What Type of Paint Should I Use for My Stenciling Project?



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.

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  • Tara Woodbury
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