Paper Tiles on Stair Risers

Several years ago, I removed a fat piece of awkward wood that was on the stairs in our sunken bedroom with an idea to decorate the risers. Once I pulled down that wood, I found that there were odd holes from a sloppy job of cutting the hole for the a/c vent. There was a 3/4″ gap that would have to be built up to put a new faceplate there on the riser …
so my project stalled.

I find this happens often. I start a project and get stalled because I can’t figure out how to FIX the problems that I uncover … so I just stop. I keep my eyes open. I look for solutions along life’s daily travels. I research. I investigate. But, I’m slow. I just don’t have much experience in areas like plumbing, woodwork, roofing and other household repair areas.

But, recently, I decided I really wanted to finish this idle stair project.
So, I pulled a piece of plywood out from under the house and just jumped in.

My inspiration for this project is based on a dream of visiting Mexico
where stairs are decorated with multi-patterned tiles.
I have a whole Pinterest board for inspiration for floors and stairs. Want to see? Click here. 
While I don’t have a second story in my home,
my art space is in a large bedroom that is two steps below the rest of the house.
I have had a vision for decorating these two stair risers for quite some time …
so … a few weeks ago, I finally decided to bring this idea to fruition.

I cut two pieces of plywood that fit perfectly in front of risers.  Since I knew I would be working with a permanent adhesive, it just made sense to make the entire riser plate removable rather than have to worry about removing layers of patterned paper mounted to part of the house should the artwork ever need to be taken down.

Here’s how I fixed that “gap” problem. I used some sheet rock that was just the right depth
to give me some stability to mount the riser I was creating.
It worked well and was easy to cut and mount.
(You can see those wonky holes clearly in this photo.)
Drywall mounted to the gap under the stairs

I painted my wood to be the same color as the stairs in that room so it would blend with the existing trim.  Then I gathered around 20-25 different sheets of patterned paper and set them aside. I measured the height of the risers (one is a bit taller than the other). I wanted about a half-inch head and foot space above and below each square. Then I used that height of each riser to figure out the width of my squares.

The top riser has 3 1/2″ squares.The bottom riser has 5 3/4″ squares.

Then I set to work to cut each square and layer them so that no two paper patterns were too close to a square with the same pattern. After I was satisfied with the layout, I simply glued down the paper (using Matte Mod Podge).

This is what the two risers look like with the paper mounted.

Paper Tiles on Stair Risers

After I mounted the paper, I added a little dimension to each square with paint. It’s messy on purpose. I love a relaxed, slightly messy look. It just feels natural and outdoorsy.  Paper Tiles on Stair Risers

Next was mounting the two risers to the existing stairs! A couple of small brads hold them in place well enough that  they can be easily removed when and if we move from this sweet little abode.

There was a small gap where one of the risers meets the wall. I had several styles of moulding under the house but none of them were quite the right size …. so I used an extra Scrabble game tile rack to create my corner molding. I love words … the rack is made of wood … it was just the right size …. so it was perfect!

Paper Tiles on Stair Risers

I did a little rough, dry brush painting to the vent cover to help blend it in a little better.

Paper Tiles on Stair Risers - a How To Guide

I LOVE the way it turned out!! It is exactly what I had envisioned!
Isn’t it a good feeling to have an idea and have everything pull together the way you expected …..
EVEN if it takes you a few YEARS from start to finish?

I’m learning more and more about the importance of nurturing your soul. I am nurtured best by having deep conversations, being outdoors and creating things. Taking the time to finish this project was nurturing to my soul.

What nurtures your soul? I encourage you to spend some time this weekend invigorating your spirit through nurturing yourself. What would that look like in your life? I’d love to know. Comment below or share a blog post?

As always, thanks for reading!
Have a lovely weekend, friends!


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