How To Paint A Wall Using A Stencil

While we had tons of fun picking out our stencil and dreaming of what it would look like, we really didn't think it would turn out to be a part-time job for the week. And while it took tons of hours (and a whole lotta patience to complete) we learned a lot from researching--and making our own mistakes. BELOW JUMP

What You Need

Tools and Materials

  • Stencil(s)
  • Stencil brush
  • Paint
  • Small bowl for paint
  • Paper Towels
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Painters Tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Q-tips

Instructions

1. Make sure the walls are prepped and clean (for us, that meant starting with a few fresh coats of white paint).

2. While researching how to stencil, we encountered two different ways of mapping out your stencil on the wall. One site suggested starting in the top left corner and the other--right in the middle of the wall. We opted to start in the middle of the wall (ensuring symmetry).

3. Before mapping out the stencil, use your spray adhesive for easy repositioning of the stencil (reapply as needed). Once you decide on your starting point, place the stencil on the wall and make sure it's properly aligned using your level.

4. Once it's straight, you'll want to mark the stencil on the wall using the registration marks (the small triangles in each corner). Rather than marking the stencil straight on the wall, we placed a small piece of painters tape underneath to pencil on. Doing this ensures that you won't have to erase your penciled marks once you're done.

5. After you've mapped out the stencil on your wall(s), it's time to start stenciling. Unload most of the paint onto a folded paper towel. Take your stencil brush and in a jabbing motion, start to fill in the stencil with your paint. Because you unloaded much of the paint from your brush, you'll have to reload your paint brush 2-4 times for each area.

6. Each time you remove the stencil, place it sticky side up to remove any paint that may have gotten underneath. Also use this opportunity to clean up the wall using a wet Q-tip or paper towel.

7. In order to paint our stencil in the corners, we had to bend the stencil which meant that only one side would be secure. In order for it to stay put, we held the other side down with our hands and the help of some painters tape.

Additional Notes:

  • Spend the money and invest in a good stenciling brush. We picked up one at Michael's for around $8 and it shed the entire time (which was very frustrating).
  • Practice on a large piece of board beforehand. We didn't have our technique down until after doing five or so (which resulted in some areas being darker than others). We actually think it ended up looking more interesting because of the contrasting areas (but if you're a stickler for a uniform look, practice first).
  • Stenciling takes forever. Ours (including the painting of the entire bathroom beforehand) took 30 plus hours. Make sure it's a project you are willing to see through to the finish because it takes a ton of patience and work.
  • If your wall(s) are at all uneven, your level will probably be off (which was the case with ours). Try and find one side of the stencil where the level works and pencil your registration marks.
  • We found this video very helpful for this project
  • Also, check out Gregory's recent post; How To Repaint & Stencil Ugly Rental Vinyl Tile Flooring

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    (Images: Beth Zeigler)

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