Stenciling Secrets, Tips and Tricks
Stenciling is a fun and relatively easy way to add colorful and elaborate decorative features to your walls. You have a wide variety of options, allowing you to get as creative as you like. All you have to do is envision what you want the space to look like, and then find the perfect pattern to get you there.
While there are hundreds of different stencil templates which can be purchased from the craft store, many people prefer to make their own, allowing them to customize and craft exactly what they want right from their own kitchen tables. You just need to start by finding a design that inspires you. You can take cues from fabric, wallpaper, or from design books and online photos.
Copy the picture or design onto a piece of paper. If itâ€™s a repeating pattern use a straight edge to add a dotted line to the top as a reference point for later. Once youâ€™re happy with the quality of the base picture, you can take a sheet of clear acetate and tape it down to the original for copying. As you trace the drawing, start with the dotted reference line at the top. Then only trace those shapes which all are going to be the same color on the wall. The idea is to create a different sheet for each color so you donâ€™t have to worry about spills and drips.
Those designs which are not of the same color can be traced using more dotted lines, so that it will be easier to line up the entire pattern on the wall later on. Repeat this with each color in the design until you have the entire picture complete.
The last step to creating a stencil is cutting out the actual pieces. Place each acetate sheet on a cutting board separately. Then use a craft knife to carefully carve the shapes from the material. Each line should be sliced with one fluid motion, the knife drawing through the sheet towards your body, with your hands carefully positioned away from the blade. As you work, turn the sheet itself to get a better angle on your cuts.
Whether you make your own stencil, or use a store bought one, the process of applying paint is basically the same. First you need to prep the wall, removing any wall clocks, nails, portraits, or decorative objects, and patching any holes in the sheet rock. If the design repeats, use a straight edge to draw a faint dotted line on the wall itself in pencil or chalk. Then match the stencil line up to this to keep the pattern straight.
It may be helpful to actually tape the stencil to the wall to stop it from sliding down. The paint itself should be applied using special stencil brushes, which will spread the color evenly over the surface. Dip the brush in the paint very lightly, making sure to wipe off any excess. You want the bristles to be just barely damp.
Applying the paint can be done in one of two ways. You can use a technique called stippling, which involves dabbing color over the open area to create a soft even coat. Alternatively the paint can be applied in swirls which will allow you to press harder at some points, and softer at others, creating a sense of depth in the final creation.
Paint each color on separately, using the various template stencils that you created, and waiting for every coat of paint to dry completely before moving on to the next. Check that the designs on the stencil match up evenly with each move. If there are small problems with the finished product, you can use a tiny paintbrush to touch up errors. If any major mistakes occur, a roller can be used to simply paint a fresh coat over the stencils, allowing you to start over once again.