Furniture Makeover: DIY Buffalo Check Decor

Furniture Makeover: DIY Buffalo Check Decor

DIY Buffalo Check Decor

Here’s a short tutorial to learn how to paint Buffalo Check (aka Buffalo Plaid) on furniture. But once you learn this simple technique - it’s ok to go a little Buffalo Check crazy!

No time for this project right now? Pin it for later.

I’ll admit to making a mistake or two on my first attempt to paint Buffalo Check (checkerboard anyone?) but once I ironed out my issues - it was easy peasy. Watch my quick video tutorial right below for all the critical steps. Or, just scroll down to get the detailed instructions on how to DIY Buffalo Check on furniture.



Rethunk Junk Paint in:

Ruby Red



Measuring Tape

1/2 “ paintbrush

1’ paintbrush

Frog Tape (green painters’ tape)

Plastic cup for blending paint

Furniture piece to be transformed


This step will be different depending on the shape of the furniture you’re using. You might need to add in some Rethunk Junk Paint Prep to clean your piece as your first step. I had to do a little repair to some areas of the blanket chest I worked on.

Don’t panic when you watch the video - I did not paint over Cedar! The exterior of the blanket chest was veneer, but the inside is all Cedar. It makes the coziest blanket/storage chest.

Once your piece is ready, apply two coats of Rethunk Junk Resin Paint in Ruby Red. Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next coat. You can let dry for several hours, or overnight. You can also use a blow dryer or heat gun to accelerate the drying time.

PRO-TIP: make sure to hold the blow dryer/heat gun at least 5-6” from the painted surface. Rethunk Junk Paint doesn’t tend to bubble with heat, but to be safe, I recommend keeping the heat back from the surface. You’ll see in the video we combined a handheld fan and layered the blow dryer above it to diffuse the heat.


Grab your tape measure and pencil - you’re going to mark the first set of stripes and they’re going to be the ones that stretch the length of the chest in my project. I mark every 2” on both ends, and also in the center of the chest. 

When I lay the frog tape out for each stripe, I overlap at the end of the piece a bit. Enough to tape it over the edge. Then I use the center pencil mark to make sure the stripe is going on straight. I use the mark at the opposite end for the same reason and I tear off the tape, leaving enough to fold over the edge. 

Frog Tape at 2" intervals over 2 layers of base coat

Take a minute to press down the edges of the taped stripes once you’ve got them all on the furniture. This will keep the paint from bleeding under the tape so you’ll have clean edges to the stripes.


I’m painting a burgundy stripe for my first step - but I created my own by blending a little Midnight into the Ruby Red. Whenever you add black paint to another color - go slow and add small bits of paint at a time. Stir the black in well, and then assess if your color is right.

I did this step by pouring a small amount of the Ruby Red into a plastic cup (about ⅓ full.) Using a ½” paintbrush dipped into the Midnight, I added a small amount into the cup, then used a different paintbrush to blend. In the end, it took about 4 paintbrush scoops of paint to get to my perfect shade of burgundy.


Paint one coat of the burgundy between the frog tape stripes, going in one direction only with the brush. Continue until you’ve painted the burgundy covering each stripe. Again, you can let the paint dry thoroughly for a few hours, or you can help it along - like I did with the fan/blow dryer combo.

Either method works, and when it’s dry, remove the frog tape stripes and get ready to mark where the cross stripes will go. Do this using the tape measure and make pencil marks every 2” on both sides of the surface.

Now, apply the frog tape stripes at the marked 2” intervals and press down all the edges once you’ve finished. You may need to mix up more burgundy at this point - I did on my project. So follow the same steps as above.

Frog Tape at 2" intervals in the opposite direction

Once you’re all set with the frog tape securely attached, paint the burgundy in between each set of frog tape stripes. Remember to paint in one direction only with your paintbrush. When this set of stripes are all painted on, let the paint dry thoroughly. 

But this time - leave the last set of frog tape stripes attached to the project surface. Do Not Remove Them!


Now we add the final set of frog tape stripes over the top of the last set we attached. This time, you will be taping across the longest direction. And - the most critical thing here is: lay your tape down on top of the lighter stripes. You will be able to see what I’m talking about when you reach this step. (check out the video at min 4:30)

Once you’ve got this set of stripes in place make sure all of the edges are firmly attached by running your hands across each stripe. Now it’s time to apply the Rethunk Junk Paint in Midnight - right into the squares created by the frog tape.

painting in the squares with Rethunk Junk Paint in Midnight

Once it’s applied, you don’t have to wait for the paint to dry to peel the tape off. Although you can wait! I didn’t, though, and we peeled that tape off slowly and carefully. LOVE how the Buffalo Check/Plaid turned out!!

DIY Buffalo Check complete

I had a few places I needed to touch up because I rushed through my project to have it done on Facebook Live (Tuesday mornings at 9am on TwoGirlsTreasure Facebook Page.) You might have a similar problem, with small spots of paint coming off with the frog tape. 

Don’t panic - just touch it up with your remaining paint! And after letting the final step dry completely - go forth and Buffalo Check everything! (you have my permission…)

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