My Wonderful Walls Blog — Home Decor
7 Simple Steps to Raised Stenciling 0
If you want to create something completely different with your furniture or walls, you might consider raised stenciling. Instead of paint you will use plaster or vinyl spackling to create your design. The process is much the same as stenciling with paint but because plaster is so thick, you’ll want to practice your technique on a spare piece of wood or cardboard before stenciling your walls or furniture. Once you find the right process for your project, you’ll be ready to create your masterpiece.
1. Decide on the placement of your stencils. If using My Wonderful Walls Stencils, you will find they are self-adhesive, otherwise you’ll need tape or low-tack spray adhesive. Make sure your stencil is taut against the surface so no plaster or spackling seeps out underneath.
2. Stir your plaster well with a putty knife. You can choose to tint your plaster or spackle if you wish. Try a dye or toner like TransTint.
3. Keeping your knife at a 40-degree angle, run the plaster right over the stencil without going back and forth too many times. Doing this will ensure you aren’t accidentally causing bleeding.
4. When your design is fully covered, carefully lift away the stencil. If stenciling more than one area, move it to the next and repeat. If you see any imperfections in the plastered design, you can carefully fix by hand. If you just hate it or it’s not positioned right, you can wipe the plaster off quickly before it dries. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth, let it dry and try again.
5. You may need to clean the stencil off after a few uses as the plaster will stick more than paint. When entirely done stenciling, clean the stencil while plaster is still wet. This way you will be able to reuse it later (if it is a My Wonderful Walls stencil).
6. After your plaster or spackling dries, decide if you want to add any effects. You can paint over it with milk paint, for example or add a glaze. Distressing your design will give your piece of furniture an antique look. You can also sand down any high points and apply wax to highlight the stenciled design.
7. Another way to create an exciting look is to paint with the stencil first in a darker color, then adjusting the stencil a fraction of an inch, apply your plaster. This will create a drop shadow effect.
Using raised stenciling is a perfect way to create an interesting ceiling border, wall border, or update a plain piece of furniture. With these 7 simple steps you will be able to create a unique design in no time. Let us know in the comments what you would use raised stenciling for first.
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?
What Type of Paint Should I Use for My Stenciling Project? 0
When stenciling walls, we generally recommend using acrylic craft paints and or latex paints. But what about for all of your other stenciling projects? Here is a short list of different types of paint and their features and benefits.
Acrylic Craft Paints: Great for many applications, acrylic craft paints are what we sell on our site. They blend well, have a large variety of colors and are easy to clean up. They’re also not very expensive.
Stencil Cremes: Stencil crèmes are oil-based paints in a wax medium which won’t drip or run. When working with stencil crèmes, you must first remove the thin wax layer from the surface of the paint before loading your brush with color. Stencil crèmes blend together beautifully and create a soft, hand-painted feel.
Chalk Paints: Chalk paint has become very popular in recent years. It allows the do-it-yourself enthusiast the opportunity to paint, distress, stencil and possibly distress the stenciling using only one paint while decorating a piece of furniture.
Fabric Paints: Most fabric paints are thick and work well for stenciled application. Because most fabrics are very absorbent, you will need to offload more paint then with other projects. For more information on painting fabrics check out our blog post How to Stencil Fabrics.
Spray Paints: For some surfaces like plastic, spray paints can be used. They do require very good ventilation and you will need to mask the area around the stencil cut outs to make sure you don’t spread the color outside of the desired area. Spray paints can be very messy so they aren’t necessarily the most desirable choice.
Solid Oil Paints: You can purchase solid oil paints that look like crayons or that come in little pots in a craft or art store. The upside is they won’t bleed or spill because they are solid. They also blend and shade easily because they dry slowly. The downside to using solid oil paints is that you need to use a stencil brush rather than a roller or an airbrush which can make the process very slow.
Latex Paints: Great for large wall designs and all-over stencils, latex paint can be an economical choice. Latex paints dry quickly to the touch but can be slow to cure. This can cause problems when removing a stencil or tape which can peel little bits of the paint off with it. This can slow a project down as curing time is very variable depending on temperature and humidity.
These are the basic types of paint you may run into as you start planning your stenciling project. There are a large variety of additives, finishes and glazes that you may want to investigate as well depending on what you are stenciling. Having the right type of paint for your project ensures your success! Stay tuned for our next blog post regarding types of surfaces you can stencil.
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!