How To Make Scalamandre-Inspired Zebra Wallpaper (With A DIY Stencil)

If you love the Scalamandre zebras but would like a less expensive option, try out this easy DIY zebra wallpaper tutorial. It uses stencils made on a Cricut to create a similar zebra pattern to the iconic wallpaper.

How to make and use DIY zebra stencils to create the look of Scalamandre zebra wallpaper

As some of you may remember, when I was making over my master bathroom, I had a dilemma.

Scalamandre wallpaper with zebras on a silver background
The Scalamandre Zebra Wallpaper

I fell in love with the Scalamandre zebra wallpaper but couldn’t justify the price for my builder-grade room. (If you also really love it, and want to splurge, you can find it at

I contemplated doing something else.

Or just leaving the walls just as they were (painted gray).

But I really loved that zebra pattern!

So in the end, I did what I usually do when my vision for the room doesn’t match my budget. I figured out a way to make it a DIY project.  

And judging by the number of questions I got about it, I’m not the only one who might be doing this.

So I thought I would share how to make my DIY version of the Scalamandre zebra wallpaper.

The Hunt For A Stencil

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For me, trying to make something look like wallpaper when it’s not means stenciling. (I’m not a particularly good artist, so hand-painting zebras was definitely out of the question!)

The great thing about doing it yourself is that you get to customize it however you want.

And I didn’t really like the arrows in the original wallpaper.

It seemed like they were shooting at the zebras which didn’t really give me the relaxing zen feeling that I wanted for the bathroom.

That meant all I needed was a zebra stencil. How hard could that be?

So off I went to try to find a zebra stencil.  

One that was big enough to make a statement, and had enough character to be interesting.

zebra print stencil

There were all kinds of zebra striped stencils like this one* but they weren’t actually of zebras.

large zebra painted on a living room wall with a stencil
Large Zebra Stencil*

Finally, I found this one. I really liked the zebra’s attitude, but it was actually a little too big and it ships from Korea. And I didn’t want to wait that long for it to arrive.

small zebra stencil on a black background
Small Zebra Stencil*

And this one, which was a little too small and didn’t have enough movement.

peel-and-stick zebra wall decals
Zebra Stickers*

I even considered these peel-and-stick zebra wall decals*, but I didn’t think I really wanted stickers on the walls in my bathroom.

And I thought I was going to have to give up on my stenciling idea.

Until I ran across a zebra image on Adobe Stock and decided I could use it to make my own stencil by cutting it on my Cricut.

You can get a copy of the Cricut stencil files by signing up for my email list below.

What You Need

Cut Files

Get the images I made so you can create your own stencils.


  • Stencil Mylar* – I used 12″ x 17″ sheets so that my zebras were a decent size
  • Silver paint*
  • White paint – I used a latex paint sample can from Sherwin Williams
  • Black paint


Step 1: Make The Stencil

Cricut air on a table

I made the stencil using my Cricut Explore Air* (but you could use any die cutting machine that will allow you to import .jpg images) and some stencil plastic sheets*.

While it is technically possible to create the stencils manually with a utility knife, I think trying to cut out all of the zebra stripes by hand would be very tedious!

Looking at the Scalamandre zebras, they have a white background with black stripes.

So that meant actually creating 2 stencils: One for the white background and one for the stripes.

To do that, I edited the original picture using Photoshop and made 2 new ones.

Then I imported the images into the software that comes with the die cutting machine and set it to work!  (Read the instructions for your machine if you’re not sure what settings to use for stencil plastic).

You can get the images above.

Step 2: Take It For A Test Run

The first part of the zebra stencil on a piece of construction paper

The tricky part about using 2-part stencils is making sure you know how they are supposed to line up.

The white of the zebra stenciled on a piece of construction paper

To test it before I actually started messing up the walls, I used a piece of construction paper and some colored pencils.  The first step is to color in the background stencil with white.

To make the stencils easier to line up, I have since added two small holes close to the top. Use a pencil to put a mark where these holes are.

The second part of the zebra stencil on a piece of construction paper

Then take the stripes stencil and position it in the right place, by making sure the two holes on the top of this stencil line up where the two pencils marks are from the first one.

