Don’t Replace Outdated Tiles, Save Money & Stencil Them!
Cutting Edge Stencils tile stencils are taking over the DIY home improvement movement! You can use tile stencils on almost any surface. We have seen stunning DIY makeovers with tile stencils on floors, walls, furniture, and you guessed it, fireplaces! Tile stencils are an amazing decorating tool because you don’t have to be an expert to use it! If you’re a beginner stenciler that’s looking to makeover your fireplace on a budget, have no fear! By the end of this blog, you’ll know how to stencil your fireplace like a Pro!
WAIT! Before you press the “Place Order” button, did you measure your tile correctly?
When figuring out what tile stencil size to get, we recommend measuring your tile from tile edge to tile edge. Don’t include the grout line when you measure the size of your tile. For a fireplace, it’s no different! Before we stenciled this fireplace, we knew we wanted the tile stencil to fill the width of the legs and the height of the header. If your tile is an abnormal size, Cutting Edge Stencils can cut a custom tile stencil size just for you! For this fireplace, we used the Amalfi Tile Stencil.
Will the square tile stencils fit on my tiles if they are various sizes and/or have inconsistent grout lines?
Yes! With a tile stencil, you can paint right over the original tile shape and grout lines. No one will notice your old grout lines! You’ll essentially be stenciling faux square tiles that will give your outdated fireplace a brand new look.
How many tile stencils should I purchase?
We ALWAYS recommend buying more than one tile stencil when it comes to tile stencil projects. Buying two or more tile stencils will come in handy towards the end of your project when your final steps are stenciling those hard to reach areas.
While I’m waiting for my gorgeous tile stencils to arrive in the mail, what prep should I be doing in the meantime?
Prepping your fireplace correctly before you stencil in SUPER important! We want to create the best adhesion before we start stenciling. Begin by sanding down your fireplace tile with 120-220 grit sandpaper. Giving your tile a good sanding will allow the paint to adhere to the tile. Once you’ve completely sanded down your tile, dust it off and wipe it down with a damp rag. You want very little dust on your tile before you continue your prep. We recommend using TSP, a heavy-duty cleaner that is specially formulated to remove dust and dirt. Before you begin your next step, tape the perimeter of your fireplace with low-tack blue painters tape. If you have a non-working firebox and you want to stencil all the way towards the back, don’t forget to add tape back there too! This will prevent getting any unwanted paint in certain areas.
Next step, Priming!
Apply 2-3 coats of bonding primer to your fireplace tile with a 4” dense foam roller before you start painting. We recommend using STIX primer because we found it provides the best adhesion. You can lightly sand off any small imperfections before applying your base coat but try not to sand through the primer. Let the primer dry a full 24 hours before you begin applying your base coat.
I’m painting around an area that will get super hot. Should I be using a special kind of paint for this DIY stencil project?
A common misconception is that you need to use “heat resistant paint” when stenciling your fireplace. Truth is, you don’t! Paint can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees. We recommend using Benjamin Moore’s “Ben” paint in a flat latex finish. It will decrease your chances of paint seepage under your tile stencils and give you the best stenciling results. Apply at least 2 coats of your basecoat before you begin stenciling.
Yay! My stencils arrived in the mail. Where do I start?
The fireplace header and hearth tiles should evenly align. To achieve that look, find the center of both and stencil outward. We recommend stenciling the header first.
Apply repositionable spray adhesive on the back of your tile stencil. This will reduce your chances of paint seepage or “bleed” underneath your tile stencil. Add two pieces of low tack painters tape to two sides of your stencil to make sure it doesn’t shift or fall off while stenciling. Place the tile stencil in the center of your header.
Another great way to prevent stencil seepage is loading your dense foam roller correctly. Evenly load a 2” dense foam roller with your stencil paint color. Remember, your paint must be a flat latex finish. You only need a small amount of paint on your roller. If you find your roller has too much paint, offload it onto a paper towel.
Gently roll the paint over your tile stencil. If you press too hard, you will get some bleed underneath the stencil. Roll the paint towards the mantle, reaching the corner as much as you can. Take or 3/4” Professional Stencil Brush and pounce it towards the corner for a crisp line.
How long do I have to wait before I can stencil another tile?
You only have to wait 1-2 minutes for your faux tile to dry before you can move on to the next! Because you are only rolling on thin layers of paint, the dry time is faster. Once your stenciled tile is dry, align the tile stencil with the previously painted registration marks and work your way outwards. When you have finished stenciling the full tile size and all you have left if a half tile (or maybe less) at the end of each side, leave it for now and we’ll get back to it when we are at the final stages of our project.
Let’s stencil the legs next!
Place your first tile stencil on the leg right under the header. You are going to repeat the same process, but instead of pouncing your professional stencil brush towards the top for a crisp line, you’ll pounce to the left and right! Again, work your way down until there is no full-size tiles left. We’re going to save the smaller sections for last.
Time to tackle the Hearth!
Find the center of your hearth and place your tile stencil closest to you. You are going to stencil your first tile then like the header, work your way outwards towards each end of the hearth.
Once that row is complete, repeat the process while working inwards towards the firebox if you have a non-working fireplace. You also can leave that untouched and only stencil up to the legs.
Tile stencils are great because they’re super flexible and can bend to fit most corners!
All I have left is those tough to reach areas and it’s really hard to bend the stencil in between two corners that meet. What should I do?
You can cut your tile stencil down to a custom size to fit those specific areas! This is why having more than one stencil comes in handy! It’s great to have a backup when it comes to this part of the project.
Finally, I’m done stenciling tiles. All I have left is the grout lines!
Place the FREE grout line stencil that comes with your tile stencil over the thin lines in between your stenciled tile. Grab a ½” Professional Stencil Brush and dip it into a little bit of your grout line color paint. You don’t need a lot of paint for this part so be careful not to overload your brush. Lightly pounce or swirl your brush over the grout line stencil. Follow through until the entire grout line section is covered.
Uh-oh, I spy some stencil bleed…
There’s nothing a touch-up brush can’t fix! Use Cutting Edge Stencils Liner Brush and gently go over the areas where you see stencil bleed. Unfortunately stencil bleed is a small price to pay for an affordable fireplace makeover, but it beats the cost of an actual home renovation!
What can I do to protect my stenciled faux tiles from wear and tear?
All you need to do to protect your stenciled fireplace tile is apply at least 2 coats of Varathane’s WATER BASED polyurethane. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND water-based polyurethane because it doesn’t yellow over time, it has a fast dry time, and it’s better for the environment!