Hallingdal Rosemaling

Traditional Art – DIY Hallingdal Rosemaling

Norwegian Rosemaling is the style of traditional painting very popular in parts of America, where it is a favoured style of interior decorating, especially amongst those folk with Scandinavian heritage.

Each region, or ‘fylke’, in Norway, developed its own individual interpretation of traditional Rosemaling style and design, which initially appeared around the 18th century.

Hallingdal style on a cupboard in Geilo

History of Rosemaling

As early as the 17th century, itinerant painters brought new ideas and artistic trends from the cities of Europe into the mountains and Valleys of rural Norway, painting Renaissance and Baroque motifs on the walls of the wooden Norwegian Stave churches.

The relative geographic isolation in the Hallingdal, Telemark and Vest Agder provinces led to further development and evolution of this peasant folk art form into a highly distinctive and unique art.

Reaching its zenith in Norway during the 18th century, Rosemaling was then revived by the Norwegian peoples during a fiercely Nationalistic decorating movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, following the country’s political separation from Sweden.

A similar resurgence in Norwegian traditional painting began amongst Norwegian immigrants, living in the American Midwest, in the mid to late 20th century, and this trend continues to flourish there today.

Read more here

Hallingdal style of Rosemaling

The Halling Valley, itself, is situated in an area of southern central Norway, covering towns such as Gol, Ål and Hol and this is where one finds many examples of Hallingdal Rosemaling, appreciated and loved, even today.

Elements of Halling style can be found in the Embroidery on the Norwegian women’s national costume, (called the Bunad), in Norwegian wood carving, on hanging cupboards, and on wooden objects around the Norwegian home.

Features of this Style:

  • Hallingdal Rosemaling colours: rich, varied, exuberant and strong
  • Background colours: red/orange-red, in later years, blue and green
  • Black appeared as a background colour following influences from Telemark
  • Flowers colours: – Blue, White, or Gold on Red grounds; Red and gold on blue/ green backgrounds
  • Early Hallingdal Rosemaling had more floral elements; scrolls were minor. Over time, scrolls became a frame around which the flowers were placed, in order to achieve a sense of balance, either side of the design’s vertical axis. Scrolls still maintained a simplistic form, with little or no shading, and were heavier than the lyrical scrolls seen in the Telemark area
  • Motifs: symmetrical in round/rectangular design shapes, often depicted in mirror image split along the vertical axis
  • Round floral patterns could also be segmented into 4, 6 or 8 divisions, typically with blossoms of four or more petals
  • Leaves: large, often surrounding a central flower,  or mirror image split vertically
  • Design elements are sometimes filled in with fine, cross – hatched lines.
  • Flower shapes of Hallingdal are classified into 3 groups: circles, triangles or half circles.
Claudine Schatz

Circle Flowers

  • A circular centre is painted first and then concentric bands of colour added
  • Petals are added around the central circle in an even number, four or more, with petal length limited by the sectional diameter of the circle, and defined with liner work.
  • Ball flowers are circular flowers painted as a series of round balls surrounding a centre circle.

Triangular Flowers

  • Simple flowers with three petals, similar to a tulip; usually painted in strokes from the outside tip down to a base at the centre.
  • Blooms with more than three petals can have an oval centre, similar to a daisy.  Are  also combined into more elaborate and complex floral designs.
  • Triangular flower petal strokes can double as leaf forms.

Half circle Flowers

  • Usually are seen as larger elements within the Hallingdal design.
  • Comprise a semi-circular band of colour around a base.
  • Adorned with over strokes and details that illuminate the flower in a new way.
  • Half circles can also become petals of a flower form.


Two types are seen in Hallingdal Designs

  • Stroke – work leaves, similar to the triangle flower petals
  • Shaded leaves, which are large and heavy and used in conjunction with large round central flowers. They do have some liner work stems.


  • Scrolls may represent leaves, but take the form of C and S shapes.
  • They are not shaded or blended in Hallingdal designs.
  • Used as a frame around flowers or as a cartouche border in a band that circles a round floral motif.
  • Painted in one colour; the light source is indicated by over strokes of white/ lighter colour on the top side of the scroll.
  • Scrolls are quite tight. They are not airy and lyrical, as in pieces seen in Telemark regions

Hallingdal Rosemaling even had some features borrowed from Oriental art forms. It was although typical in many ways, also malleable to outside influences. These characteristics overlap and interlace with other Rosemaling styles, and as such, should not be used as limits or boundaries, in one’s own Rosemaling journey, but merely to establish guidelines when one is starting to study this beautiful art form.

