Inside: See how easy it is to stencil a wall. An easy and cheaper alternative to wallpaper while still adding the same character and beauty.
When you think of wallpaper what images are drummed up in your head?
For me, it’s ugly turquoise and teal flowers that we had to peel, pull and pry off of the walls in our current 1973 house. Or the 80s retro, lions, tigers, and bears “oh my,” animal wallpaper that was hidden under a slightly less hideous layer of wallpaper in my brother’s room growing up.
No wonder he had nightmares!
Although there are different ways of applying wallpaper now making it easier to work with, and endless beautiful designs I wanted something cheap, fast, and easy to change if myself or a future homeowner decided to nix it someday.
As part of our master bedroom makeover, I considered many options and landed on doing a stencil vs wallpaper. Here are some before and after pics.
After adding a closet, window trim, a new fan, new shades, new linens, new carpet, and the stencil here is where the room currently stands. Since I used light colors the stencil can be a little difficult to see in this pic.
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Check out this other stenciled wall: DIY Brick Stenciled Wall
Why Use a Stencil
Here are several reasons to use a stencil:
- Thousands of designs to choose from
- Customize your own mix of colors
- Easy to use
- Easy to fix if you make a mistake
- Easy to fix if you get tired of it (for the noncommittal type 😉 )
- Versatile – use on walls, for wall art, fabric, furniture, etc
Where to Buy Stencils
You can purchase stencils from several places. Here are several to get your going:
- Cutting Edge Stencils
- Royal Design Studios
- Craft stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Joann
- Make your own – Cut stencils using cutting machines like a Silhouette or a Cricut, make your own using materials such as foam board, sponges, a potato (yes I did that with this recycled wall canvas), and other unique items
Working with Stencils
Stencils for the most part are easy to use and work with. Depending on the specific stencil you may have some difficulties with corners and edges. Some stencil companies include a trim stencil in your order for working around ceilings and baseboards. The stencil may also have marks for lining up the next stencil, and some stencils are made to bend into corners. For non wall or smaller stencils (which you can still use on a wall) will take more planning for keeping your stencils aligned as they don’t have the hash marks and added foolproof tools. Plan for your stencil layout and keep in mind you may have to cut the stencil to make it work in small tight areas.
Here are some tips when stenciling:
- Start with the center and work your way in the direction that makes sense from there either up, down, left, or right.
- Use a level so your stencils are straight.
- Blot off excess paint with a paper towel to bleeding and smudge marks under the stencil.
Let’s get started with stenciling your wall!
TOOLS FOR DIY WALL STENCILING
- Measuring tape
- Rustic Herringbone Wall Stencil– from Cutting Edge Stencils.
- Foam roller or paintbrush
- Paint tray
- Small paintbrush for touch up
SUPPLIES FOR DIY WALL STENCILING
- Background paint – I used Seaside Villa from Behr
- Stencil paint- I used Ceiling Bright White from Sherwin Williams
- Piece of cardboard to practice stencil
- Painter’s tape or Frog Tape
- Paper towels
STEPS FOR DIY WALL STENCILING
Step 1) Test and practice your stencil. Use a piece of cardboard and paint your background color. Once it is dry apply the stencil and paint your stencil color with the foam roller. This allows you to practice with the stencil and make sure you like the color combination.
Step 2) Paint your stencil on the wall. At this point, your wall should be painted with the background color so you are ready to work with your stencil. First, find center on the wall you are stenciling. Then start at the ceiling. You want to be able to complete a full column of stenciling without any interruption for your first column. Attach the level to the stencil and adjust the stencil so it’s straight. Tape the stencil in place with the painter’s tape. Add paint to the roller and blot the excess on a paper towel. Roll the paint on the stencil.
On this specific stencil, there are places on the stencil for you to line up to reposition to do the next stencil. Line up the next section and repeat. You will continue doing this until you have covered the wall. I had to replace the painter’s tape every few times I moved the stencil so it would hold it in place better.
Some progress pics.
Certain areas for consideration
For the ceilings use the trim stencil. Unfortunately, the trim stencil did not go all the way to the ceiling so there was a small gap.
I painted the gaps in by hand with a small paintbrush. Sometimes I used the straight edge of the trim stencil to paint in some of the lines.
For stenciling at the bottom allow the stencil to fold on the floor. Paint in any areas difficult to get to with the roller with a small paintbrush. Add painter’s tape to protect your baseboards.
In the corners line the stencil up and fold it into the corner.
I found this particularly difficult depending on where the fold in the stencil occurred, but I managed and did end up painting in some by hand in the corners. If you have a more detailed stencil doing it by hand could be challenging. Also you could cut the stencil if needed if the corners are difficult. Just make sure you won’t need the stencil for another section later.
It was a very subtle stencil and color scheme, but I was happy with the results. It was just enough to give it a fresh calming look.
I hope this has helped you with quick, easy and budget friendly room update ideas.