The Best Way to Stencil a Wall

This is another heavily requested post. Ever since I started posting my progress to Instagram and in Facebook groups I’ve gotten questions. This is going to be a post all about my feelings about stenciling and my best advice for anyone considering

1. Get the Right Supplies

As I have mentioned in other blog posts, doing a home project right starts with getting the right supplies.

Paint. First, you will need paint. You can get a latex paint like I did, or you can get acrylic paint from a craft store, Walmart, etc. Since I didn’t do research first, I didn’t know about the acrylic paint or I probably would have gone with that option as it is much easier and cheaper.

Although after failed attempts I ran out of my green paint and went to Joann’s to get acrylic paint to replace it. Their selection was pretty wiped out and they didn’t have the color green I was needing. Desperate to start the project as soon as possible I grabbed this Folk Art Chalk Paint in Spanish Moss and it worked out fine.

Brushes. I tried a lot of different tools, but the one with the best results ended up being these foam stippler brushes. These are great for the larger areas of the stencil. For hard to reach or small areas you may need to get a brush. Any kind of small, paint brush will do.

Spray Adhesive. This looks optional but really it is so crucial to stop bleeding. For the best results, you need a spray adhesive. This will keep your stencil on the wall and keep paint from spreading. Just taping the stencil to the wall allows the paint to seep under the stencil. This spray adhesive will stop the spread.

Tape. You’ll still want some painters tape for extra reinforcement around the edges of the stencil.

Paper Towels. These are crucial for blotting the excess paint off before you touch your brush to the wall. More on this later.

Paint Trays. Of course, you’ll want some paint trays or paper plates to put the paint on. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to use.

2. Nail the Technique

Once you have everything you need, it is time to start.

Where to start the stencil

I’ve seen videos where people start with their stencil centered at the top and work their way out from both sides. I measured my stencil out across my wall and realized the spacing would work better if I started in the top left corner and worked my way right.

I think this is a personal preference for you. I decided to do it this way because it results in the least amount of stencil being cut off when I reached the end of the wall. Having to fold the stencil to a corner is very tricky and I wanted to minimize that as much as possible.

How to load your brush

The way you load your brush with paint is a very important step.

You’ll dip your brush in the paint, then blot it on the paper towel until a light wash of color comes off the brush. This will minimize the bleeding of your paint colors.

Then you’ll lightly bounce your brush onto the stencil area, not pressing too hard.

And that is it! You’ll do that over all areas with your different colors.

3. Break Between Sections

Once you complete a stencil panel, peel the stencil off the wall and give it a few minutes to dry before starting the next one. If you rush into the next section you might have wet paint transfer onto the new section, so take a break between sections.

4. Use a Paint Brush for Small Sections

Use a brush for the smaller areas. There are some parts of your stencil that the foam stipple brush may not reach, so go back in the areas that you missed is a brush.

Instead of using a brushing motion, I advise you to do a stippling motion of bouncing the brush. This will minimize the sight of brush strokes in the paint.

5. Take Your Time and Accept Imperfections

Give yourself time to complete it. If you are planning to complete this project in one day, you may not want to do this. For reference, each 23″ x 35″ section took me about an hour, and I had about 20 sections across my wall.

Accept imperfections. My stencil looks fantastic in pictures, but many flaws are noticeable up close. It is not going to be perfect, and the sooner you accept that the less frustrated you will be in the process

What questions do you have about stenciling? Do you think you would try it?

Ever since moving into our house earlier this year I knew I wanted my office to be a fun, creative space for me.

Early on I was considering wallpaper. I have seen the new peel and stick versions out there and thought that it couldn’t be too difficult.

But those can get pretty pricey, and I wasn’t finding what I wanted. I started researching real wallpaper but my fiance wasn’t crazy about the idea. First, it would be difficult to put up, but it would be even more difficult to take down.

My Experience

Why a stencil?

If we ever wanted to change this room or move the wallpaper could cause a headache.

That is where the stencil came in. Wall stencils were not something I really knew about before. I had recently looked at floor stencils as an option for when we painted our tile floor but hadn’t thought about stencils for the wall.

Then my mom suggested it. I liked the idea more because should I ever want to get rid of my accent wall, all I would have to do is grab a can of paint and cover it up.

The stencil I used

In researching the idea I Googled wall stencil, and one of the first results was Royal Design Studio.

I started looking through their stencils, and when I found this one I knew that is what I was going to do.

I thought that stenciling would be cheaper than wallpaper, and perhaps some stencils would have been. But this one cost about $60 but I figured it was worth it.

For the paint, I went to Home Depot and bought four different color paint samples. I chose the Behr Marquee paint and got the colors Rosewater, Mossy Cavern*, Peaceful Blue, and Sea Wind (*note: I did not end up using this paint in the final version, I used the FolkArt Chalk paint in Spanish Moss).

What questions do you have about stenciling? Do you think you would try it?

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