I’ve been planning wall stencil projects ever since we moved into this house; but these projects were not priority and didn’t climb to the top of my “to do” list. Last fall I discovered that Papa enjoys to paint, so I enlisted his help during March to start and complete this project. He was a bit apprehensive, but was an easy apprentice. The end result is exactly what I’d hoped for on this wall.
Skill Level: Easy
Cost: approximately $10 to $20
Time Required: 10 hours (done over a span of two weeks)
- wall stencil
- masking tape
- variety of paint brushes
- lids or paint palette
- cup of water for cleaning brushes
- paper towels or rags
- bright lamp
Wall stencils vary in prices and are available at most craft stores. The best time to buy them is on sale. This design was $2 on clearance 4 years ago. Though designed for a switchplate (straight design sold out in this pattern), I modified this to complete 8 feet of wall space. The modification worked out very well.
For this project, we tried out Masterson’s Sta-Wet Handy Palette, also sold at most craft stores. Price not known since I received it as a gift. It worked quite well with regular bottle acrylic paint. The sponge might have been too wet for the tube acrylic paint, which got too thin after staying overnight in the palette. I’ll try the tube paint in this again for another project. Now, 5 weeks later, the excess paint remains moist. In general, there is less wasted bottle paint while using this palette.
This stencil did not use a lot of paint. It also used only five colors, which kept the project relatively simple. However, it’s important to have enough of your paint color selection to finish your project.
1. Clean wall surface first. Allow surface to dry completely before beginning to paint. Lay out design and spacing before starting to paint. Once satisfied with design and spacing plans, then use masking tape to tape stencil to the wall. To achieve a straight line with the stencil for this project, I reversed the stencil to lay it flat against the wall for every turn. (Figure 1, 2 and 3) It helped Papa to rotate the color pattern as a guide while painting.
2. Start with a wet brush dabbed slightly dry with a rag. The stencil instructions recommend painting from lightest color to darkest color. Generally, we followed this guideline. Always clean brush before switching colors unless you want a color blended effect. Use paint carefully to avoid applying excess paint to the stencil. Papa completed all of one color in one section, moved on to the next color, and so on until the whole section was completed. Where colors overlapped, we allowed for drying time before applying a different color. When done with one section, remove stencil from wall and clean up any bleeding spots if necessary. A damp rag easily removed unwanted paint. (Figure 4, 5, and 6)
3. While paint is wet and moving onward, work with accurately measured pencil marked gaps if paint is not dry from previous section. (Refer again to Figure 2 and 3 above.) Tape next stencil to wall and continue painting as above. Repeat process until your project is completed.
4. Apply special color highlights sparingly to achieve depth in your design. Depending upon your design, it may not be necessary to use the stencil while applying the highlights. (Figure 7) Also, don’t worry about how this appears close up. It is meant to be viewed from a distance of one foot or more where imperfections will not be noticeably obvious.
Here are some photos showing stencil progress and completed project in sections due to it’s length.