My Wonderful Walls Blog — Decorating Ideas
How to Stencil a Floor 0
While the overall process to stencil a design on your floor versus your wall isn’t all that different, preparation is even more important when you are talking about how to stencil a floor. With the right preparation, you can pull off any floor project you desire, even an elaborate design. Here are step by step instructions you can use to stencil a floor.
- First, you’ll want to decide what shape your floor is in general. You don’t necessarily need to strip it and sand it unless you want the look of new wood. You will want to sink any protruding nails, fill in holes and sand the surface sufficiently that the primer can hold. If you have a vinyl floor, strip any wax then clean thoroughly with ammonia, rinse well and sand to a dull finish. You’ll want to let concrete floors cure for at least a month.
- Choose a primer that is suitable for your floor material. Make sure the floor is clean, dry and free of dust before priming. You’ll want to use a long-handled roller to apply the primer after cutting in the edges with a brush. Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer’s direction.
- Apply a basecoat. You may be using paint or stain here depending on your floor material. You will need to allow the basecoat to dry for several days before you continue. And when you are ready to continue, you’ll want to take your shoes off and wear clean socks to maintain a pristine surface.
- Create your registration marks. For an all over pattern, you’ll want to mark a grid on the floor with a chalk line (except on bare wood – see below for how to create). Measure and mark the center points of the two opposite walls. Snap a chalk line between the then repeat with the other pair of walls.
- Start at the center of each side of the floor and measure off intervals of the grid on both sides of center. Then match up grid marks on opposite sides and snap a chalk line in between them. This will give you a complete grid. If you have regularly spaced floorboards or parquet squares, you can use those as a guideline instead. Note: You may need to fudge the registration marks a little if your room isn’t perfectly square.
- Now you’re ready to stencil! You may want to place your tools and paint on a tray on top of a drop cloth and move it along with you while you’re working. Use a roller brush to make the work go faster. The process is again the same as described in our How to Stencil Using a Roller Brush with Liquid Paint article except you're stenciling the floor.
- After your stenciled design has had time to cure, you’ll want to seal in your floor décor with several coats of clear finish. Water based finishes will give a colorless coating while oil-based products give an amber cast to whatever they cover. Make sure to read the label for whatever product you buy to make sure it can be used over paint. Again, using a roller brush will make the job quicker. After applying the finish, keep off the floor for several days. Then for the next few days at least, make sure to wear only socks on the floor until your finish has cured.
A note about bare wood floors: Chalk lines on a bare wood floor will not come off without sanding. For creating a registration grid in that case, you can use string held in place with adhesive putty. You will need to take extra care not to disturb the strings while you work and will need to move them temporarily while stenciling underneath.
When stenciling on bare wood floors, you also can’t easily correct a mistake. Applying a thin coat of a clear sealer first, will prevent the stenciled paint from soaking into the floor and can be easily wiped off if caught in time.
Now that you have an idea of how to stencil a floor, which room will you start with first?
How to Stencil Using a Sponge 0
If you are looking to add texture to a stenciled design, using a sponge to apply your paint is one easy way to do it. In this blog post, we will explore how to stencil using a sponge. This technique is great for many home and hobby stencils like our Herringbone Pattern Stencils or Hearts Allover Stencil.
You can choose to use something like a large sea sponge to create a stone effect or use a fine grained, soft sponge like a make up sponge for painting on glass surfaces. When painting with a sponge, your print will have a somewhat primitive look. If that isn’t what you are going for, look to our blog posts on How to Stencil Using a Roller with Liquid Paint or How to Stencil with a Brush.
No matter what type of sponge you select for your stenciling project, use a clean, dry sponge for each color. You will want to prepare the sponge by misting it lightly with water. Knead the sponge in your hand until the dampness has permeated it and your sponge is no longer stiff. You don’t want the sponge to be wet, just damp.
Next, you will want to pour several spoonfuls of paint onto a plate or palette. If you can pour more than one color without mixing them, do so, otherwise start with one color at a time.
Apply your stencil to the surface you will be painting. My Wonderful Walls stencils are self-adhesive but other commercial stencils may need an application of low-tack spray adhesive or tape.
Now you will dab your sponge into the paint. On a fresh spot on the plate or palette, dab the sponge up and down to work the paint into the crevices. Now offload (remove) some of the paint by dabbing your sponge onto a stack of paper towels. Because sponges tend to retain more paint than a brush be careful when making your print. Using a light touch, you can continue to dab the sponge all over the cutouts until all the areas are filled in.
Just like with any other stenciling project, you can remove the stencil from the surface before the paint is fully dry. You will be able to continue the process as you like until you have achieved the desired effect.
