I came back from Marrakech in November with patterns swirling in my head. We can see all these pictures on Pinterest, Flickr and Google Images, but it’s different to be there in person, surrounded by Moroccan patterns on six sides — on not just four walls, but floors and ceilings too! Here’s a small sample of patterns I “collected” almost like a botanist collects plant cuttings when traveling. Then, I will show you how the patterns inspired some painted gift boxes …
Patterns at the Bahia Palace:
At the Saadian Tombs:
At the Royal Mansour, written about previously here but now I got to see it in person:
Oh, I have so many pictures, but it would be like making you sit and watch a slide show and I wouldn’t do that to you (anyone here old enough to have watched a relative’s vacation slide show in their living room?!). At least not unless I can give you some great popcorn and your preferred drinks. Because I can’t do that through a blog, those are pictures of just three of the coolest pattern combinations out of many I saw.
Inspired by all these patterns, I pulled out some Moroccan and Indian stencils from Royal Design Studio and played with them:
And this is what I created with them – Moroccan leather gift boxes!
If you want to make gift boxes like these, visit my how-to tutorial at PaintandPattern.com. I share a supplies list and the steps to do this there. I also share sources for where to find leather and other supplies.
These are paper maché boxes you can get at any hobby store like JoAnn, Michaels or Hobby Lobby. I glued pieces of leather to the boxes. I painted stencils on the leather and on the paper maché. You don’t have to do the leather part — you can paint right on the boxes and you’ll get the same look.
The keys to getting this mixed pattern look are this:
- Use several colors of paint – each box above has three colors. And your leather can also add another color.
- Choose a mix of three (or more!) very different stencil patterns.
When choosing patterns, I took some cues from the Marrakech pictures. If you study the little three-picture “slide show” above from Marrakech, there’s something all those scenes have in common. They each have geometric tiles. And they each have curvy scrolly shapes in carved stone.
So I took inspiration from those patterns, and chose a mix of geometric stencils and scrolly medallion stencils. And I mixed all these patterns together on a single box. If you want to have fun playing with patterns, doing it on a small project like this is a good way to do it. It’s less overwhelming than say, doing a whole wall with a crazy pattern mix like this.
Or, you could mix patterns on canvas or wood and make wall art!
So check out the tutorial at PaintandPattern.com if you want more how-to detail. If you like this idea but haven’t visited Paint and Pattern before, you might find a lot more you like over there — it’s a whole online blogzine about paint, stencils and patterns! I post projects there about twice a month.
And I hope this helps you see more potential with patterns and to be braver to try a crazier mix. I admit I’ve been shy about lots of mixed patterns but visiting Marrakech really opened my eyes.