Stenciling Techniques For Your Walls

How to paint stencil designs on walls.

Stencilling is the method of painting a design over and over by using a cut out shape. It has been around thousands of years. Some of the first stencils were made from leaves. Even the Egyptians used stencils for their tombs. The Romans used stencils for their signs directing people to the Roman Games. Even the earliest settlers in America, used stencilling to decorate their homes.

Before you start stencilling, you need to make sure the wall surface is smooth. If there are any minor cracks or damage, they must be repaired first. For the best results, the area you are stencilling should be painted with a fresh coat of latex or oil based paint. A flat paint will work the best. A semi-gloss paint can be used, but the stencils will not stick to them as well as they will to the flat paint. If you do have trouble getting the paint to stick to the surface, lightly sandpaper the area. This will give the paint a rough enough surface to stick to.

The items you will need are: a mylar stencil (these are the best for the project), spill proof stencil or acrylic paint, and stencil brushes (either flat tipped or domed, it doesn't matter). You will also need a marking pencil, masking tape or spray adhesive, and a level or a laser level. Also needed for this project is a plate or a palette for the paint. Lint free paper towels will be needed for removing excess paint from the brushes. All of the supplies can be found in your local craft store or in the craft department of your local department store.

You should always practice your stencilling on a piece of paper first, so you can get an idea of how much paint to use and what kind of technique you want to use. There are two ways of stencilling: one is by tapping or dabbing your brush on the stencil. The other method is by swirling or using a circular motion to apply the paint.

The best way to stencil is to layer the paint. Instead of putting a lot of paint on in one application, it is better to use a small amount of paint in many layers. One way to tell if you are using too much paint, is to check behind one corner of the stencil. If the paint is running or seeping behind the stencil, then you are using too much paint. Also, if the edges of what you have stencilled are not crisp, you could be using too much paint.

When you begin stencilling, you should begin in the least noticeable corner of the room. With your level or your laser level, you will mark your area for the stencil. Note: With the laser level you won't have to mark your level line on the wall. Place your stencil on the wall so it is level. When it is placed where you want it, lightly mark the registration marks.(These are little holes in the mylar stencil that will help you line up the stencil when you move it to another section of the wall). This will allow you to move the stencil and keep you design looking even. Then, place a small piece of masking tape on each corner to hold your stencil in place. You can also use the spray adhesive on the back of the stencil to hold it in place.

Put a small amount of paint on the plate or palette, about the size of a quarter. Dip just the tip of the bristles into the paint. On a paper towel, blot off the excess paint. Keep blotting until the brush is almost out of paint or dry. The biggest mistake people make in stencilling is by putting too much paint on the brush. The best way of controlling your color is by applying the right amount of pressure to the brush and in the number of times you go over the area.

Hold the brush like you would hold a pencil. You need to start on the outside edge of the cutout. Then, paint in a circular motion toward the center. You will need to use a clockwise motion. While doing this, you need to hold the stencil with the other hand. Always begin lightly. Then, you will use a counter clockwise motion to build up your color. Continue with the clockwise and counter clockwise layers until you have the color you desire. It's always best to lift up one corner of the stencil before removing it. Check the area to make sure it has the color you desire.

Then, move your stencil to the next section of area to be stencilled. Be sure to use the registration marks from the previous section. Follow your laser line or your pencil line to keep it all level. Continue in this manner, until your project is completed.

Cleanup is very simple. Clean all your brushes and plates with soap and water. If your use an acrylic paint, you can also use turpentine to clean up the paint. Be sure to clean all utensils thoroughly. Just be sure to dry all the materials before putting them away. This will enable you to use them over and over again.

By following these simple directions, you can create a beautiful new design that will add new spice and decoration to an old, dull space. Stencilling can be done not only on walls, but on any surface. It is fun, easy and can be done with little time and effort.

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