Another great way to use a sponge with a stencil is to create a faux stone effect on a wall, floor or other surface. You can combine sets of three or four colors to imitate granite, weathered concrete, terra-cotta or sandstone. Acrylic house paints are perfect for a project like this. Using the same basic steps as above, start with a base coat of paint in the color you want to be most prominent. (You may need to do some research on what different stones look like to decide the colors to use.) Apply an uneven layer of your base coat over the stencil cutouts with a roller.
Now, using a sea sponge dab on the other two or three colors in no way attempting to blend them. Let the paint start to dry then roll over the entire thing with a hardened stencil roller or rubber brayer. Exert just enough pressure to blend the colors slightly. Then roll over the surface again, even harder. This will cause the colors to blend and lift patches of the sponged-on paint. If not, you can spritz the surface with water lightly, wait a few seconds and roll again. The dampened bits should lift onto the brayer. You can then remove your stencil from the surface and move on. While this might seem like a lot of work when you can easily buy paints that mimic different stone effects, this will be much easier to paint over if you decide you tire of it as the texture is an optical illusion.
Now that you know how to stencil with a sponge and create some special effects, you are ready to redecorate that boring wall in your home you’ve been staring at! Let us know in the comments if you have ever used a sponge for painting or stenciling.
5 Easy Steps to Stenciling with a Brush and Paint 0
Stenciling can be intimidating but once you get the hang of it, it really is one of the easiest ways to make a basic print on your walls, windows, furniture or fabrics. Here are the 5 basic steps to stenciling with a brush and a paint.
1. Use clean, dry stencil brushes, one for every color. You can find stencil brushes in a few different sizes with different types of bristles. Stiff bristles are required for stippling and softer ones for rubbing or swirling.
2. Use a piece of heavy paper or cardboard or scraps of your fabric for a practice surface before starting your project. Apply your My Wonderful Walls Stencil with our self-adhesive backing or use spray adhesive or tape for other stencils, depending on your surface type.
3. Place a dollop of paint onto a plate or palette tray. Pick up a very small amount of paint on the brush. On an empty portion of your plate or tray, work the paint thoroughly and evenly into the brush bristles by rubbing in firm circles
4. Now remove all excess paint by working the brush in circles on a stack of paper towels. Knowing when you have just the right amount of paint on your brush may take some trial and error.
5. Now you’re ready to stencil! You can use a stippling or pouncing technique in which you hold the brush straight up and down and pounce it over the cutouts in the stencil using short, firm taps. Or you can use a swirling technique and holding the brush straight up, rub it in small circles over the cutouts, pressing lightly at first in case you have too much paint on your brush. Gradually, press firmer. Work around the edges first before moving to the center, repeating the application of paint to the edge to build up the color slowly. Once you are feeling happy with the print, remove the stencil and let the paint dry. Move on to your next area or project!
HINT: Some stencilers find it helpful to keep a damp cloth or paper towel in a small jar for each brush so that when they are not using that particular brush, they can keep it from getting dried out but not get it soaked. You do not want to have a wet brush.
Now that you have the 5 steps to stenciling with a brush and paint, you are ready to start your next project. Be sure to check out our blog post on How to Stencil Using a Roller with Liquid Paint. Some projects may require you to use both techniques.
How to Create a Wall Border with Stencils 0
Border designs are an easy way to decorate the top of a wall or along an architectural feature like chair rail. You can also stencil borders on furniture, windows, and things like wrapping paper. Many My Wonderful Walls stencils make a great border! The hardest challenge with creating a border is keeping it on a straight line as you repeat your stenciled pattern. Using a guideline and registration marks will help you accomplish your goal and make a beautiful bordered design look like it was professionally created.
Begin by measuring from the edge of the ceiling, floor, or whatever architectural feature is closest to the placement of your wall border. You can use a carpenter’s level to help you in case of sloped walls, floors or ceilings. Mark your guideline with a chalk line on painters’ tape, then you don’t have to worry about removing the marks later. Measure the position you want in a couple of places and with the help of a second person if necessary, apply a length of painters’ tape in roughly the right position.
Now you’ll want to re-measure each end of your stencil and put your chalk line along the tape. To position the stencil, align the registration holes or stencil edge with the guideline you have chalked out on the tape and mark those holes right on the tape. Make sure to use the lowest tack painters’ tape available and when working with a freshly painted surface, give it time to completely cure before putting tape of any kind on it.
