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   BASIC STENCIL TIPS

 

  TECHNIQUES & MORE

BASIC STENCIL TIPS

Welcome to the fun and exciting world of stenciling. It offers you the opportunity to create something truly unique that reflects your specific style and likings.  Before you get started, consider these general tips:
Concentrate on one or two design themes.
Create design rhythm by repeating designs.
Be imaginative and a little daring in choosing color combinations.
 
TOOLS
Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials:
1) The stencil.
2) Masking tape and/or adhesive spray to hold the stencil (click here to purchase)
3) Paint and painting cups. If you plan to work with several colors, decide on a harmonious combination. Try mixing colors and use a different brush for each color. Acrylics (water-soluble) are most commonly used (click here to purchase), but you can stencil with most paints (creme, latex, oils, spray, etc.)
4) Stencil brush (use a large brush or mini roller to cover a large area), sponge, as well as a fine brush. Click here to purchase.
5) Paper towels, newspaper and a practice board.
6) Level or measuring tape, and a pencil.
7) Scissors or knife in case you need to trim the stencil.

 
WALL SURFACE & PREPARATION
Walls should be clean and painted in a flat or satin finish. High gloss or metallic surfaces may need to lightly sanded to ensure the paint will “grip”, unless you stencil with a similar
paint. Prime all non-painted or un-treated surfaces.

Carefully choose an appropriate base wall finish with your stencil design since it directly impacts the overall final appearance.

Below, please note how different the same stencil color looks on a light vs. dark background.
 
 
Light brown wall   Dark brown wall

In addition to one-colored walls, consider using a faux base to stencil on for added visual interest. Click here for more on special wall surfaces.

 
STARTING A JOB
For better results, follow these easy steps:
1) Before you start, practice on a board or paper to determine the amount of paint to use and how to apply it.
2) Affix the stencil with drafting tape (low-tack masking tape) or repositionable adhesive spray. The spray is faster to work with and minimize paint from leaking in behind the stencil.
3) Use a level or measuring tape to ensure the stencil pattern is positioned correctly.
4) In corners or narrow spaces, cut or fold the stencil as needed to make sure it will fit in the desired position.
 
BASIC TIPS
1) Load the brush or roller with paint, but remove any excess. The brush should be “dry” to the touch (minimal amount of paint) for better control.
2) Hold the brush as a pencil and paint on a circular or tapping motion. Try to move along the cut of the stencil versus across the cut (this helps minimize the risk of paint leaking in behind the stencil).
3) Use masking tape or repositionable adhesive spray to hold the stencil in place. Also, try to place one hand on the stencil, while stenciling, to avoid any slippage.
4) If paint builds up around the stencil cuts, wipe it dry or clean the stencil before continuing.
 
PROTECTING YOUR WORK
Consider applying a clear matte or clear satin sealer or a coat of polyurethane (non-yellowing type) to both protect the design work as well as enable it to be washed.
 
CLEANING AND STORING YOUR STENCILS
If a stencil is “closing up” as a result of drying paint, carefully clean it by using a scrub sponge (it may tear if you rub too hard) with warm water and dish soap. Clean brushes with warm water and let air dry. Use paint thinner to clean oil-based paint. Store all stencils in a flat position.
 
STENCILING ON OTHER SURFACES
You can stencil on almost any type of surface, as long as you use the right medium. For fabric, mix fabric medium with the paint and iron the stenciled surface. For wood, stencil with stain or paint, then apply 2-3 coats of polyurethane.