Stenciling 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 liking.  
Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials:
1) The stencil.
2) Masking tape and/or adhesive spray to hold the stencil.
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, 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. 
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

1) Begin the border in the most visible corner. Work in both directions, right and left. Plan to join the border in the least visible corner or up against a door or window frame.
2) In the corners, bend the stencil as close to the wall as possible. Use a light brush stroke to apply the paint (do not dab). 
3) Use the registration marks (►) to repeat the pattern. And make sure you mark a guideline around the room to keep the border straight.

1) All stencils sold in multiple overlays are marked with numbers (1,2,3, etc.) and registration marks (►). Follow this number sequence when stenciling, and use the registration marks to correctly position the overlays.
2) When stenciling multiple overlays, completely finish the first overlay. This allows the paint to dry before starting the second overlay. 
3) When using multiple overlays, experiment with different color combinations. The effects can be extraordinary!

Please note that stencils designed for covering walls and other large areas have repeating pattern for vertical and horizontal repeats (shown in green colors below). These marks make it easier to create a seamless wall covering. 

The middle section can be "stacked" to the desired height using the top and bottom registration marks (►). These marks also match up with the registration marks on the bottom and top column stencils, as well as with additional overlays. If you ordered a multiple overlay column stencil, start with #1.