Free Hallingdal Rosemaling Designs

Why not get a feel for Hallingdal Rosemaling by painting or colouring in this design:

Free project

Something to Ponder About

[Parts of the description of features of Hallingdal style was taken from Rosemaling in the Round by Pat Virch, 1976] 

Embroidery – Inpire me Monday project with mitred corner border

embroidery project
embroidery with mitred border

Mitring the corners on a border for an embroidery project has always been a challenge for me. I fashioned my own method after some trial and errors, well a few errors, but this method from Youtube, explains it really well. The visuals really help it fit together and you can fine tune it to your own applications.

Why she cuts the fabric where the two corners meet before sewing the mitre “line”and doesn’t just mark it, is something I pondered about.

Beginner embroidery
Completed Embroidery in hoop

Embroidery is not difficult, but very satisfying, and useful decorations on clothing, bags, cushions, linens, bedspreads, and ornamental objects. You don’t need pattern packets, create your own!

Embroidery is one of the easiest crafts to begin designing your own projects.

Do you have a larger sharp needle and 6 stranded threads? 2013-06-11 09.41.07

Perhaps an embroidery hoop?

A few stitches and a few spare hours can turn a plain piece of fabric into something beautiful.

I created this project from an outline in a child’s colouring book, and I found a symmetrical design works best for those just starting out in embroidery.


1.Back your chosen piece of fabric with an iron on interfacing. This will stabilize and support the fabric,preventing any puckering from occurring as you stitch. It is not essential, so if you don’t have it, don’t stress.

2. Transfer the image on to tracing paper using a light box, or if you don’t have one, tape the paper to the inside of a clear glass window and lay the tracing paper on top, and trace the outline.

(You can make a simple light box with a clear plastic container (like Sistema clip-it range) and a bright torch inside, pointing upwards)

3. Either:  Trace the design on to the fabric using a washable transfer pen, or erasable pen. The outline will either fade out or wash away. Or/

Place paper tracing directly on to fabric and secure in an embroidery hoop. Stitch around the outline, using a long tacking stitch, and ordinary sewing thread, then tear the paper from inside the hoop, and remove, leaving the tacking as a guideline for your embroidery

Transfer embroidery pattern

4. Select colours and threads. I use 6 stranded embroidery floss, which is split into sections of 3 strands each for stitching.

5. Decide on what stitch you will use in your design.
There is a variety of instructions for basic embroidery stitches available on the net, that you can use to instruct you on how to do Basic stitches such as Running Stitch, Back Stitch, Satin Stitch, Chain Stitch, Lazy Daisy and French Knot. With even just three of these stitches you can create many effects. If the following links don’t work, just “google” or “youtube” embroidery stitches, and you will find plenty of clever videos to help you on your way.

I used Back stitch to outline the green foliage behind the flower. Chain stitch for the petals, Lazy daisy stitch for the central flower, french knots to decorate. There is a circle in the centre which is a couching stitch, which I plan to pull out and re – do as it is a bit crooked.

I added pearl beads for the outer filler flowers. Embellish with ribbon, beads, and fabric applique as needed.

Here are some links for stitches:


Making your own Embroidery Designs

Now comes the creative part.

Use the outline you have chosen, only as a guide or if tentative the first step in stitching.

Lay the threads you have chosen over the top and see what colour works best. Then just start stitching. If it is boring, you can always pull it out or add more to it. A plain back-stitch can have a contrasting thread stitching underneath each existing stitch to highlight it.


Experiment with different embellishments and stitches as you go. Build up the colours and layers. Fill in the petals or design with smaller seed stitches, stars, hearts, running stitch, french knots, or satin stitch.

Remember, if it is does not seem interesting enough, you can always pull it out or add more to it. A plain back-stitch can have a contrasting thread stitching underneath each existing stitch to highlight it.

First timers can find templates and outlines everywhere, especially in children’s colouring books, and when your confidence grows you can try freestyle embroidery. Flowers are great to use in this technique as you can keep filling in the design, until you are satisfied.


Don’t feel constrained by a pattern.  Make it personal, make it your own. Something you will ponder about?

Find more inspiration on a blog hop Inspire me Monday at Create with Joy