DIY & Crafting

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!

For some of us, recruitment season is just around the corner! And you know what that means…CRAFTS, and tons of them. One of the more popular ones that I see girls doing not only on Monmouth’s campus but all over the nation, is the ultra preppy-adorable Lilly Pulitzer prints. If you know about Lilly P., then you’d know that there are tons of different prints to choose from. It can be really intimidating to try to tackle these colorful and intricate designs, but I’m going to show you how you can master the art of painting like Lilly Pulitzer.

I am by no means a professional painter, painting is just how I deal with stress and I also just love to do it in general! My very first Lilly Pulitzer painting I did was for my little at the very end of spring semester. Honestly, it took me a while to figure out how to do Alpha Omicron Pi’s print as letters because I’ve only ever seen the print on cell phone cases and tote bags (I was also afraid that I was going to mess up!). But I once I started painting, I couldn’t stop! And this was the end result…two hours later.

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!

After doing the Wobble in celebration, I knew I wanted to tackle something a little bigger… a Lilly Pulitzer canvas maybe? Yep, sounds about right. One of my favorite Lilly P. prints is “You Gotta Regatta” and that was going to be the print that I was going to put on a canvas. There is a step by step process on how to recreate Lilly Pulitzer prints and absolutely perfecting them. Time and patience is key when recreating a print, otherwise it could turn out like this:

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!Luckily, it came out like this:

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!

But now it’s time to show you guys how to paint a Lilly Pulitzer print step by step! I have a friend who’s in Phi Mu at South Carolina University, and as a going away gift, I decided to paint her sorority’s Lilly P. print! At first it can be intimidating, but once you get going I promise you won’t be able to stop…kind of like eating Gold Fish (they’re a huge weakness of mine!).


Step 1: Lightly sketch your design

Before attempting to recreate a Lilly P. masterpiece, I always find it helpful to sketch it out. Doing a light, rough sketch of the design will help you get a better idea of the placement of the shapes and colors necessary to make the design look as close to the original as possible. If you aren’t that confident will sketching the design out free hand, you can always print the design out and use transfer paper (available at your local craft store) to copy the design onto your canvas.

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 2: Start with the light colors first

I always like to start with the lighter colors in the design just so that I can get a start on mapping out where the rest of the colors go. I also find that later on I would need to make colors lighter or darker depending on the process of the design. The plus side to painting is that you will always be able to go lighter or darker even if you already painted the section already.

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 3: Start filling in the flowers

Continue filling with the lighter colors throughout the remainder of the design. You’ll always be able to go back and touch them up later!

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 4: Start adding the darker colors

Once you’ve placed your lighter colors, you can now visualize where the darker hues will be placed in the design. Like when painting the lighter shades, you can always go a little darker to make sure that you’re matching the colors from the design. It’s also okay to leave some white space in-between certain areas, this will give the design subtle oomphf! as your painting and give it a more hand-painted look!

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 5: Continue painting in the darker colors to the details of the design

You’ll notice that I started to paint the quatrefoil in the design. After this step you’ll continue filling in the colors according to the print. **It’s okay to mess up, another great thing about paint is that you can always paint over a little mistake!**

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 6: Create a dark outline around the center pieces of the design

You’ll notice in the original Phi Mu print, the lions have dark outlines around them. The outline allows for separation between the lions and the rest of the design. **For outlining, make sure you use a small round fine tip brush and use paint mixed in with a little bit of water to create a finer more definite outline.

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 7: Get to the finer details

What’s so amazing about Lilly Pulitzer is that some of the prints have words in them. Phi Mu’s motto is “Les Soeurs Fideles” or “The Faithful Sisters” and it’s delicately placed throughout the print. It can be a little bit tricky painting words in script on a canvas, but use a fine tip paint brush and mix in a little more water in with your paint and you’ll be good to go!

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!


Step 8: Finish up!

Tada! By this step you’ve completed your Lilly Pulitzer inspired canvas! I always like to use watered down paint and subtly paint in a little background color, but if you want to leave the background the way it is that’s totally fine too!

Paint Like Lilly Pulitzer!

    • *Well there you have it girls, a step by step on how to paint like Lilly Pulitzer! I hope these tips have inspired you to create your own Lilly P. masterpiece for you and all your sisters. You can take these tips and apply to painting on anything; canvas, coolers, picture frames, etc. If you have any helpful tips on how to create your version of a Lilly Pulitzer print, please share them here!

Happy Painting!

Free access to everything sorority