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How To Paint Buffalo Plaid on Wood: Easy & Quick!

Learn how to paint buffalo plaid easily on wood with some chalk paint and painter’s tape. Watch a video tutorial on how I updated a thrift store find! 

I have a little confession…  I have hopped on the buffalo plaid train big time!  I love it and have decided to turn my family room into a buffalo check themed room. 

One of the first things I learned to do was how to paint buffalo plaid on wood and I wanted to show you how easy it is!

I found this tray at Good Will so the best part of this buffalo plaid decor project is that it was super cheap.

buffalo plaid decor pin

A tip on strolling through a thrift store… you need to have an open mind of what things could be, not what they are. 

You can throw some chalk paint on almost anything to spruce it up, all you have to do is have some imagination.

thrift store shopping finds

We have a pretty big Goodwill here in town that I like to visit every month or so.  I found some pretty great hidden treasures this time.

I ended up putting a few of these things back, but I’m so excited about the projects I have going on with the others. 

Pillows are a great find at thrift stores!  They are so much cheaper than buying pillow forms at craft stores.

Trays are another amazing find.  You can do so many things with trays and I was in luck on this trip.  I found this wood tray for $3!

goodwill wooden tray find

How to Paint Buffalo Plaid Tips

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Shareasale, Cricut, Awin, and I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Chalk paint is perfect for this thrift store makeover!  Chalk paint works on everything without having to sand or prep.

A few tips on how to paint buffalo check before we get started:

  • I ended up painting three layers of white chalk paint on to coat it completely.  Make sure to sand it in between coats.  I forgot to sand after my last one and I think that was one of the causes for some of the bleeds.
  • Make sure to press the tape firmly down.  Use a brayer or scraper to make sure it has fully adhered.  This will help to get crisper lines.
  • I didn’t have any black chalk paint, so I used black acrylic paint for my last layer.  It sticks great to chalk paint!
  • If you want the tray to have a distressed look, you can sand the edges to get some of the white paint off.  Sand as much or little as you want!  No rules for this part.
  • I touched up all the colors with small paintbrushes if the lines weren’t crisp, but that is optional.
  • You can make any surface buffalo plaid with this painting technique. The Dollar Tree usually has some great large pieces of wood for different seasons that you can easily paint. Think buffalo check pumpkins as part of your fall decor or buffalo check plaid Christmas tree signs!

Since taking pictures while I’m painting is not easy, I decided to make you a video on how to paint buffalo plaid to show you better. Make sure to check it out at the bottom of the blog post.

I’ve also made some buffalo plaid ornaments and burlap and buffalo plaid stockings to go with the buffalo check room motif!

If you like printable directions, I have you covered!  Click on the print button in the card.

how to paint buffalo plaid

How To Paint Buffalo Plaid

Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Learn how to paint a buffalo plaid pattern on wood easily and without a cutting machine with this step by step tutorial.




  1. Paint your entire tray with white chalk paint (or whatever base color you want).how to paint buffalo plaid Let dry an hour. Lightly sand over whole tray. Paint on another layer. Repeat with more coats of paint if needed.
  2. The first thing to do is to tape off the inside edges of your tray if you have any.Screenshot
  3. Then we are going to make the vertical stripes. Measure your board (one way) and make a mark in the center of the board. I used 1.5 inch painter's tape, so after I marked the middle, I marked 0.75 inch on either to paint buffalo plaid
  4. I used a wood board piece that was 1.5 inch or alternatively if you have a ruler that is 1.5 inch to draw straight lines. I placed the board in between the two marks and drew vertical lines up and down the board.making lines for buffalo check
  5. The next step is to place a strip of painter's tape in the middle of the two lines. Place the board up against the first piece of tape and draw another straight line. Again line up the tape against the line and press it firmly in place. Keep doing that all the way across. how to paint buffalo plaid
  6. Paint over all the white paint with gray paint. how to paint buffalo plaid
  7. Carefully remove the tape, set it aside to use later (leaving the tape on the inside edges), and let the paint dry for at least an hour. how to paint buffalo check pattern
  8. Once it's dry, measure the center of the board going the other way for the horizontal stripes. Again, place a strip of painter's tape directly in the center. Either place a board, ruler, piece of tape, or measure 1.5 inches away and place another strip of tape. Continue both ways with horizontal lines until you get to the to paint buffalo plaid
  9. Paint over the white with gray paint. Leave the tape ON and let it dry for at least an to paint buffalo plaid
  10. Once it's dry, put the strips of tape you set aside back on the board exactly where they were before. So, they will be covering up some gray lines. It can be a little tricky to see edges!how to paint buffalo plaid
  11. Paint the squares that are not covered by tape with black paint. I used to paint buffalo plaid
  12. Once everything is painted, remove all the tape! how to paint buffalo plaid
  13. Let the buffalo check pattern dry and then touch up any pencil marks or bleed through marks with a small paint brush. If you are a perfectionist like me, this might take 5-10 minutes using white, gray, and black to make sure the lines are pretty straight. how to paint buffalo plaid
  14. Once it's all dry, apply a layer of clear wax or polyacrylic sealer. Let fully dry. Sand edges or any part if you want a distressed look. how to paint buffalo plaid


Watching the video below is probably the easiest way to understand all these steps!

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Not too hard, right??  I love how my tray came out and especially love that I can use it all year round, not just for Christmas.

how to paint buffalo plaid

I can use the painted buffalo plaid tray for any holiday season and in any room of my house!

Perfect spot to put my remotes that always seem to get lost in my living room or to carry out drinks in my dining room.

diy buffalo plaid decor

As part of my buffalo plaid decor for Christmas, I made some pillows out of the ones I told you I got from Goodwill.  I made a few with buffalo check fabric that I picked up at Joann’s.

painting black buffalo plaid on decor

If you’d like to read my tutorial on how to make your own Rae Dunn Christmas pillows plus get my FREE SVG cut file, click on the link!

buffalo plaid decor

Or if you want to make your family or friends a family mug set or matching PJs with this free deer SVG set, click here to download. 

free christmas cricut svg files

While you’re at it, make sure you check out my roundup of 60 Hot Chocolate recipes to fill the mugs with (click on link)!!

easy hot chocolate recipe

If you love making Christmas decorations, make sure sure to check out my ultimate guide to DIY Christmas decor.

If you’d like to save this tutorial on painting buffalo plaid for later, hover over the top left of the image below and PIN it!

Learn how to paint buffalo plaid in this thrift store makeover. All you need is some paint and painter's tape to create DIY decor! #buffaloplaid #plaid #diydecor

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Have a creative day!


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  1. Meg says:

    I love, love, love this makeover. Buffalo check is my favorite right now. So cute!!

  2. Jenny says:

    The red coffee cups just pop off the tray. Its the perfect decoration to add to your black and white. Buffalo check is so popular right now.

  3. Candice says:

    I love buffalo check and have been wanting to paint some. Thank you for the DIY! I can’t wait to give it a shot!

  4. Thank you! You’ll love it!

  5. Hi Meg, Thanks so much! Isn’t buffalo check the best??!!

  6. Christine says:

    This is SO darling! I love the before and after of this tray – such a huge difference! The buffalo check turned out perfect!

  7. Jaclyn says:

    I LOVE buffalo plaid!!! The tray turned our adorable! is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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