5 Easy Tips for Painting Polka Dots on Your Door Hangers
Do you love polka dots as much as I do? They add a fun, classic pattern to almost any door hanger design, whether it’s whimsical, traditional, or modern. And polka dots don’t have to be hard to paint, even if you’re a beginner! Here are my five favorite, easy ways for painting polka dots onto your next craft project!
Get Everything You Need to Paint Polka Dots!
These ideas are simple, even for beginners! You can even use several of these tips and techniques with items that you probably already have lying around the house to paint all different kinds of polka dots.
So think about what kind of door hanger design you might want to use with a polka dot pattern. A patriotic flag for the 4th of July, or a Thanksgiving turkey with bright feathers? Or maybe you just want nice, even circles to create details like bubbles, pearl necklaces, flower middles, or decorative outlines and borders.
For this tutorial, I used cardboard scraps to show you my painting examples. But the process would be the same on an actual door hanger. I always recommend using cardboard anytime you want to try a new paint pattern or painting technique. Or, save your wood scraps if you cut your own door hangers at home. You can always paint over a mistake on your door hanger, but you’ll be much more confident if you practice and try out the technique for a bit before you actually try it on a door hanger.
- Round Foam Sponge Paintbrush Set
- Martha Stewart Foam Brush Pouncers
- Martha Stewart Double-Sided Specialty Foam Sponges
- Nerf Gun Foam Bullet Darts
- Cardboard Tube rolls, in various sizes.
Note: Affiliate links included within this post for your convenience.
1. Repurpose Your Cardboard Tube Rolls
This is the easiest, cheapest way! Dig around in your bathroom garbage (if you aren’t too disgusted!) and look for a clean toilet paper roll. If you do paint parties, start collecting them! Since these are free and easy to get, they are perfect to use if you are going to host a painting party. Try to get one that is even and not smooshed so that your circle is nice and symmetrical.
Some toilet paper rolls seem thicker and sturdier than others. Those will give you a little more perfect circles, but you can really make any of them work. I like how some of the imperfect circles look, but you can always go back in and fill them in with a paint brush to make them look more even.
Dip it into paint and slowly push it onto your door hanger. Don’t use too much force!
It will make an open circle outline, which you can fill in with paint later. Or keep it like it is! Play around with different patterns and designs. For example, interlock the open circles to make a chain design for a border or design.
TIP: Look for other similar tubes around your house in different sizes! I found some smaller, sturdier ones with the paper roll tube from my Dymo label maker that I use for printing shipping labels!
2. Gather Up Those Abandoned Nerf Gun Bullet Darts!
If you’re a mom or grandparent, I bet you have a thousand of these Nerf darts lying around your house. So next time you’re cleaning under the couch or picking up the dirty laundry bin and find one, grab it! These make perfect small hollow, open circles with a nice wide band.
For this easy paint hack, just dip the bottom side of the Nerf dart into your paint and create your design. Look at how cool it looks!
You know those door hangers that have a monogram in the middle? You can use this pattern to make a connected circle around them. Or try using them for flowers, bubbles, a necklace…I even did a letter shape!
TIP: Slightly twist the dart before you lift it to make sure that you have good coverage.
3. Get These Martha Stewart Foam Sponge Pouncer Sets
There are two different sets of Martha Stewart Craft Sponge Sets that are my favorites. I use these all the time for polka dots!
They’re slightly more expensive than some other options, but they are higher quality foam. They make nice smooth circles, are easy to clean, and hold their shape even after I’ve used them for dozens of paint parties!
The first set is the Martha Stewart Pouncers, which are foam sponges that come in a plastic casing.
I love these because you can just pop them out of the plastic casing for clean up!
To use them, push down nice and firm, do a gentle twist, and lift off carefully.
TIP: To get more even coverage, I dip them in paint and then make the first polka dot on a scrap piece of paper, kind of twisting and swirling to move the paint around. Then I start stamping actually on the door hanger.
