My Wonderful Walls Blog — DIY Tutorials
Overlays and Masks in Stenciling and How to Use Them 0
Two ways to add color separation and detail to your stenciled design are by using overlays or masks. Overlays are simply second stencils laid on top of the image left by the first stencil. They can be used to separate colors, add details or eliminate bridges in the original print. Masks are basically just templates that shield a shape or area from color. For the purpose of this blog post, we are assuming use with transparent stencils.
Any time you want to keep two colors completely separate you will want to use an overlay. First you will paint the main element of the design, for example, the octopus body in our Under the Sea Stencil Kit. Then you will carefully remove that stencil and apply the second stencil or overlay, for example the octopus face, on top of the first print and paint that in. With water-based paints you don’t need to wait for the first element to completely dry before painting in your overlay. You could also add a third and fourth overlay to provide shading or details. Though those overlays are not provided with our kit, there are many ways to create your own. HINT: Because the paint layers will be thin, choose your colors wisely so they show up in each layer you add.
You can also use an overlay for outlining. Start by painting your first stencil by rolling a flat block of color over it. Then remove that stencil and apply your outline overlay. Using a roller outline with a bold color. If you use a stencil that gives just a suggestion of the outline of a shape, you can use that on its own or as an overlay to make an interesting print.
Masks are different from overlays in that they are the essential opposite of the stencil. Masks shield from color or paint while stencils expose the shape to paint or color. For a simple stencil with an outline mask, simply apply your stencil to your surface, remove the outline mask to expose the outline of your print. Then paint the outline with a roller brush. Now insert the outline mask and remove the center of your design and paint the center. This is a very basic example of a mask.
You can also create a variety of effects by layering masks and stencils in different orders. For example, in a nursery, perhaps you’d like to stencil the baby’s first initial plus a teddy bear. You would stencil the bear first, then cover it with its mask. Then place the letter stencil on top of the bear mask. Paint the letter. In this example, the teddy bear mask protects that area from the paint of the letter, so the teddy bear appears as if its in front of the letter. You can easily reverse the order to make the bear appear like it’s behind the letter.
With masks and overlays you can create a wide variety of detailed prints. If you have purchased a basic stencil and want to create color separation or add some details, you can cut your own overlays or masks as well as use many objects found in your home or nature as masks. A quick internet search can help you in your stenciling adventure. If you have any questions on using My Wonderful Walls stencils with overlays or masks, please feel free to contact us.
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 Stencil Fabrics 0
A really fun way to add some color and life to a canvas bag, tee-shirt or tablecloth is to add a design with stencils. But knowing what fabrics and what paints work best as well as how to stencil the fabric effectively is key. Many of the techniques you use with stenciling walls also apply to painting a stenciled design onto fabric. However, in most cases you will want to use fabric paint. Not only does it work really well for textiles, it will last when you wash your tee-shirt or tablecloth. With a little practice, you can be stenciling fabrics for every room in your home or as gifts for the holidays!
First, you need to know what fabrics work best for stenciling with paint. Cotton is the most versatile and is easy to stencil. One type of cotton, canvas is heavy and absorbent so not prone to bleeds, making it ideal for stenciling. Most cellulose fibers like rayon or linen are similar to cotton and good for stenciling. Synthetic fabrics may be another story as not all fabric paints will work with them. It is a good idea to check the label and test the fabric and paint first. Silk is a little trickier and you may need to buy special paint made for use with silk in order to be successful. Very rustic cloths like burlap work great for stenciling especially using a roller brush. Unlike other fabrics, with burlap you can use a regular acrylic or house paint versus a fabric paint. This will save you some money.
Second, you will need to prepare your fabric for painting. You must pre-wash your fabric. Then practice your technique with some test strips and paint first. Many fabric paints will need some kind of heat treatment to lock in the design. The label should give you instructions for how best to do this. Usually, it simply involves putting the fabric into the dryer once the paint is dry or using an iron.
Third, you must prepare your work surface. A great work surface for stenciling fabric is a large piece of freezer paper. You can iron the freezer paper to the underside of the fabric (make sure the plastic side of the paper is facing away from the fabric). You can also use a firm piece of non-corrugated cardboard and use a little bit of low-tack spray adhesive to keep your fabric from moving around. Choosing a good surface for your stenciling project is important especially with things like tee-shirts where colors may seep through to the other side if not prevented. And unlike with a wall or hard surface where you can paint over a mistake or wipe it away, with fabric once you mess up, you need to start all over.
