Decorative Paint Technique with Wall Stenciling

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Step 1: Prep the Walls

Prepare the walls for painting; apply the base coat and let dry.

One way to modernize stenciling is to start with a decorative finish. To create the same look we did here, follow the  instructions to start this project. Or, choose another decorative finish as your starting point.

Protect the work area by spraying the adhesive onto the back of the first layer of the stencil against a drop cloth or poster board. Spray adhesive is like tape; it holds the stencil in place, but allows it to peel off easily when done. Put the stencil in the desired position on the wall.

Step 2: Apply the First Layer of Paint

Less paint is more in stenciling, so barely graze the top of the brush over the surface of the yellow paint (artist acrylic provides more coverage than regular paint), and brush off the excess onto a rag. The small amount of paint, along with a dabbing motion around the edges, helps alleviate bleeding underneath the stencil.

Step 3: Repeat the Process

There’s no need to wait for the paint to dry when done; just peel the stencil off carefully. If no paint has seeped underneath, position the stencil elsewhere on the wall and repeat the process. The spray adhesive should stick for two or three uses. Wash both sides of the stencil every few uses to remove paint/adhesive, and dry thoroughly. Repeat until done, and let paint dry thoroughly.

Step 4: Apply the Second Layer of Paint

For layered stencils, it’s critical to line up the pattern perfectly. Use cosmetic wedges to add red for the next layer of color. The wedges provide more control of the paint in small areas. Let dry thoroughly.