Monday, November 14, 2011

Wall Stencil How To

I am still basking in the glow of my lovely new stenciled wall.  Isn't she pretty...

I promised you I would return with a how-to so that you can all do this at home, so here it is.  The most important part of this how-to is you must watch this video!  I bought this beautiful Nadya Damask Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  They not only have an amazing selection of fantastic stencils but they really do send you a top notch product.  You have to check them out!  

So now that you have watched the video you have gotten all kinds of great tips, but let me break down a few things.  The question that kept popping up from your comments was "how did you space everything so well???"  The absolute secret to my success showed up at my door step for $12 but honestly I would have paid twice that because it was invaluable.  So what's the secret...the wonderful, fantastic Cutting Edge Clip-On Stencil Level.  Seriously...GET IT!  It made the process SO much simpler.  

You just clip it to the top, make sure everything is level each time you move the stencil and then you are set to go.  

But lets back up and take you through this step by step.  You will need a small foam roller, paint, a paper plate, paper towels and painters tape.  

First tape off the space you are stenciling.  I was doing one wall so I taped the top and bottom at the trim and then the corner where the non-stenciled wall met my work space.  Then start in the middle of the room - now I did not do any fancy measuring, I just eyeballed it.  I imagine that you could measure off the room and place the stencil in the exact middle which would make the pattern perfectly even but honestly I don't think it is necessary.  Unless you stare at it at length your eye will simply see a repeating pattern and not even care exactly where it starts and ends.   

Place the stencil against the wall, make sure it is level and then use painters tape to tape it down at the corners. 

Put a light coating of paint on the roller and then roll it on the paper towel.  This is the most helpful thing the video taught me so DO IT!    Why?  Because this step evens out the paint on the roller and removes any big globs (yes, that is the technical term).  You want to apply the paint in an even thin layer and globs of paint will just make that impossible 

Then start painting!  Use medium to light pressure.  Do not press hard, instead roll over the stencil numerous times with a lighter pressure returning for more paint often (and using the paper towel method each time).

Now it is time too move the stencil.  Remove it gently but don't be to afraid - the tape should come off easily and the paint should be fine.  As you see in the video, if your stencil patterns allows for this, overlap the top pattern of the stencil with the the bottom of what you just finished painting.  (Sorry if that is confusing,  the video really shows it clearly.)  This trick is what made easy spacing possible! 

If your stencil pattern does not allow for this then I would imagine more measuring would be involved.  That right there is enough for me to take this into consideration when deciding what pattern to use.  Does anyone have a good solution for this?!?!?

When you get to an outlet just be sure you have fully taped it over with painters tape then just roll right over it.  When you get to the corner use some more tape to secure the stencil to the wall, then bend it into the corner.  If you are having a hard time using the roller to get deep into the corner then use a brush.

At some point you will need to clean your stencil.  I was able to complete my single wall without cleaning it but it was getting a little dicey at the end.  To clean the stencil lay it on a plastic cutting board and then use soap, water and a gentle sponge or brush.  With a little patience it should come completely clean. 

Oh and one more little tip for you...most stencils will be packaged rolled up.  If you want to speed up the flattening process so you can get to using it quicker take a hair dryer to it.  The heat will help flatten out the plastic.  And if possible store your stencils flat.  This will keep it in much better shape if you ever want to reuse it!