The stenciled zebra on a piece of construction paper

Use the black color pencil to draw in the stripes.  It doesn’t have to be perfect…just enough so that you’re comfortable that you know how they fit together.

Step 3: Paint The Background

can of silver metallic paint

I love this silver paint* that I used for the background. It has just enough shine (but not too much) and goes on really easily.

For the best results, use a foam roller to roll the silver paint onto the wall.  Be careful not to press too hard or you will leave roller marks in the paint.

I only had to do one coat, but I was painting over gray (so there wasn’t much difference in the color tone).

Step 4: Decide On Your Pattern

Scalamandre-inspired black and white zebras stenciled on a wall painted silver

Figure out where you want the zebras to go. I did mine in a zig-zag pattern going down the wall and had each row facing in the opposite direction.

You could also line them up on top of each other or have them facing all the same way.

Besides not painting the arrow (which I mentioned above), I also opted not to use the two different sizes of zebras.

My bathroom doesn’t have that much open wall space and I thought they looked a little too crowded.

However, I did create the stencils for both sizes of zebra and the arrow, so if you want to use them in your room, you can find the files for them in the download.

That is the beauty of stencils. You can do whatever pattern you want with them.

Step 5: Apply The Background Stencil

The first half of the zebra stencil on the wall

Start in a corner that is not too obvious. Behind the door is a good spot 🙂

It may take a couple of tries to get the paint on exactly right and this way it won’t be in a noticeable spot.

Put up the background stencil. I found that the stencil clung pretty well to the wall without requiring any extra help, but if yours doesn’t you can tape it at the top to hold it in place.

White paint being painted over the zebra stencil

Then use the foam roller to cover the entire stencil area with white paint. This part is really easy!

Use a pencil to mark the two holes at the top of the stencil on the wall.

Two stenciled zebras on a silver wall

Lift off the stencil and move it over to where the next zebra should go.

Remember to leave space for the parts of the zebra (like the tail, nose, and feet) that will be a little longer once the black goes on.

And don’t forget to mark where the holes are. Otherwise you’ll have a hard time getting the second stencil to line up correctly.

Diagram of how to position the zebras so they look like the scalamandre wallpaper design

If you are having the zebras face in different directions like I did, do all of the ones that are facing in the same direction first.

Diagram of the zebras facing in the other direction

Then go back and fill in the ones that are facing in the other direction.

You will need to turn the stencil over to do this, and chances are the paint around the edges won’t be completely dry, so you will either need to wait until it is or dry it off thoroughly with some paper towel.

When you have finished all of the white backgrounds, it is time to move on to the fun part…the stripes!

Step 6: Paint The Stripes

Painting black for the stripes on the zebra stencil

Check to make sure that the white paint has dried on the wall.

Then position the striped stencil over the white paint, lining the holes at the top of it up with the pencil marks from the first one.

Don’t worry if you don’t get it lined up perfectly every time (I certainly didn’t!) When they are all done, you won’t really notice it.

Dip the foam brush into the black paint and wipe off all of the excess.

You don’t want too much paint on the brush or it will look too dark against the white and may run under the stencil.

Dab the brush onto the stencil until you have covered all of the striped area with paint.

Repeat for the rest of the zebras.

Same as you did with the white paint, it works best to do all of the zebras that are facing in the same direction before moving on to the opposite facing ones.

Before you know it, you will have a wall of zebras!

Enjoy The Finished Look

Silver bathroom wall with black and white stenciled zebras that looks similar to Scalamandre zebra wallpaper

I know I’ve said this before, but I love the finished look!

I had all kinds of people thinking that I had decided to go with the wallpaper.

Bathroom wall with DIY zebras painted on it with a stencil

And when I didn’t like the placement of some of the zebras, I was able to have a do-over.  

Just paint over the zebra with the silver paint, and make him again! Something you definitely can’t do with wallpaper.

