3d Tape Design – Quilt Pattern Inspired

Sitting on a Design Idea

My normal design process involves me first finding a piece of furniture to refinish and then it speaks to me on what style of a design I should do.  In the case of this 3d tape design, I first came across the 3d quilt pattern on Pinterest and was so fascinated with the design that I spent nights thinking how could I bring it to life on a cabinet.


I didn’t even have the right piece of vintage furniture for this design in storage, so it was a waiting game.

Outdated Vintage Treasure

Eventually I found this long buffet tucked away in a back corner of a second hand store and immediately saw potential. I loved the curved half pillars and unique legs.  I knew that those pillars and legs would need to standout.  This was definitely a piece of furniture that needed to be refinished.

The piece itself though was very outdated. Glossy dark finish, tacky 70’s tack paper lining the shelves, and muted wood grain. Nothing about this cabinet fit into a modern interior. 

buffet prior to starting design work

The second selling point for me was the overall condition of the piece.  The drawers slid well, it had all the original hardware;  including the keys and the veneer on the body was in great condition. 

The downside?  On the high traffic areas (door and drawer edges) the veneer was peeling or missing.  At this point in time, I had not  replaced veneer edging. I will openly admit that I was little frightened of working with veneer.  

Getting the basics down.

Eventually I did enough research to feel comfortable starting on the veneer and I have since repaired numerous pieces with missing or split veneer banding.  For full steps check out removing and repairing veneer (both  articles have indepth step by step information).

 In fact my biggest challenge with this piece ended up being the size of it.  At 180 cm long, its definitely the longest piece I had worked on. It required a large volume of primer and paint and heavy lifting.   

I painted the entire piece, including the back, and inside shelf areas in Midnight Blue from Fusion Mineral Paint. It was here that I recalled the 3d quilt pattern I once stubbled across.  With the top of this buffet at 180 cm long it seemed the perfect canvas for the design.

large buffet with natural wood details and Fusion Mineral Paint Midnight Blue base.

Laying out the 3d Tape Design

I found a copy of the quilt pattern laid out in a square grid which made laying the pattern out on the buffet that much simpler. Had I not found a way to lay the 3d tape design pattern into a square grid first, it probably would not have been possible to paint. 

I taped up the entire top and created a grid of squares across the whole 180 cm’s.  With the squares in place, it was a matter of drawing on the quilt pattern and numbering each section 1 through 4 to highlight which colour would go in which section. 

quilt pattern divided into squares for copying
close up of complex tape design. Colour 2

Each section I cut out carefully with a sharp scalpel and ruler. When I cut a new section next to where I already had a section painted, I would re-tape to avoid painting over the previously painted sections. 

In the end I used 3 additional Fusion Mineral Paints in the colours; Champness, Little Whale and Picket Fence; as well as an unbelievable amount of tape.

Key lesson in paint and tape design

I learned a huge lesson with this design that I openly share with everyone interested in Tape Design. The quality of your tape matters!  I cannot stress it enough.  

With this project I had sensitive tape lying around.  It was cheaper and I rationalized that sensitive tape was gentler for the layer of paint underneath.  

Boy was I wrong!


close up of complex tape design. Cutting up for colour 3

Sensitive tape is made to use on wallpaper or other surfaces which you do not want pulling up when you remove the tape.  In the case of tape design, it did not stick well.  I actually put two layers on which totally ruined my cost saving idea. Sealing the tape wasn’t sufficient and I could see in-between layers that I was getting very serious bleed through.

As I cut out the next colour sections and added more tape, I switched to a trusted yellow tape to limit the bleed through, but the damage was done.

close up of complex tape design. Colour 3
close up of complex tape design. Colour 3
close up of complex tape design. Colour 4
Laying out a 3d Tape design involved lots and lots of tape.

Tape Design Failure....isn't the end

tape design with bleed through due to failed tape
tape design close up after repair was made to the bleed through

I have never shared this photo comparison before.  I suppose I felt initially a hint of shame that the tape failed.  Now I look back and think just how crazy that was.  I should have focused on the larger picture.  The overall complex design worked! I had actually achieved the design I had set out to do. It just needed touch ups. 


A tape failure does not always mean that the design is ruined. You can often do touch up’s on the areas the lines did not look as crisp. 

For this piece the touch up was rather straight forward.  I free handed a lot of the fixes and in some places I used tape again for a guiding line.  As the design was 4 colours over 180 cm’s, it took me awhile to make all the necessary touch ups.  Rarely does a design fail so spectacularly that it cannot be fixed.

close up of hand painted buffet top

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Author picture

Hey, I'm Sarah, the owner of Bold Wallflowers.

I'm on a self-taught journey through furniture refinishing and restoration, loving every experiment in my workshop.

Join me as I share my discoveries and gained knowledge with our vibrant community of fellow refinishers!

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