Using Faux Fresco Stencils

Decide on your color scheme. We love the traditional blue color as used on the original Livia's Garden Fresco, but have done these Faux Frescoes in warm gold tones with equal success (see gallery photos). We first apply a coat of plaster to the walls, keeping the texture to a minimum, and let it dry fully. Next, we mix the overall glaze. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for tinting the glaze. Apply the glaze to your plastered wall with a whiz roller and mottle with a rag. Don't make it too even. You want light and dark contrast. Also, make the very bottom area 20 percent darker. This will help to make your groundcover plants stand out. Let the glaze dry completely and now you're ready to start stenciling. If you don't want to do the glazed plaster background you can create a simple sponged finish or even stencil over straight paint.  
And now, the fun begins! Decide where your hanging branches and trees are going, and stencil them in using shades of brown. Next, using our leafy branch stencils, add leaves to the trees. Finally add fruit to the tree. Don't get carried away with fruit, otherwise your tree will look more like a Christmas tree packed with ornaments. Overlap some fruit with leaves to create a more natural look. Add bright highlights using the Leaflet stencil on top of the leaves. Now pack the ground with Groundcovers and Wildflowers, overlapping and shifting colors. Remember to keep elements in the background more faded than the ones in the foreground.
Lightly sand and distress the surface to reveal some plaster texture. Faux frescoes look great with a diluted antiquing glaze and spatter as a finishing touch.


  • Have reference available for inspiration. Google Livia's Garden Fresco, check out Roman Fresco books, and our own gallery here on CuttingEdgeStencils.
  • Test the absorbency of your plaster by applying a little glaze in the corner. If it dries too quickly you may need to clear coat the plaster or wipe the surface with a damp sponge before glazing to "give a plaster a drink". You can also use a spray bottle to lightly mist the plaster surface.
  • When shading, decide on the direction of your light source and shade all elements consistently on one side. (Example: if the sun is coming from the left of your mural, all elements get shaded darker on a right side and lighter on a left side).
  • Don't be shy to throw in few hand painted elements such as blades of grass, and a few veins in leaves here and there, whatever detail you're comfortable hand painting.
  • Use fine sandpaper in your distressing to avoid scratches.


  • Fresco Stencils
  • Sample board
  • Plaster, trowels, knives
  • Latex and acrylic paints,  glaze
  • Dense foam roller with rounded ends for stenciling larger elements
  • Whizz roller for glaze application
  • Sponge, spray bottle
  • Stencil brushes, artist brushes
  • Paint trays or large styrofoam plates
  • Low tack painter's tape
  • Paper towels or rags
  • Fine grit sandpaper

PDF Printable Instructions


Click to view or right-click (control-click on a MAC) to download the PDF file. In order to view and print the instructions you will need Acrobat Reader. Click on the GET ACROBAT READER BUTTON in order to download it.

Our phone#