite simple and requires very few measurements!  So let's get started!

Whether it's losing weight, running long distances, or sitting through a long speech that you can't stand, it's best to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks.  You're not losing 50 pounds, you're losing 3 pounds a week.  You're not running 20 miles, you're running 2 miles at a time.  And so on.  By taking a project that seems HUGE and breaking it down, it makes several smaller projects that are much easier to complete and much less overwhelming.

The same is true for my floor designs.  If I tried to paint them all perfectly symmetrical, I'd either be working on it for 5 years, or give up trying.  But if I had several small 'boxes' to paint, using a guide...well that's just easy!

Here is my concept design for our new hallway, 3D and 2D.  Think I could hand paint all those lines?  Absolutely not!! haha.

3D Perspective view and 2D Orthographic view - Painted Plywood Floor
3D Perspective view and 2D Orthographic view

But let's stop thinking of the entire project as a whole.  Remember, break it into small, manageable chunks.  If you take a closer look, you'll see that the same pattern actually repeats throughout the whole design.  In fact, when I created it, I only drew two lines...the rest is copying, pasting, and scaling to fit.  So let's start from the beginning...strip away all the borders, corner designs, and duplicate images and what do you have?  This:

Primary design that will be mirrored throughout the hallway
Half of the design, mirrored throughout the hall

This design is flipped, copied, resized, and mirrored all through the hall.  So if I can replicate this to scale, I can do pretty much the whole thing!  

To start, draw a box around your design, then 'third it' length-wise so you have three long rectangle pieces.  Then divide it up into 10 equal-size columns running up and down.  It should look like this:

3 x 10 grid applied to design to allow scaling
Grid applied to half of one design

Want to know how to get all of the boxes perfectly sized?  Well, if you've got Microsoft Excel on your computer and have some experience with a graphics program (I used Gimp), then simply take a screenshot of equally-sized cells and paste them as a new layer in your program...then cut out the 'white space', leaving your design behind.  If you don't have this, or just aren't that great with computers, a little math and a ruler will get you exactly what you need :)

So now let's review what we've got.  Instead of one large, very difficult to hand-paint design, I've got a complex pattern broken down into 30 easily manageable pieces.  All I need to do now is think about my scale.  I know that all three of my hallway 'pieces' are different sizes.  The balcony is slightly longer than the bath/utility room hallway, and the center hallway is longer than the other two.  So we know they'll all be the same 'height', some might just need to be stretched or shrunk length-wise to fit their respective hallway.  Let's discuss how I plan to do that.

First, set your height.  It's really the only 'constant' in this whole process.  No
Set your design to scale using the appropriate height
10" Tall with 3 x 3.33" Rows
matter how long or short the design is, it will always be the same height.  It my case, I'm going to set the design height at 10".  So I've got a 3" thick border around the entire hall, a 1/2" gap, another 1/2" thin accent border, another 1/2" gap, and finally I'm setting my design to be 10" tall all the way around.  This means that each of my 'inner rows' are spaced 3.33" from each other.

Let's do a couple more measurements.  Is one end of your hallway 168" long?  Take that number and cut it in half...84" (also known as 7 feet).  Why did we cut it in half?  Because our design above is split down the middle.  We're setting it to scale, painting it, then flipping the design to paint the other half.  So the first half would be exactly 7' long, making each of your 10 columns 8.4" wide.

Create your grid using the exact dimensions, then transfer it to your floors
10" high by 84" long, for each half of the design

But my balcony is 180" wide.  All I have to do is keep the same 10" height,
Overlap in designs creates a nice accent effect in the center of our hallway
Slight overlap
but instead of drawing my columns 8.4" apart, I draw them 9" apart (180" / 2 / 10).  And now what about my main center hallway?  It's 240" long.  I'm going to place two designs right beside each other, with a slight overlap to cause the point in the middle as seen here.  With a little math, I'll eventually calculate that each of my boxes will be 6.4" wide.  A little less than the others, but it keeps the same consistent pattern throughout.  Your floor will now look like this...lots of boxes!!

Draw your grid on the entire hallway.  You should have several hundred by the time you're done!
Nearly 480 Boxes!!!

Now, simply sketch in each box using a light stroke with a pencil or marker, making sure each box 'connects' to the other to create one smooth design.  And before long, it'll start to look something like this:

Draw in each box, one at a time.  Just make sure they all line up when you're done
Draw in each square, one at a time

Finished drawing in the thicker line, using boxes as guides.
Finish one half of the design to ensure it all flows smoothly

Keep at it, and paint the smaller line in, keeping with the same process as before:

Add smaller accent line to make your floor design stand out
Add the smaller accent line to your floor

Eventually, you will have painted in all 480 squares!!!  And voila...your complex design...the one that took you days to create and finally settle on...has gone from your mind, to your paper, to your floor.  Follow these same rules for your corner design, creating a 10 x 10 square.

In the end, it'll look just like this.  Congratulations, and I hope this tutorial helped you take your design and transfer it to the floor you always wanted.

Completed 3D render of hallway concept design using Blender 2.7
Final 3D rendition of future floor design
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