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How to Paint Wall Stencils

published on April 20, 2012

Many prospective homebuyers, when conducting an Austin home search, balk when dated wall paper appears in a house. Home décor has been a fickle friend to wallpaper, showcasing it throughout homes in the 70’s, ripping it down again in the 90’s, and now lauding modern and elegant interpretations of prints, including wallpaper’s popular cousin: stenciling. Wall stencils look like large scale paper prints, but are actually carefully applied paint patterns that can be applied in large patterns or single elements. Stencils are ideal for a popping accent wall in a Barton Creek dining room or a tranquil master suite design in Legend Oaks.

While patterned walls can be time consuming to apply, the process for any stencil is fairly simple, and can be undertaken in a few steps:

1. Just like painting a room a solid color, prep it in advance with drop cloths on the floor and furniture and painter’s tape around edges, window frames, and dust boards to prevent paint from splashing.

2. Use a craft stencil adhesive spray on the side of the stencil that will be placed against the wall to prevent bending or gapping away from the wall while you work.

3. Fix the stencil to the wall and secure with painter’s tape on each side before starting.

4. Foam brushes with flat tips can be purchased at craft stores to make dabbing paint into the stencil’s negative space easy. Dab the brush lightly into the selected paint color and apply to the wall in the stencil. Glops and heavy paint will drip or create noticeable texture so be sure to apply the color lightly. It’s easy to go back and add more paint, but difficult to take it away once it’s on the wall.

5. When finished with one section and ready to move on, be sure to wipe any dripped or excess paint off the back of the stencil before reapplying it to the next section of the wall. Re-spray it with craft adhesive as necessary.

6. To tackle stenciling in a corner, be sure you are using a stencil with some flexibility, like a stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils, so it can be pushed flat against the wall while bent.

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