A colorful bathroom makeover with a chemistry theme

July 19 | Guest post by Jeanne

Before

When we moved in, the bathroom walls were pure white. My boyfriend found a periodic table shower curtain to brighten things up, and as math/science geeks it fit our style perfectly.

I realized that the size of the walls would allow for an extension of the periodic table design from the curtain. The two longer walls would get the d-block and p-block, and the s-block fit perfectly on the narrow wall beside the door.

A cat who measures

The first step was creating the grid with painter's tape. I was able to keep the ratio of width to height almost the same as the blocks on the curtain.

Leveling the painter's tape

As I measured each row and column, I used a level to make sure that the tape was straight before pressing it down completely.

Framing the d-block

Framing the p-block and s-block

Keeping the width and height of each block constant around the entire bathroom meant that the hydrogen element would wrap around onto the ceiling. This ended up being a fun feature of the design!

Painting the d-block and s-block

To prep for painting, we washed the blocks with TSP to remove dirt and dull the gloss of the paint. Every fixture and the floor were covered, taped, or otherwise protected from any stray paint drips.

Final p-block wall

Next, we painted! The actual painting was the quickest part of the entire process, and probably the most fun. We followed the exact same color pattern of blocks from the shower curtain.

S-block wall

P-block bathroom wall

D-block bathroom wall

Once the paint had dried, we carefully removed the painter's tape. It turned out that the edges of the blocks were slightly ragged instead of being straight. Our walls are textured, so the painter's tape had not been completely flush with the wall in the tiny crevices. Though this was not the desired outcome, I think the edges look even better this way!

  1. Nerdy me is SO in love with this! I've seen so many people with that shower curtain, but adding the pattern to the wall makes it even better!

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  2. my husband would be in bathroom nerdy science heaven over this.

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  3. I found the green Frog tape works better than the blue tape. FYI

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  4. Love it! You can prevent some bleeding by first painting the walls the same color as the base (in this case white). So tape, then cover with a coat of white paint and then paint the color of the blocks.

    We did this in our kitchen and our little orange blocks are almost perfect and look like stickers!

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    • Brilliant idea, Shley! We were hoping to just use the existing white background and avoid buying more paint for this project. All of our walls are textured so this tip will come in handy for our next project!

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  5. Protip: Remove tape before the paint dries. It gets a cleaner edge. I don't know why.

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    • After the paint "dries", it's sort of a plastic rubber. When you tear the tape loose, you're stretching out the plasticy-rubberyness of it, causing it to form weird curves and bumps that aren't attached to the wall.
      If you can't remove the tape while it's still wet (while still painting, basically) it's often best to instead wait several hours to peel the tape. That allows the paint to REALLY dry, thus leaving it less pliable and less prone to stretching.
      Some thick, rubbery paints are just prone to this sort of thing. It might be helpful to LIGHTLY score the paint with a blade along the tape line before removing. LIGHTLY. Otherwise, you're going to be scratching your wall up.

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  6. This is great! I love how you just painted the blocks of color to emulate the shower curtain without making it busy. Way to use what you've got, guys!

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  7. LOVE it! we have that same shower curtain, and thus a Very Geeky Bathroom (actually, a Very Geeky House-in-general)…offbeat home should do a round-up! everyone with the periodic table! see how many different takes on it we can get. =)

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  8. Awesome! My mom gave me a sushi shower curtain, which I never used during my years living in Japan. Now that I'm back in America and about to decorate our new place, I'll have to see what sort of nerdy goodness I can create!

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