My Wonderful Walls Blog — Stenciling
How to Decorate Paper 0
With summer almost upon us, it’s the time for weddings, graduations, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and so many reasons to celebrate. If you’re looking for a unique way to show how much you care, you might want to make your own cards or wrapping paper for your loved one. Stencils are a perfect way to do this and there are a couple of ways to approach your project; painting or embossing. Either technique is a wonderful way to create something personal for anyone on your gift giving list or just to create something for you. Keep reading for some easy ideas on how to decorate paper.
One easy way to add some fun to paper is to emboss it. You can do this with a stencil, an embossing tool and a lighted work surface. For this technique, you’ll want a simple stencil, ideally one piece. Metal or mylar stencils of 7-mil thickness or more do well. Laser cut stencils are best because they will produce clean edges. Don’t have an embossing tool? Try a knitting needle. Don’t have a light table? Use a lamp set under a glass table. You’ll want good quality cardstock or medium weight paper but not too thick or darkly colored so that you can see the stencil through the paper when working.
To emboss your paper, attach the stencil to the paper with low tack tape. Turn the paper over and place it on your lighted surface. The stencil should be backlit through the paper. Using the larger end of your embossing tool or knitting needle, trace the inside edge of the design. Make sure to press hard enough to make an impression but not tear the paper. Now use the smaller end of the tool to trace again, this time press a little harder but again be careful not to tear the paper.
Remove the stencil and turn the paper over to see the finished impression. This is great for the corner of a note card, personal stationary or a border around notepaper. You can also choose to stencil paint your embossed image by stenciling the paint first then embossing.
To create gorgeous cards or wrapping paper, try using a stencil brush and blank tissue paper or cardstock. The lighter the paper, the lighter touch you should use. Fabric paint can be an excellent choice for stenciling paper, as it will go on smoothly and blend well. Oil paint also works great on paper because it contains no water.
To paint your paper, use low tack tape to attach your stencil to the paper. With very flimsy paper, you’ll want to hold your stencil by hand. Any paper can be stencil painted but you’ll want to make sure excess paint is offloaded and a gentle touch is applied. With heavier paper, you don’t need to be as concerned with excess offloading. You can also layer more prints and add in free form stenciling if you wish.
To make a set of cards with less hassle, stencil some free form motifs on loose paper, then cut out and frame them into cards with small cutout windows. This way, you’re not wasting expensive cardstock while you figure out how best to design your card.
For larger motifs you can use a roller brush instead. This will even work for tissue or wrapping paper but with tissue paper, make sure to offload plenty of paint or it may pass through to your work surface.
For heavier paper and a roller, you may want to use spray adhesive to keep your stencil in place. If there is any residue left over, use an art eraser to remove it.
These are some quick and easy ways to decorate paper and cards with stencils. Who wouldn’t like a card made by hand on their special day? If you’ve ever tried stenciling paper, let us know how it worked out in the comments below.
How to Stencil Any Surface 0
We talk a lot about stenciling walls here but our self-adhesive stencils are great for so much more! We’ve had customers use them on ceilings, floors, furniture, mirrors, crafts, etc. But if you’re going to use our stencils on something out of the ordinary, it’s best to know what makes a good stenciling surface and how best to get your surface ready. Keep reading below for some tips on different surfaces you can stencil.
- Wood: For best results, if finished, sand smooth first and remove dust with a damp cloth. If unfinished you can skip this step.
- Stone: Sand with a fine grit sanding block and remove dust with a damp cloth. If surface is uneven, make sure to use extra spray adhesive if necessary to adhere the stencil to the stone completely.
- Tin/Metal: If dirty, wash with warm soapy water and allow to dry. Wipe the surface with a cloth dampened with white vinegar or rubbing alcohol and allow to dry. There are some stencil paints available strictly for painting metal you may want to check out.
- Paper Mache: Wipe clean with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove dust. Let it dry.
- Glass/Ceramics: For best results, wash well with soapy water then allow to dry. Wipe surface with rubbing alcohol damped cloth or vinegar/water solution. Let dry completely before stenciling.
- Canvas: Wipe canvas clean with dampened cloth to remove dust before applying stencil.
- Terra Cotta: Wipe the surface clean with dampened cloth or paper towel. Seal interior of terra cotta flower pot with clear acrylic sealer.
- Fabric: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions from the fabric paint that you choose. If not using fabric paint, wash in soapy water. Do not use dryer sheet or fabric softener. Allow to dry and iron to remove wrinkles if needed, without using spray starch. See our blog post on Stenciling Fabrics for more information.
What other surfaces can you think of that you might like to stencil? With our easy to use stencils, the sky is the limit! If you’ve created something unique using one of our stencils please send us a pic at email@example.com! We’d love to see your masterpiece.
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 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!