Our tips and tricks to DIY stenciling
- Stencil (ours is here)
- Foam roller
- Water-based paint
- Small bowl for paint
- Small artist brush
- Paper Towels
- Spray Adhesive
- Painters Tape
Since a second coat of paint is cumbersome, and near impossible, the right quality paint is essential. Any water-based paint should work. After some research, I found many sites recommending Ben by Benjamin Moore, which is what we used. I agonized over the right shade of teal, because like other paint projects, redoing this isn’t something I can talk my husband into. We selected Benjamin Moore White Dove and StlateTeal. Make sure to mix the paint well before using. Practice on a sample board first, if not, the application may vary and colors may not be consistent.Get sticky
Every part of the stencil window (the shape in the stencil paint goes through) needs to be firmly stuck to the wall. Before you place, spray the back of the stencil with contact adhesive and wait about two minutes or so. If you don’t wait for it to get tacky the stencil will be difficult to remove and leave glue residue on the wall (guilty as charged). One round of adhesive spray will last three or four impressions. Do not re-spray each time; we made this mistake, and it is near impossible to remove adhesive. (We found goo gone works the best to remove the adhesive, but it is labor intensive for larger stencils). In addition to the spray, tape corners down with painters tape.
Manhandle when needed
The most difficult places to stencil are the corners. Wall-to-wall was okay, but wall-to-wall near the ceiling was cringe worthy. And don’t get me going on on stenciling around the crown moulding over the door. Yikes. Just remember you can always touch up with a brush or re-do entirely if needed. I recommend taping down one side and leaving the other free so you can bend as needed.
Maintain your stencils
If stenciling over several days, wash the paint off the stencil before the end of the night, if not the paint will build up and make the stencil thicker, resulting in blurrier lines. In the end we found washing it every four stencils worked best. Our stencil package came with two patterns that worked together so we were able to wash and dry while using the other.
Perfect, to a point
For imperfect applications, I took a small brush and smoothed uneven lines. I had a designated brush for teal and white. I could have spent hours doing this if I had allowed myself. These brushes also came in handy near the baseboards and corners to connect the patter with a free hand.
Stenciling is not easy, but with practice and patience the results are stunning and much more inexpensive than wallpaper. If anyone else has any other tips, please comment!