Most stencils will have a printed or cut out outline of the trailing cutouts for the adjacent repeat. Simply overlap and line up these outlines onto the corresponding parts that have just been painted. When the top edge of the stencil is lined up along the guideline and the registration outlines are lined up over the appropriate stenciled parts, then the stencil is in the right place for the next repeat. If registration outlines are cut out, not printed, be careful to not paint them a second time.
Another challenge with painting a border in an entire room is in most cases the length of the wall is probably not going to be an even multiple of the stencil length. There are a few ways you can address this. To make a continuous border, you can try folding the stencil into corners. Alternatively, you can truncate the design on both sides of the corner. You may also be able to use a corner piece (which may come with the border stencil you purchase or you could separately purchase a coordinating design) to mark the end of the border segment. There is no wrong answer, it is just what you feel most comfortable with and find most visually appealing.
Paint over your stencil with a roller brush as usual, making sure to use the steps in our How to Stencil Using a Roller with Liquid Paint article. Carefully remove the stencil and reapply to the next portion of your wall using your registration guidelines to line it up correctly and continue. Once you are done, remove your painters’ tape as soon as possible pulling it straight back on itself. Let your border design fully dry, using a hair dryer if necessary to speed up the process.
You will now have a gorgeous wall border to show off to friends and family. You can also easily translate these steps to painting a border on other items as well. If you’ve ever used our wall stencils to create a border, we’d love to hear from you in the comments!
From Zig-Zags to Hearts: How to Easily Stencil an Accent Wall 0
Today we have a guest blogger, Ash from Just Measuring Up who along with his wife Eileen are a dynamic team of home improvement and DIY bloggers. Read on to see what he has to say about working with our Hearts Stencils.
Have you ever see a gorgeous accent wall and wished you were able to replicate it?
Well, I have some good news for you! With the right stencil and perfect paint color, it’s super easy to create a stunning accent wall in your home. No artistic ability necessary.
Eileen found a heart stencil pattern from My Wonderful Walls that she fell in love with, knowing it would be perfect in our nursery.
The current pattern on the wall (from the original homeowners) was begging for an update. There were two black zig-zags with colorful squares between them that Eileen and I wished we had painted over before moving in.
And, here’s a picture of the gorgeous after:
It’s like night and day!
How to Paint a Heart Stencil Wall
We usually just paint walls a standard color, so we were looking forward to having a little more fun with this wall.
To begin, I had to first start with a blank slate. This meant removing the current pattern. I used a high-quality white paint from Benjamin Moore and applied two coats to cover the pattern. I was hoping one coat would do the trick, but the pattern was still visible, so two coats were needed.
I did have to use my orbital sander a few times though. Some areas on the original pattern were causing visible ridges. It was a hand-painted pattern and had a lot of paint build-up on the edges of the zig-zag. I thought the white paint would cover and hide it, but I was not that happy with the result. So I just used the sander to make a few areas more smooth, and re-applied the paint.
Soon the wall was a blank white canvas, begging for some pink hearts. I read the instructions for using the Wonderful Walls template and watched their video tutorials on their website. The process was very straight forward.
Materials for the Heart Accent Wall:
- Heart stencil template from My Wonderful Walls
- Quart of thick, high-quality pink paint
- Chalk paint/stencil brush
- Paper towels
- Sheets to protect your floor from paint
- Hair dryer
Here’s a picture showing my setup:
Yes, that was a hair dryer you saw on the list. I should have told Eileen I borrowed hers for this project. She was confused on why I had borrowed it. It came in handy to speed up the drying process for the templates.
So, the template was sticky on one side and adhered very well to the wall. I started on one corner of the wall with the template attached, and started painting on hearts. I did my research ahead of time to know that some of the best results come from using chalk paint/stencil brushes. Luckily Eileen had one lying around that she used in a recent chalk paint furniture redo project.
With these types of brushes, a stippling technique would work best to apply the paint (where you gently pat the wall with the brush repeatedly until the heart was filled in with paint, much like a woodpecker motion - pat pat pat pat).
The key to forming a sharp heart pattern with the template was to use a minimal amount of paint. Too much paint would bleed under the stencil and create wavy edges on the hearts. I had a few hearts like these until I perfected my stippling technique with the right amount of paint.
To prevent too much paint on the brush, I just tapped the brush against some paper towels after each dip. Then I was start stippling the hearts. On average, I filled in around 3 hearts at a time before having to re-dip the brush.
Once all eight hearts on the template were filled in with paint, I tapped the brush on the four registration mark holes on the corners of the template. These left small pink circles on the wall that helped me with placement of the template as I made progress along the wall.
The registration marks were critical in getting a consistent distribution of hearts. The marks were only temporary though. A quick dab of the original white paint would remove them once all the hearts were applied.
