My Wonderful Walls Blog — Stencils
How to Stencil a Floor 1
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 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.
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 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!