One day just over 100 years ago a young Swiss psychologist was reading a book of poems written fifty years earlier.

Each poem was illustrated by an inkblot design.

The psychologist was only 26, and the inkblots intrigued him.

Over the next two years he experimented with hundreds of inkblots until he found ten that he used solely to diagnose schizophrenia in his patients.
The man was Hermann Rorschach.

He lived only 10 years more, never knowing that his test would be used worldwide as a mental health indicator.

They are used to interview patients who are reluctant to discuss what they are thinking or feeling.

Rorschach never intended the blots to be used as they are today --not as clinical tools, and certainly not as art.

Inkblots are fascinating. They’re loosey-goosey and yet symmetrical.

You can pay $50 on Etsy for an inkblot print. Or you can make your own, saving money and experiencing the satisfaction of creating something unique.

Let's make some inkblot prints to decorate your home for sale.

What you need

We're still in the kitchen this week making prints for wall decor. I chose to use food coloring because I think most people have some. I also chose construction paper because it is inexpensive, available everywhere, and will absorb the dye easily. Plastic boxes to frame your prints are an easy framing and hanging option. I like that they're lightweight enough that a pushpin will hold them up.

Who  knew Rorschach
was such a handsome dude?
  • Some sheets of construction paper
  • Food coloring dye
  • Paper towels
  • Newspaper or other paper to protect work surface
  • Acrylic box for framing
  • Paper sized to fill frame 

How to do

Decide what color paper and what color dye you'll use. I would avoid the neon colored construction paper for home staging art. You'll most likely make more prints than you will want to frame. Make a bundle and choose the best. You never know entirely how an inkblot print will come out.

Work near a sink. Prepare a work surface nearby by covering it with newspaper or kraft paper. Place a few layers of paper towel in the center. 

Start with one piece of construction paper. Wet both sides of it under running water for a few seconds. Place it on the paper towels and fold it in half, being as precise as possible.

Open the sheet of construction paper and a place dots of your selected color(s) in the center. Close it on the fold, and use a paper towel to press the surface to distribute the food coloring.

Open the paper. You may decide to add additional colors of dye and repeat the folding, or to lay it flat on newspaper to dry. After it's dry, iron it between layers of paper towel to remove the center crease.

Your inkblot art is ready for mounting on a piece of plain paper (color of your choice, but nothing beats white) and placed in the acrylic box for hanging.

Hermann would be amazed. But maybe not. The images captivated him as well.

Inkblot art has a  contemporary feel to it, 
but looks at home in any setting.

The classic Rorschach test is made with black ink 
on white paper. Photo via Centsational Girl.

Begin here: Don't be afraid to put dye on both sides
of the fold. There are no rules. 

If you want to keep the dye from staining your fingertips, 
now's a good time for latex gloves.
I decided this inkblot needed more color, 
so I dabbed on some more dye.
The color I added was blue, so this is how 
it looked after folding and pressing. 

Get the look, get the book 

For tips on making your home look better, whether you are putting it on the market or not, download my eBook, How to Arrange Furniture, A Guide to Arranging Furniture Using What You Have. I guarantee you'll be satisfied or I will give you your money back.