Wall Pattern Stenciling Instructions

HERE'S WHAT YOU'LL NEED

  1. Wall Pattern Stencil Kit
  2. Sample board (poster board, cardboard etc)
  3. Latex or acrylic paints, including basecoat paint
  4. Dense foam roller with rounded ends, stencil brushes
  5. Regular nap roller and sash brush for basecoating
  6. Paint tray and large styrofoam plates
  7. Low tack painter's tape, spray adhesive (optional)
  8. Cutting Edge Stencil Level (optional)
  9. Paper towels or rag, cleaning tools & liquid soap
  10. Step ladder


GETTING STARTED
Very important: Work out your technique and color combinations with a sample first. It is always a good idea to make a sample. Use a wall in the garage, a piece of cardboard, or even an old pizza box as your sample surface. Make sure you like your color combinations and are comfortable with your stenciling technique before hitting the real wall!

Make sure your walls are clean, dust free and in good condition. Any cracks or chips should be repaired, filled, primed and painted prior to stenciling. Basecoat your surface in your desired latex flat color. You'll need at least 2 coats of basecoat for good coverage. Your base coat should be fully dried for at least 24 hours prior to stenciling.

Position Stencil #1 from your Kit on the wall and tape it to the surface with a few pieces of low tack blue painters tape. Do not use regular white masking tape because it's way too sticky for most painted surfaces and will likely pull off the base paint when you remove your stencil. You can also use a spray adhesive to achieve even cleaner and crisper edges. Don't worry about perfect placement. Our wall pattern kits are designed in such a way so placement by eye produces great results. Just randomly place your first stencil, make sure it's level (if needed) and let's go!

Now pour some acrylic or latex paint onto a foam plate. You don't need much, about 2-3 tablespoons of paint is enough to start with. Have your dense foam roller (or stencil brush) ready.

Load your foam roller by rolling it into the paint a few times until it absorbs most or all of it. Use only dense foam rollers with rounded edges. These are available on our website.

 

Now blot off the excess paint on a folded paper towel by rolling it back and forth a couple times. There should be no visible paint on the roller surface; it should look almost dry. Remember, it's better to have less paint on your roller than too much paint.
About paint for stenciling: Any waterbased paint should work. Craft acrylics are great, regular latex paint will work but the best in our opinion is Benjamin Moore paint called Ben. This paint is very economical and covers really well with 1 coat. It has just the right consistency for stenciling. OK, now you're ready to stencil!

STENCILING WITH A ROLLER
Roll the stencil with your roller using light to medium pressure. Excessive pressure may cause paint seepage under the stencil. Be careful not to roll over the outside edges of the stencil! We design most of our stencils with at least a 1" frame to give you some rolling room. Strategically placing blue masking tape on the narrowest edges can help prevent "roll-overs".
You can easily check how you're doing by carefully un-taping and lifting one corner of the stencil and taking a peek. Do you like what you see? Is it enough pressure or can it use a little more paint? If it's too pale, just put the stencil back and roll it a couple more times back and forth, slightly adding more pressure. When stenciling lighter colors over darker colors, you may need 2 coats to achieve good coverage. Let the 1st coat dry for a couple of minutes and then roll the stencil again.
Make sure the stencil got even paint coverage before removing it unless you want a faded, antique look. Now remove the stencil and enjoy your artwork! A note for the impatient: Don't just yank the taped stencil off the wall! It's always a good idea to remove it somewhat slowly so the blue tape doesn't accidentally pull off any background paint.
Continue stenciling by re-positioning Stencil #1 until all walls are done. Place the stencil by eye, trying to keep a similar distance between repeats. You can use our packaging photo as reference. Step back and see where your next repeat should be. You can space the designs tightly or loosely, depending on your personal preference. In a way, there is no making a mistake with these forgiving free-form wall patterns! If you want to preview your stencil placement, first position pieces of blue tape on the wall and adjust them until you're happy. No need to clean the stencil in between repeats. Each stencil is good for many repeats before it will need to be cleaned.

Don't avoid edges of the wall when you stencil. As with wallpaper, the best look is when your pattern is cut off at the ceiling and floor. Tape off the area at the ceiling or floor with a piece of blue tape. Position your stencill so it overlaps the edge, secure it with tape and roll it right into the crease. If you want to get all the detail at the crease, use a stencil brush with a little paint and a dabbing motion. Continue until you are done with all repeats for Stencil # 1.

