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HOW TO STENCIL LIKE A PRO: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE

Mastering the art of stenciling opens the door to unleashing your inner artist and infusing any surface—be it walls, floors, furniture, wood, metal, paper, or fabric—with a distinctive handmade touch.

Stenciling is not only enjoyable but also remarkably simple, offering a gratifying outlet for your creativity. Handcrafted pieces possess a certain allure and authenticity that mass-produced items simply can't replicate. And let's not forget the practical side: stencils are a budget-conscious choice. By caring for high-quality mylar stencils, you can use them repeatedly, unlocking endless design possibilities without breaking the bank.

Here's a tip: Embrace your artistic instincts while silencing your inner critic. Embrace the beauty of imperfections inherent in hand-painted finishes. Tiny flaws add character and charm, enriching the overall aesthetic. Remember, our eyes perceive patterns and motifs, not individual imperfections. So, dive into stenciling with confidence and let your creativity flourish!


TOOLS + SUPPLIES

  • Application tool: brush, dabber, sponge, or roller.

  • Adhesive: Painter's tape or Spray Adhesive.

  • Paint: Acrylic ( matte), chalk paint, stencil creme.

  • Paint Tray: to hold paint or blend and create custom colors.

  • Paper towel or Rags: To offload the paint before stenciling.

  • Ruler/Tape measure: Measure and align the artwork.

  • Stabilizer ( optional): Dowel, Pencil, or any stick-like tool.

  • Stencils: If you need a stencil, we have tons of awesome designs! Our wall stencils and mandala stencils are some of the most popular. Consider this: while stenciling is a versatile technique applicable to numerous surfaces, it's essential to note that rough or heavily textured surfaces may pose a challenge. Due to the inability of the stencil to lay flat on such surfaces, paint may bleed underneath areas where there isn't proper contact. To ensure optimal results, it's imperative to prepare your surface adequately. For rough textured wood, sanding it down is advisable, while for surfaces with loose or cracked paint, scraping and sanding are essential preliminary steps. Remember, the smoother the surface, the more successful your stenciling endeavor will be.

PREP THE SURFACE BEFORE YOU START

Consistency is key!

Skipping surface preparation is akin to constructing a house on shifting sands – a recipe for disappointment. Stenciling over an unprepared canvas (riddled with dirt, dust, oil, or old paint) sets the stage for your hard work to flake or peel away.

Take a moment to ensure your surface is primed for success. A simple wipe-down with a cleaning solution to eliminate loose paint, dirt, or oil is all it takes to bolster paint adhesion – no need for pricey specialized cleaners. For most hard surfaces, a gentle soap and water mixture will suffice. Should you require a deeper clean, we've curated two non-toxic recipes utilizing household staples for your convenience. Prepare your canvas with care, and watch your stenciled creations flourish!



Simple Cleaning Solution

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 cup vinegar


Mix water and vinegar, that’s it! These are simple mixtures you can use to wipe down walls, furniture, floors without having to rinse. Wipe and go.



Deep Cleaning Solution

  • 1 cup of water

  • ½ cup of vinegar

  • 1-2 tsp Borax

Wood: Use medium-fine grit sandpaper to smooth and create a good base. Wash with cleaning solution and let dry. Metal: Wash with a cleaning solution and let dry. For a metal with rust, give it a good scrub with vinegar and baking soda to remove any loose bits. Wash with cleaning solution and let dry. Walls + Furniture: Remove loose or cracked paint by lightly scraping or sanding the surface. Wash with cleaning solution and let dry.** Sanding will take the finish off previously painted surface. These are excellent steps to take before priming and painting. Fabric: Wash and dry fabric. Skip the fabric softener because it creates a barrier between the material and paint. Glass/Ceramics: Wash with a cleaning solution and let dry.

HOW TO STENCIL WITHOUT BLEED


Learning how to stencil without bleed is the key to a crisp edge. Don’t go slapping the paint around willy-nilly. There are a few tips and tricks to get successful results each time.



Ready? Tip 1: Stabilize the stencil To keep your stencil in place while painting, use painter's tape or spray adhesive. Spray adhesive is best as it ensures the stencil won't move and prevents paint from bleeding underneath. Lightly spray the back of the stencil and press it onto the surface.

After using spray adhesive, wipe off any residue with a damp paper towel or one of the cleaning solutions you used earlier. It's tough to remove all the adhesive, but don't worry, leftover residue won't harm the stencil. Once cleaned, store the stencil on wax or parchment paper for safekeeping.

When using painter's tape, make sure to tape down all sides, including corners, if possible. To keep the stencil from lifting while painting, use a dowel or the end of a pencil to hold it down in the painting area. These steps apply whether you're stenciling on wood or any other surface. Keeping your stencil clean is essential for its longevity. Tip 2: Offload and work in layers


If there were a golden rule for how to stencil, this would be it - offload the paint. Every dip in the paint. Every time.


Offloading means removing the excess paint from the applicator onto a paper towel or rag. The brush should be almost dry to the touch. A little paint goes a long way.


This method is called dry brushing.


The trick is to use a dry brush (or roller) and work in layers. Slowly building up the color will result is a clean and professional finish.


*Tools: stipple brush, dabber, sponge, or roller. Tip 3: Tap tap tap that paint



Apply paint at the edges of the stencil and work towards the center with a light up-and-down motion ( tap tap tap). Avoid using a side-to-side movement or pressing too firm; this will cause bleed.



Naturally, if you are using a foam roller, you won’t use an up-and-down motion. But you still want to start from the edges of the stencil and work towards the middle.



*Tools: stipple brush, dabber, sponge. Tip 4: Patience



The finish is exciting. You want to peek and see, but trust me, don’t. Wait a few minutes for the paint to dry, then lift the stencil. Wet paint around the edge of the stencil can bleed or drip when lifting the stencil off the surface. It’s worth the extra few seconds to be patient. TOUCH UP

No worries if you notice a small imperfection after lifting the stencil—easy fix!

Simply grab a small paintbrush and touch up the area with the base color. It's a quick touch-up that'll blend right in, and no one will even notice the difference! STENCIL TIP - MEND THOSE BRIDGES

Bridges are the connectors (tabs) that hold the stencil together and give it strength. Without bridges, the graphic would be one big outline with no detail.


*This design is from our floor tile stencils collection, they're great for DIY projects.

Some people like the bridged look and others don’t. It’s really up to you. Lettering or sayings sometimes read easier without the bridges.After you have finished painting the stencil, grab a brush and fill in the gaps ( bridges), and Voila!




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