You Will Stencil Like a Superstar If You Follow These 7 Tips

Actions

Stencils are a ridiculously easy way to add hand-crafted style to any boring surfaces in your house —  walls , ceilings, floors, furniture, fabric , mirrors, you name it.

Plus there's something so satisfying about the process of creating a design just once and then replicating it over and over and over again.

Just be sure to take your time (this is hugely important!) and follow the tips here to become a stencil master.

1. Pick the right stencil material

You want something thin but sturdy that can hold up to pigment. Plastics like Mylar and acetate are great choices because they're inexpensive and easy to cut with an X-Acto knife or scissors. They're also easy to wipe down once you're done painting. 

2. Stock up on supplies

You don't need a lot of fancy tools for stenciling, but having the right equipment will make your life easier. 

  • Stencil brushes Your most essential tools. There are two basic types, flat-tipped (all one length) and domed (slightly tapered near the ends). 
  • Painter's tape To help keep your stencil in place. You do not want that thing to move.
  • Paper towel You'll use this to get rid of excess paint. Stencils have a zero-tolerance drip policy.
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint palette

3. Play around with position first

Figure out where you want your stencil to be and tape it in place so it won't move as you work. Don't be afraid to adjust the position of the stencil as many times as you need to before you start painting. Once you've gotten started, it's too late!

4. Don't use too much paint 

At its core, stenciling is a dry brush technique. After you dip your brush into paint, always dab it on a paper towel or rag to remove any excess. 

5. Use a combination of dabs and strokes

When applying paint in the middle of the stencil, dab it on — this is is more effective than stroking. Along the edges of the stencils, though, you want to make light, quick strokes to prevent paint from bleeding. 

6. Angle your brush in along the edges

As you work along the edges, always angle your brush in toward the middle of the stencil to prevent bleeding. 

7. Clean that stencil up!

Plastic stencils are great for multiple uses — as long as you clean them when you're done. Soap and water does the trick.

Become a member for exclusive access to endless creative inspiration.
NEXT FOR YOU
Create elegant motifs, whimsical shapes and a rustic woodgrain pattern using stencils. With Dawn's guidance, you'll see how to uniquely embellish your cakes with simple handmade paper stencils. Then, get tips on how to work with store-bought stencils for a clean, professional look.
Get creative with a variety of stencil types, using ink pads, pens, stamps and spray ink to create unique cards. Kimber shares her techniques for using different inks and embellishing stencils for a custom look you'll love.
Create charming monogrammed plaques and medallions as you apply dusts or royal icing to a stencil and learn to scale this method for use on a large project. Discover how softened fondant can give you a perfect color match and where to go to have custom stencils created.
Now Reading
You Will Stencil Like a Superstar If You Follow These 7 Tips