After I finished each section, I used the hair dryer on a low speed / high heat setting to speed up the drying of the paint. I needed the paint dry before I could remove the template and reposition for another section.
About 10 seconds per heart with the hair dryer seemed sufficient to remove the template cleanly.
Here’s a picture of the wall after I finished my first section (the template is on the bottom):
The hearts were looking really good. It was just a matter of time now before the whole wall was hearted.
Here’s a close-up of some of the hearts:
Here I am half way through, caught with Eileen’s blow dryer:
After about two hours, here is the completed wall:
Eileen and I loved the way it turned out. We loved the quality of the heart stencil, which didn’t surprise us because we also loved the wall stickers from My Wonderful Walls, which we used in our son’s room.
The heart stencils are simply perfect for a little girl’s nursery. They would also look awesome in a craft room.
Aside from priming the wall from the previous pattern, the stencil took just an afternoon of work.
Overall, the accent wall was completed in a weekend, and Eileen and I were kicking ourselves that it took us so long to rid the nursery of the previous pattern.
Of course, here’s our dog Zeus, making himself comfortable in our updated nursery.
Who doesn’t love those hearts?! What a difference from the zig-zags!
Ash is a DIY blogger who, along with his wife Eileen, inspires others to embark on their own do-it-yourself projects through sharing their tutorials, tips, and ideas. Subscribe to their newsletter for DIY inspiration.
DIY Birthday Party Ideas For Any Age 0
Birthday party planning can be somewhat stressful, especially when the birthday child has very definite theme ideas or no idea at all! Don’t worry! We have rounded up some easy ideas for you to add your child's own personal style to the day and make their party stand out from the rest. You’ll also get bragging rights when everyone at the party wants to know where you got the cool birthday swag. Best part is, these simple DIY party ideas won’t break the bank.
Whether you're looking to create a Princess Party, Mad Science Party, Dinosaur Themed Party, Train Birthday Party or a Fun Tween Slumber Party, you can get some inspiration right here. Some of these ideas are even great for after the party as well!
Perfect Princess Party
There’s only one princess in your house and she deserves a fairy tale perfect party. Give her the royal treatment with this DIY Lace Crown instead of buying a party store plastic and bead crown. She’ll look extra special and you’ll be her hero. You can even create extras for the party goers.
If your princess would rather throw a baseball than a royal ball, bake this Couture Princess Sneaker Cake and score a home run. This recipe provided from Parents.com is easily made with store-bought ingredients. Not only does it look adorable, it will be made with love.
When dinosaurs are your kiddo’s favorite thing, you throw them a dinosaur themed birthday party. Instead of spending a fortune on goodies and games, how about making your own like this Dinosaur Fossil Activity fun for girls and boys! Danielle at A Crafty Spoonful shows you how to get ready for a prehistoric good time.
Add a fun DIY Dino Tee for the birthday guest of honor and they’ll be roaring with delight. Check out this no sew idea from Melissa at Sippy Cup Mom. How fun would this be for Halloween too!
Blind them With Science
If your kiddo is a fan of weird science, check out this Elephant Toothpaste Experiment idea from Come Together Kids. You just can’t have a cool science themed party without the kids doing some experiments, right?
The other ingredient that is a must for any fun party is a cool cake. How about this beautiful (yet scientific!) Surprise Cake for your future Madame Curie? You could easily change the colors on this if your birthday child is not a fan of pink and purple.
Train Lovers Party
When it’s all about the engines and caboose, you know your son or daughter wants a train themed birthday party. If you’re looking for something different to entertain your guests try our Train Track Decal Set and some play trains! Perfect for walls but even great on the floor so little engineers can play pretend for hours on end. (Thanks to customer Bill W for the pic.)
Don’t let the fun stop indoors! Head out to the back yard for an “InTraining” Obstacle Course like Kristen at Celebrate Every Day with me came up with for her five-year old’s birthday party. You don’t have to follow her ideas exactly but this should give your mind chugging along with inspiration.
Craft a Great Birthday
If your child or tween is looking for less of a themed party and more of a fun slumber party, she may be asking for a craft to do with her friends. Try this DIY Dreamcatcher idea from Art Bar Blog and make sure each guest goes home with something they made themselves.
Teens may be “too cool” for crafts and party games but one thing most love is taking selfies with their friends. Give your teen girl a beautiful backdrop for her pics with these easy to make DIY Rosettes. These are also perfect for a bridal or baby shower!
Whatever type of party you are planning this year, you can make it extra special with a little creativity and time. Let us know in the comments below what you'll be whipping up for your next party.