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How to Draw a Compass Rose

I am a freelance writer, author of 5 books, grant-writer, poet, river rat, amateur astronomer, and nonprofit consultant from Texas.

How to Paint a Compass Rose

How to Paint a Compass Rose

How to Paint the Compass Rose

If you want to paint a compass rose, you'll find an easy tutorial to create one of your own below. I designed one on the floor of a swimming pool. It looked really cool from the diving board, but I had to remind the kids that if they dived for the bullseye on it, they'd hit the bottom where it sloped up to the shallow end. Not all of them heeded my warning. The rose still looked great, though!

I used a rubber-based paint for this particular product. It used to be a state-of-the-art product, but I couldn't find many color options back then. Today's epoxy-based paints are even tougher and available in any color you want!

1. Draw Two 12' Legs

Draw two 12 foot legs

2. Draw Two More 6' Legs

Draw two more six foot legs

3. Make Marks at 6" up the 6' Legs

Marks at 6 inches up the six foot legs.

4. Draw the Sides of the Four N/S/E/W Legs to the Marked Points

Draw the sides of the 4 N/S/E/W legs to the marked points.

5. Draw Marks 6" up the Point Edges from the First Marked Points

Draw marks 6 inches up the point edges from the first marked points.

6. Draw the Sides of the Short Points From the Tip to the New Marks

Draw the sides of the short points from the tip to the new marks.

7. Paint the Left Half of Each Point a Light Color

Paint the left half of each point a light color

8. Paint the Right Half of Each Point a Darker Color

Paint the right half of each point a dark color.

Painting Tips

To create this lovely pattern, keep these pointers in mind for a successful result!

  • Clean and powerwash the floor to prepare the surface. Let it dry for a couple of days.
  • Paint the whole floor with a textured paint. This will act as a background.
  • Next, mark out the compass as shown in the drawings and draw it on the floor.
  • Mask off the left half of each star point and paint it a light color of your choice.
  • Use two or three thin coats. Then, use boxcutters to cut the paint away from the masking tape before peeling it.
  • Repeat this on the right half of each point and paint it with a complementary color color that is darker.
  • After completing the paint job, allow everything to cure for 24 hours (or however long the paint manufacturer recommends). Finish the project by sealing the floor to protect the paint!

Questions & Answers

Question: How to draw the 16 cardinal point?

Answer: Just divide each of the 8 points by two and add either single lines or do the way you did with the 4 basic directions to make 8.

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Question: I see the drawing has black lines outlining each color segment. Do you recommend doing that in the pool?

Answer: You can do it either way. Do the outlines if you want it to pop. If you want it more subtle, you can draw the lines in pencil or chalk and cover it over with the paint. I used a lighter blue so it didn't jump out at you.

Question: Do we have to paint the compass rose when creating it?

Answer: You can draw it, but if you want to make it permanent, you probably should paint it on.

Question: Can somebody convert this into metric measurements?

Answer: There are plenty of places on the net that let you put in English measurements and converts them to the metric system.

For instance:


Hey on May 11, 2020:

Amazing one rose

Nobuhle Mushwana on May 05, 2020:

Wow this is really good

Tom King on April 14, 2020:

You are welcome.

Karol G/ Carolina on April 13, 2020:

Thank You so much this worked so great I love you!!

yo moma on February 20, 2020:

it really good

em on October 06, 2019:

This worked well! Thank you so much for posting this.

isaiah on September 16, 2019:

i love it is really cool

Dorcas on May 20, 2019:

This is so easy and cool even my friend like it.

Jose Juan Gutierrez from Mexico City on July 16, 2014:

Thanks for your comments!

Steve Shipton on July 13, 2014:

An excellent step by step design for a compass rose. I have added a link to my article about the history of the compass

Jose Juan Gutierrez from Mexico City on February 17, 2013:

Very clever way to draw a compass rose!

Voted up!

ana7397 on November 04, 2012:

I was drawing a map for my history project and I did not know how to draw a nice compass rose. Then I found this AWESOME page and I made a really nice compass. :) on August 19, 2012:


twayneking (author) from Puyallup, WA on May 07, 2012:

Simply label the long points N, S, E and W, then label the short points NE, SE, SW and NW. It's already drawn with enough points to indicate the intermediate directions like southwest and such.

jacqueline on May 06, 2012:

i wanted a compose rose with direction like sw nw like that can you please do that i need your help

raquel on February 15, 2012:

i loved how you draw

gaylord on February 02, 2012:

this is so cool even my boy friend likec this

angle on December 13, 2011:

It rock!

jenny on November 19, 2011:

it is easy

twayneking (author) from Puyallup, WA on October 18, 2011:

This is relatively simple as far compass roses go. You can add a circle and extend the points to get as fancy as you want. I mean if you want simple make a big cross and be done with it. This design works well on a floor or the bottom of the pool or on a wall or something. It's a bit of work, but well worth it because the effect is more three dimensional, less flat.

123 on October 18, 2011:

little too much work doncha think???????

Lila on October 05, 2011:

Wow! I had an H.W. assingment due like very soon and I did not know where to find the compass. I looked it up and here I am now, with a perfect compass and my H.W. assingment done and ready. Thanks! This is an awesome website! Make more!

? on January 05, 2011:

damn it