Fourth, you will secure the stencil to the fabric. You can use our self-adhesive stencils and depending on the type of fabric add tape if necessary. You can also use low-tack spray adhesive for other brand stencils, let it dry and after securing your fabric to the work surface, apply your stencil. You want the hold of the stencil to be lighter than the hold of the work surface so the stencil doesn’t pull the fabric up every time it is moved.
Now, it’s finally time to apply the paint! Because most fibers are pretty absorbent, you will see the paint soaks in without spreading out. But you do need to make sure the paint penetrates the fibers so make sure to work the paint in well. You can use a roller or a brush here and apply the same techniques we go over in our How To Stencil Using a Roller with Liquid Paint blog post. Carefully remove the stencil once done and allow the paint to dry. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for curing the paint.
To add interest, a broken color effect can be achieved by blending colors. If using a brush, try a stippling technique, by making little dots of color over and over again. Apply your first color to the selected areas then fill in the rest with one or more colors, using a separate brush for each. Let the colors overlap but keep in mind when colors are blended, your design can easily get muddy. If using a roller, make sure to have a separate roller for each color. No matter which technique you choose, avoid using complementary color pairs. Colors that are next to each other on the color wheel tend to blend really well.
You can also try streaking colors by using a stiff, flat artist’s brush loaded up with more paint than usual. Sweep your brush from the edge of the stencil towards the middle and be careful around the edges to avoid bleeding. Repeat with complementary colors, avoiding blending them and remember to use a new brush for each color. This can make for a very interesting effect.
Now that you have some basic techniques for stenciling fabric, we hope you will give it a try. Our home and hobby stencils work great for stenciling textiles of all types. If you aren’t sure about a project you are considering, give us a call and we are happy to chat about it.
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!
How to Stencil Using a Roller with Liquid Paint 0
There are many techniques you can use to paint with your new stencils but one of the easiest is to use a roller brush and either latex house paint or acrylic craft paint. If you have bought a stencil kit from My Wonderful Walls, we do sell acrylic paint kits with all the colors you need to paint your wall mural as shown. But you can also purchase these paints at most craft or big box stores. Here is a step by step guide to stenciling with a roller brush.
- High Density Foam Roller Brushes (you may need many sizes depending on what stencils you are using)
- Acrylic Craft Paint or Latex House Paint (For indoor projects)
- Flat Palette Tray, Old Cookie Sheet or Paper Plates
- Palette Knife or Spatula
- Brush for Shading/Details
How to Stencil with a Roller Brush:
- Start with a clean, dry surface. My Wonderful Walls stencils are self-adhesive so you can just stick them to your walls, furniture or wherever you are stenciling.
- Pour a few spoonfuls of paint onto your flat palette tray or paper plate.
- Using a palette knife or spatula, draw a long wide streak of paint from the spoonfuls. You’ll want it to be shallow.
- Roll your roller brush in the steak until the entire roller is covered with paint. Work it back and forth so your paint will be distributed evenly.
- Draw the roller back and forth over the stencil openings, pressing lightly at first. You can press more firmly as some of the paint is used up. Try to keep the brush as flat as possible.
- Build up the color slowly with more passes of the brush. If you are worried about making it too dark, lift up the corner of the stencil to check. When you are satisfied, you can gently lift the stencil away and let your paint dry. HINT: You can use a hair dryer to speed this process up.
- If you want to blend a second color into an interior portion of the stencil use the tip of the roller only being careful not to tear the foam. You can also add shading with a brush.
- HINT: When not using the roller, keep it in a ziploc bag to prevent drying out. This is especially true when using latex paint. If you still need to moisten the foam, you can roll it over a damp kitchen sponge or spritz it with a little water. Don’t let it get too wet or you will have bleeding with your paint.
This is just a basic overview of painting with a roller brush. When you purchase My Wonderful Wall stencils you will receive a lot of helpful hints and project ideas with your stencils and you can always check out our photo reviews and blog for ideas. If you have any helpful hints for using a roller brush to stencil feel free to leave them 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.