Hopefully, you now know exactly how to make your own much less expensive version of the Scalamandre zebra wallpaper…all you have to do is figure out where to put them 🙂

Have comments or questions on my DIY Zebra Wallpaper? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on June 6, 2017 but was updated with new content on May 6, 2023.

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  1. Catherine Spanski says:

    Hi! Your zebra stencil looks amazing! I’d love to buy it. Could you please send me ordering details. Thank you!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks! I sent you an email.

  2. Johanna Yale says:

    Hi, I think your zebras look BETTER than the Scalamandre zebras! They are more joyful but still very high end looking.

    If you could send me the info about how to buy your stencil I’d appreciate it. No arrows either, I felt the same way as you about them.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Joanna! I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out 🙂 I’ll sed you an email with the ordering details.

  3. Linda Lou Harper says:

    Can you please send me a price for the zebra stencil without the arrows as well – Thanks so much! I love your style!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Linda…I just sent you an email with the price.

  4. Nancy Hanson says:

    Could I order your two part zebra stencil without arrows. Thank you.

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Nancy…yes, I’ll send you an email with the price.

      1. Can you please send me a price for the zebra stencil without the arrows as well – Thanks so much!

        1. Wanda Simone says:

          Hi Cathryn…just sent you an email…

  5. Lele Von Stein says:

    Hi Wanda, I’m finally getting started! What size foam roller did you use? Do you think it would be possible to use a brush? And do you think it’s important to use a foam brush as opposed to a small paint brush? Thanks so much!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Lele…I used a 4″ foam roller. Smaller ones would work fine, too (I wouldn’t go any bigger than 4″).

      Yes, a brush would work, too. It’s just a little slower. Either foam, a stencil brush or a regular brush is fine. If you do go with a regular brush, be careful not to let the bristles slide under the stencil which will leave extra paint marks that you don’t want.

      Good luck with it! I would love to see a picture when you’re done 🙂

      1. Lele Von Stein says:

        Fantastic!! Thanks again for the expert advice & I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out!! 🙂

  6. Karen Conover says:

    I would be interested in having a stencil made with the arrows. Could you please let me know your cost. Thank you, Karen

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Karen…I sent you an email with the details.

    2. Grissom Linda says:

      Please I want to buy the stencil, is that possible?

      1. Wanda Simone says:

        Hi Linda…Sorry for the late response. I will send you an email with the price for purchasing the stencil.

  7. Hello! Could you make me the stencils of zebra and arrows too 🙂

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Mary…I sent you an email with the price.

  8. Lele Von Stein says:

    Love this SO much! I actually ordered samples of the Scalamandre paper, but the zebras were a little too big for my small powder room, with bead board up 1/3 of the wall. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Would you still be able to make me the stencils? And can you include the arrows? Fingers crossed!


    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Thanks, Lele! I can make the stencils for you (including the arrows). I will send you an email with the details.

  9. I’m interested in having you cut a stencil for me! Do you still offer that?

    1. Hi Becky…yes…I just sent a reply to your email.

  10. I’m so glad I found your tutorial! I’ve been looking for a diy of the wallpaper and your pattern is perfect! I think I might make/find a small arrow design and add that in as I like the look. Thanks so much for providing the pattern. Now I have to find someone with a cutting machine. If you’d be interested in cutting me a stencil I’d gladly pay for it and shipping!

    1. Hi Kathleen…I’m really happy with the way the zebra stencil turned out…better than I was expecting! I can cut them for you if you want…I charge $40 (USD) plus whatever the shipping charge is. Just reply to the email if you’re interested.

  11. Hi Wanda, so interesting. Making my own stencils was how I first started to decorate. Uncle George wouldn’t let me wallpaper in his apt. on “good plastered walls” so I had to find another way to have wallpaper looks. In those days we didn’ t have computers,etc. so I would draw and cut out the design. Yours looks amazing! And you took it to the next level with two colours. I graduated to rollers that painted patterns. Some painted two colours, others painted three colours. I wish I had sent them to you when I downsized.

    1. Hi Aunt Elaine…it must run in the family 🙂 Pattern-painting rollers sound like a great idea! I’ll have to look into that the next time I’m looking for a paint treatment.