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Decorative Painting: How to Stencil


Now, you know what stenciling is and what it can do for your space. Let’s learn how to actually do it.

Important: We will assume that your wall (or ceiling) is ready for stenciling, meaning it is painted with a flat sheen base color or has the texture or faux finish applied.

What you need:

-  Stencil(s)
-  Sample board (poster board, cardboard, etc.)
-  Paint (one or more colors depending on your design)
-  Dense foam roller with rounded ends and stencil brush
-  Paint tray
-  Low tack painter’s tape or spray adhesive (optional)
-  Level
-  Paper towels or rag, cleaning tools, and liquid soap
-  Step ladder (optional)

Important: Try your technique on a sample board first. Make sure you are comfortable with the process before starting on a real wall. Make sure you like the color combinations.

  1. If makes sense, mask out adjacent surfaces that do not get painted (like ceilings and baseboards).
  2. -          If applying on all walls, start with the least visible corner, so that by the time you reach the visible areas, you will really get a hand on the technique.

    -          If applying to an accent wall, start on a section of the wall that will allow you to go all the way up (or down) without interruption to create a perfect vertical guide to move from sideways.

  3. Position your stencil flat on the wall and tight against the ceiling crease (if doing the entire height of the wall) and secure it with several pieces of low tack masking tape. Make sure it is level and adjust if necessary.Applying first stencil to the wall
  4. Load your roller with just enough paint. The roller should not be wet. If it is, roll it over a rag or a paper towel.
  5. Roll the stencil with your roller using light to medium pressure. Excessive pressure may cause paint to bleed under the stencil.Roll over the stencil

    Check if you are applying the right pressure, by peeling off a corner of the stencil and picking under it. If the imprint is too light, put the stencil back and roll over it some more. If applying light colors over a dark base, two coats are usually needed. Note: Be careful not to roll over the outside edges of the stencil.

  6. Let the paint to dry a few minutes and then remove the stencil.
  7. -          If applying in a continuous pattern, reposition the stencil right below the finished imprint and line up the pattern. It is OK, if it does not align perfectly. You will never see it on the finished wall. Do not re-stencil the same area and do not roll over the previous imprints. Repeat steps 3 through 6.

    Continue with the pattern and align with the previous imprint

    -          If applying only once (as an accent or a piece or art), you are done.

    -          If applying sparingly, move the stencil to the next position of application and repeat steps 3 to 6.

  8. -      To do the bottom edge, bend the stencil where it meets the edge. Tape one side of it in place and roll as close to the edge as possible. Cut in with a brush the rest of the way.

    -      When doing a corner, bend the stencil. Do not tape the bent stencil to both walls at once. Tape it to the wall you need to finish and leave the other part unsecured. Finish painting the wall by rolling and cutting in with a brush. Un-tape the stencil. Level it on the other surface of the corner and secure with tape. Roll and cut in.

    -      To do the ceiling edge, it is better to use a special top part stencil. However, you can use a regular stencil by following the instruction for the bottom edge.

Fixing mistakes:

While it is wet, try wiping off a mistake with a wet cloth, baby wipe or moist Q-tip. If it is too big or already dry, roll your basecoat (and repeat the faux finish, if there was one) over a dry mistake. It may take 2 coats to cover. Let it dry completely and now you’re ready to re-stencil the area.

Do not worry about less then perfect alignment. Just do the best you can. Little faults will blend into a whole.

All over stencil on  bathroom walls

And there you have it. You are ready to tackle a stenciling project. If you, however, have a great design idea and no time to work on it, call Colorwise and More to make it a reality. We are happy to assist you anywhere in the Delaware Beach area (Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Bethany Beach and more).

Part 1 – Decorative Painting: What is Stenciling?

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2 Responses to Decorative Painting: How to Stencil

  1. Elana says:

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much.

  2. Tapping Cidera / Plester Cedera Otot says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of
    the website is really good.


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