My Wonderful Walls Blog — nursery decor
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.
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.
How to Accessorize an Under the Sea Kids Room 3
Many of our customers create a unique room mural with My Wonderful Walls Under the Sea Wall Stickers or stencils but to really pull a room together, you may want to add some cute ocean themed accessories. There’s no need to spend a fortune to have a well decorated kids room or nursery. Here are five of our favorite DIY nautical and beach themed décor ideas from around the web for any Under the Sea themed kids room:
- You’ll have a whale of a time creating this beautiful painted whale dresser for your baby nursery or kid’s bedroom. DecoArt gives you step by step instructions and a list of supplies with downloadable pdfs of the whale art so even the most novice DIYer can do it!
- Use what nature gave us and create this Driftwood Seahorse from Creative in Chicago. If you don’t live close to the beach, this one may be a little tough but we’ve also seen similar created with wine corks.
- Heather at Chickabug made this Starfish Salt Dough Garland for the holidays but you could adorn a window or a wall with it as well.
- Not quite ready to take the plunge and get that pet fish? Create this Mini Mason Jar Aquarium with your kiddos and give them the faux version.
- Add something magical with this DIY Bubble Chandelier from Martha Stewart. You could do this with all clear balls or mix it up with tones of greens and blues. This may be something you hang out of reach or only do for an older child.
With a few made with love accents, you can give your child an ocean themed bedroom that will be unique from any other. If you’ve created any of your own Under the Sea décor, we’d love to see it! Feel free to email it to us at email@example.com or post a comment telling us about what you did.
Parents "To Be" Create Whimsical Forest Room for Baby McKenzie 2
Parents "to be" Charles and Genevieve Foxworthy knew without a shadow of a doubt, they were looking for a fox and forest themed room for their new baby girl on the way, McKenzie. Well, once they saw our site: mywonderfulwalls.com, they looked no further! Though we also sell sticker versions of our stencil kits, the Foxworthy's went the stencil route creating a beautiful and whimsical space for their new baby girl. Read the interview we had with Charles below to hear about their nursery decorating journey:
My Wonderful Walls: What gave you the idea and inspiration for such a creative nursery project?
Charles: We have always loved foxes and thought what better way to decorate a baby girls room then to litter it with fox and forest imagery. It is also a part of our family crest which help solidify the center piece of the fox.
MWW: For whom is this Forest Themed mural intended?
Charles: The mural is going to be for my yet to be born daughter McKenzie Marie.
MWW: What made you choose this theme and what made this mural a good fit for your project?
Charles: I picked out the Forest Friends kit, mainly we did this because it had a fox in it and we have always loved foxes.
MWW: What do you think your child's reaction will be to the wall mural when she first sees it?
Charles: Well, once I finished the project I brought my pregnant wife in the room and unborn baby McKenzie kicked her, so we think she’s pretty excited to live in there.
MWW: About how long did it take you to complete the project?
Charles: I think total it took me about 6-8 hours spread out over 3 days. Progress was slow going at first while I was figuring out the best way to use the stencils on the textured wall, but after that, when I started lining up multiple stencils that used the same colors, and I had about 5 brushes with different colors going at once, things sped up considerably.
MWW: What did you enjoy most about the your mural creation experience?
Charles: The best part about the creation of the mural was probably painting those foxes they are just so darn cute and I wanted to cuddle with them.
MWW: Did you add any personal touches to the mural/room other than what came with the kit? If so, what gave you the inspiration?
Charles: Being a woodworker, I made a heart that says, "Love" out of Purple Heart, Mahogany, and Koa. It was a blast to make as well and she will be able to put it up in her kid’s room one day. I also sew and make quilts as well as some other crafts, mainly learned from my mom.
MWW: Do you have a favorite piece or favorite scene you created? If so, please describe.
Charles: Yes, the pink shell’d turtle going to eat the mushrooms reminds me of Mario Brothers.
MWW: Do you have any helpful tips for people who use our stencil products?
Charles: I have some very helpful advice, first have a plan. Put as many stencils on the wall as possible. Then pick color to pain that is shared by most of the stencils you plan to paint. Then paint all the stencils with that color by the time you finish the first coat on all the stencils the first stencil should be ready for a second coat. And repeat the process. Also, don’t try to paint in strokes, dab the paint on, and put as little paint as possible on your brush. This will help prevent bleeding on a textured wall.
Charles: The only resource I used was the how to video on the Forest Friends main page. I also read the instructions that came with the kit. I found both resources pretty useful. It definitely helps to plan the mural out since the more pieces you can paint at once the faster it goes. And the instructional video helped with the technique for painting the stencils.
MWW: Tell us your overall experience with the stencil kit and with the My Wonderful Walls folks in general.
Charles: Everyone was very, very helpful. There was a little issue where McKenzie’s name was missing a capital 'K' and I let them know. They sent out 2 corrected name tags with the correct spelling immediately and I got it like 2 days later. Best customer service ever. <(Aww, thanks, Charles!)
MWW: What else would you like us to know about you and your project?—parents are important too!
Charles: Really, I just like to be unique and this project allowed me to make my daughter's room one-of-a-kind. There is no one on this planet who will have the same layout or room as her. I feel that this room is something special I can give to her even as a baby. I know she will grow to appreciate it, love it, and make it her own. I’m glad I also put up my little wood working heart of "Love" in there as well, since it will be something that can be remembered forever.
Well, I'd say baby McKenzie is in for a real treat! A unique forest room that will grow with her for years to come. Thank you Charles and Gen for sharing your experience and beautiful photos with us!
Calming lilac colored walls compliment room and stencil colors while creating a dreamy sense of wonder. See Charles' handmade "Love" plaque above the bed - perfect!
McKenzie's bi-plane stencil flying high over mirrored closet doors - cute!
Cuddly, plush foxes sit on McKenzie's dresser in the pic below, patiently awaiting her arrival. Also, don't miss the adorable matching deer tote in the corner! - super cute!!