Now you're ready to stencil the next design: Stencil #2. We recommend a separate foam roller for each color. You can certainly use the same roller by cleaning it well under running water and drying it as much as possible before the next use. Using the packaging photo as reference, place Stencil #2 by eye, and tape it to the wall. Load your roller with the second color, blot off the excess paint, and repeat the stenciling process until all walls are done. Make sure to get the edges, too.
Now, repeat the process for Stencil #3 until your wall pattern is complete. Try experimenting by creating your own patterns and color combinations by using various elements from our Wall Pattern Kits. These beautiful Wall Pattern Kits work great for accent walls and as an allover room finish. You can also use the kits separate elements to embellish other objects like decorative pillows, furniture, trays, etc.

When you need to take a break from stenciling in the middle of the project, just cover your paint tray with plastic wrap, and tightly wrap a piece of plastic or foil around the roller to prevent the paint from drying out. When you're ready to re-decorate, lightly sand your walls and simply roll 2 coats of basecoat paint over your stenciling and it's gone.

TIPS, TRICKS AND OTHER NOTES

LOADING THE ROLLER
It's important that your roller has the right amount of paint evenly absorbed into the foam. Make sure to use a little bit of pressure while rolling it into your paint and then distribute the paint evenly by rolling it over the surface of your foam plate. This helps to absorb the paint evenly into the foam. It's best to use large flat styrofoam plates since most paint tray surfaces have some kind of embossed pattern on them and this tends to prevent even distribution of the paint. There should be no unabsorbed, uncolored spots on the roller surface. Also, there should be no visible chunks of paint. A perfectly loaded roller looks even in color and it's surface looks almost dry.

CORNERS
Don't be intimidated! Corners are no big deal if you follow our instructions. For best results, tape and stencil one wall at a time. Secure half of the stencil in place leaving the other half unattached. Roll it straight into the corner (or use your stencil brush), then carefully un-tape the finished half while holding the stencil in place with your hands. Now secure the other half with tape and roll that half into the corner, checking your level if necessary. Now you can remove the stencil. Don't worry about filling every little bit of design in the corner crease. Your eye fills these gaps and makes it look completed even if there are some unstenciled areas left. A few more corner tips: Taping the stencil to both walls at once usually does not produce a good result. Using spray adhesive may help with holding a large stencil in place when working on corners.

MISTAKES
Usually it's enough to just wipe off a fresh mistake with a wet cloth, baby wipe or moist q-tip. It is always a good idea to have some basecoat paint at hand in case you need to correct bigger mistakes. In this case, just re-roll or re-sponge your basecoat over a dry mistake. It may take 2 coats to cover. Let it dry completely and now you're ready to re-stencil the area. 

About seepage and imperfections: Even with a proper loaded roller and correct technique you might get some minor seepage here and there. In most cases it's not noticeable, especially from a couple of feet away and it can be easily touched up with a small brush. Don't forget that you're creating a "hand-painted wall finish".  A few imperfections and some paint seepage here and there are natural and inevitable for this type of work. To avoid seepage, use spray adhesive and less paint on your roller and brush.

About spray adhesives: We find that it is not necessary to use spray adhesives with stencils. However, if you want to minimize paint seepage or are using high contrasting colors, adhesive  is very helpful (Elmer's spray adhesive seems to be the best). Make sure you shake the can well and lightly mist (not drench) the back of the stencil, and let it dry for a moment before positioning it on the wall. This step will prevent the adhesive residue transferring to the wall. You'll need to re-mist the stencil after a few repeats. Clean-up tip: Spray the stencil with Simple Green to help to remove adhesive residue.

CLEANING, STORAGE AND REPAIRS
The stencil will eventually accumulate a thick layer of paint after many repeats, so it will have to be cleaned. You can let it dry completely and simply peel off the paint skin, or you can give it a brief soaking in a tray or tub of water and then wash off the paint. Best cleaning method we have found is to place the stencil on a flat surface like a large baking tray, and scrub it with a dish cleaning brush under running water. The paint comes right off and the stencil doesn't get entangled or damaged this way. Please don't let pieces of paint go down the drain. It's bad for your plumbing and for the environment! Always insert a mesh strainer into the drain hole and then shake out the paint pieces into a trash can.

After the stencil is clean, place it on paper towels to dry, and pat it with a roll of paper towels to speed up the drying process. For a large project it may be smart to purchase 2 or even 3 stencils to save time on cleaning. Store your stencils flat, in large drawers if you have them, or under the bed interlaced with paper. Alternatively, you can hang them clipped to a clothes hanger, but don't store them rolled, unless it's the only option.
Brushes are best cleaned under running water using this smart cleaning tool (see pic.) which helps to get out all the paint particles. Add a drop of Murphy's Oil soap for better cleaning and for conditioning of your brush bristles. Liquid soap also works. Repairs: If you accidentally break one of the "bridges" in the design while stenciling or cleaning, you can easily fix it by attaching small pieces of clear packing tape on both sides of the break.

Our phone#
201-828-9146