The second set has the Martha Stewart double-sided specialty sponges. These are great for large polka dots!
If you’re batch creating door hangers for sale (like I mentioned in my recent blog post) these are perfect.
I used the largest – 3”! Just make sure you get a lot of paint on these. Get it covered then scrape off any extra.
I love them for mixing patterns with smaller polka dots, like the hollow ones we made above, in a coordinating color.
4. Pick Up These Wooden Round Foam Sponges
Another tool that everyone should have is a set of these wooden polka dot sponges. They come in a variety of sizes and are very inexpensive.
You can usually get a pack of like 40 of them for under $10, which makes them perfect for paint parties!
They’re pretty easy to clean, too. I like to keep several on hand for back-ups whenever I might need them.
To use them, dab them in paint then push down and gently twist.
It will leave you with a slightly textured polka dot, which I like to have on some of my designs.
TIP: Blow gently on your polka dot after you lift the sponge to remove any little bubbles.
5. Grab a Stencil for Perfect Placement
Stencils are still one of my go-to tools, both for paint parties and for my own personal door hanger painting. When you really want a neat, even placement, or have a complicated pattern, stencils can be a big help!
If you know you want a straight, perfectly spaced polka dot pattern, try this polka dot stencil from my shop!
You can use them over and over again for dozens of projects and painting parties, and they will still be in great shape.
If you’re new to using stencils, take a peek at this blog post where I showed you how to use them and take care of them! You can even make your own stencils right at home, too.
To use them, just grab a sponge like your (wooden polka dot sponge). Dip into the paint and make sure you scrape off the excess, and then dab, dab, dab the paint through hole in the stencil.
Work quickly so that you don’t get a lot of paint in one area. Make sure it is all covered, then pick it up off the door hanger while the paint is still wet.
TIP: Don’t use a paintbrush on stencils – always dab with a sponge. The paintbrush will push and pull the paint around too much and it will end up under the stencil, smudging your edges.
(Want more stencil ideas? You can find all of my favorites in my online stencil shop.)
My Design Tip When You Paint Polka Dots:
I’ve mentioned this before on my Facebook live videos, and it’s one of my favorite tricks that I use when I paint polka pots to help make the dots look even and well-organized.
Start by making your first two dots in a line. Then put the next one in an imaginary spot that creates a triangle with the first.
Then take the last two dots, and add your fourth dot to make a new triangle that’s the about the same shape and size as the first.
Here’s a photo that shows how it might look. I wouldn’t normally draw the actual lines on my design, but I did on this example so that you can see exactly what I’m talking about. On your door hanger, though, you can just mentally estimate where the triangles would go.
And don’t be afraid to go off of the edge of your door hanger with little half-dots around the sides! That makes it look more naturally placed so that they aren’t all just floating in the middle of your door hanger. You want to paint your polka dots in a way that looks natural.
Watch All of These Details on My Video Tutorial
If you’re inspired paint new polka dot patterns on your next door hanger, make sure you watch all of these steps I did on the video tutorial on Facebook Live!
You’ll be polka-dotting ALL.THE.THINGS. before you know it!
Want to spend an entire weekend learning all of the best tips and tricks for all things door hangers?!? Make plans now to join us in Nashville for our annual Southern Adoornments Decor – LIVE event! I’ll be there along with some of the most talented guest painters, all painting and creating as friends!
It will be three amazing days of time for us to craft, learn, laugh, eat, and create together! Whether you’re a brand new beginner to painted door hangers, or are already running your own DIY door hanger business, we will have the inspiration and information you need!
Get ready to relax, recharge, and reconnect – and have a lot of fun doing it all in Music City! Plus you’ll learn from some amazing guest painters, win prizes, and bring home some awesome swag bags of free goodies. Get all the details you need right here. Just make sure you sign up soon so we can save you a spot – tickets are selling quickly!
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