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Quick Answers - Stenciling and Paint

What type of paint should I use?

Most latex and acrylic paints work great. Benjamin Moore Aura paint is nice and opaque and covers great but tends to build up on the stencil which may require you to clean your stencil more often. Another Benjamin Moore paint called "Ben" seem to have ideal qualities for stenciling and we really like it and recommend it.

Can I stencil on a textured wall?

In general, it's possible to stencil over textured surfaces, however it depends on the roughness of your texture and your desired outcome.

What's the difference between flat, satin or semi-gloss paint?

Paint comes in various sheen. There is Flat, Matte, Eggshell, Satin, Semigloss and Gloss, with Flat being least shiny and Gloss being most shiny and reflective when dry.

How do I avoid paint bleed when I stencil?

Due to the nature of stenciling, paint bleeding can occur. Bleeding happens when the paint seeps under the edge of your stencil and creates an edge that's less than perfect.

The idea is more about reducing bleed rather than eliminating it completely. Here are some tips on reducing bleeding while stenciling. See more tips in our "how To" videos.

*Don't use too much paint! Too much paint on your roller or brush is the biggest reason for bleed. Off load your brush or roller onto paper towels to remove excess paint and build your paint coverage with 2 coats if necessary. Even if you think that you don't have too much paint on a roller it still may be too much, so please blot off the roller onto the paper towel before stenciling.

*Don't use a roller with a nap! They hold too much paint. Using a dense foam roller has given us the best results.

*Don't push the paint under the edge of the stencil and don't apply too much pressure when rolling or stippling with the brush.

*Stenciling on a flat sheen base coat will work better then stenciling on glossier surfaces because your stencil paint absorbs into the basecoat and dries quicker and has less time to seep under the edge.

*Stenciling with flat latex or craft acrylic paint works best because it dries quickly and has less time to seep.

*Stenciling with gloss paints or glazes will increase the potential for bleed because they dry slowly and have more tome to seep under the edge.

*Using a good spray adhesive like Elmer's can greatly reduce bleed. Lightly mist the back of the stencil in a well ventilated area and let dry for a minute. Don't drench the stencil with adhesive because it could transfer to the wall. Re-apply the adhesive every few prints or as it loses it's tack.

*Stenciling on smoother surfaces always works better then on textured surfaces. If you want to stencil a textured surface, it's best to select a pattern that is more organic and has less straight lines. This way any paint bleed will be less noticeable. Using a stencil or stipple brush, not a roller seems to work best for textured surfaces.

*The brand and type of paint you use always plays a part in the amount of bleed you could get. We love Benjamin Moore's "Ben" in flat and most craft acrylics such as Folk Art. Some paints are too watery or too gummy and this may contribute to more bleed.

*Some patterns show bleed more than others. Patterns with straight, crisp geometric lines are less forgiving than organic, ornate, damask patterns.

And finally, this is stenciling! It's not supposed to look like perfectly printed printed wallpaper or stark wall decals! This is a hand-applied artistic wall finish. In almost every case the bleed that you notice while applying the stencil will never be noticed when the project is finished, or even if you just step 2' away from the wall.

If paint bleed occurrs, you can quickly wipe it off with a moist rag or baby wipe, or touch it up later with an artist liner brush and some base coat paint. It's a good idea to clean the paint that bled on the back side of the stencil, since it could contribute to more seepage.

Can I use spray paint with my stencil?

Sure, why not? Just a few things to consider before you start.

First of all, in most cases spray paint is rather toxic. So if you do use spray paint with your stencils try to do the project outside or at least in a well ventilated area. Shake the can well before spraying.

Another thing to remember: spray paint is liquid and tends to drip under the stencil when you sprayed a bit too much. It might be a good idea to use spray adhesive on the back of your stencil so it sticks to the surface. This should help to keep the paint from blowing under the edges of the stencil.

Also, it's very easy to spray too much paint on. Always start spraying before the stencil openings and move across the stencil evenly. Stop spraying after you've passed over the openings. This prevents paint dripping. Spray multiple lighter coats and gradually build up your coverage. You may want to mask the surrounding surfaces to prevent overspray.

And one last thing. Spray paints usually take longer to dry then regular house paints.

In general, we do not recommend using spray paint for interior stenciling, but it is definitely do-able!

What is a good metallic paint brand?

We really like FolkArt metallic paint. You can find these very inexpensively at Michaels or Joanne's.

Benjamin Moore offers a few very nice metallic paints.

Some stores sell Modern Masters Metallic paints. These work great and come in a variety of really nice very opaque colors. They are however much more expensive than the FolkArt metallics.

Nova is another great brand if you are doing a larger project and want good quality metallics in larger quantities. They are available online at

How do you stencil on furniture?

When stenciling on furniture, you want to insure good adhesion. If the piece has a varnish or a glossy finish you'll need to break the sheen. You can do this with a scotch brite pad, steel wool or fine grit sandpaper. Lightly sand the surface and then wipe down the piece with a little denatured alcohol on a rag to remove any grease, wax or furniture polish. When finished, soak any alcohol rags in water, place them outside and dispose of them on trash day. Alcohol rags can spontaneously combust so don't forget to soak them in water! Next, basecoat the piece if you want to change the overall color. Most acrylic paints work well, but to insure good adhesion you may want to use an adhesive primer such as Stix or Zinnser 1*2*3. These primers can even be tinted to the color you want. After your primer/basecoat is dry you can stencil with whatever paint you like. FolkArt acrylics work great. If you want to protect your artwork, you could then topcoat the table with a clear topcoat in your desired sheen.

How do I stencil on fabric?

First, if your fabric is wrinkled, make sure to iron it first. Tape your fabric to a flat surface (table or floor) so it doesn't have any wrinkles or move around while you stencil. When stenciling on fabric, spray adhesive is very helpful. Lightly mist your stencil with a spray adhesive, let it dry for a few seconds and place your stencil on your fabric surface, pressing it to achieve a tighter seal. Use stencil brushes (if it is a smaller project) or a dense foam roller for a larger one. Add some textile medium (sold in craft stores) to your stencil acrylics and stir it in well. You can also get special fabric paint but frankly, good craft acrylics with a dollop of textile medium work just as well and cost less! Use very little paint on your brush and always off load any extra paint onto a folded paper towel. When using a stencil brush, apply the paint with a dabbing/swirling motion. After all of your stenciling is complete, let the stenciled fabric dry completely (at least 24 hours). Now it's time to heat set the stenciling. Slowly iron the stenciled fabric by pressing the iron for about 20 seconds on a low setting through the piece of soft thin cotton cloth. Heat setting will cure the paint and will help to prevent it from being washed off in the laundry. It's always a good idea to first do a test with a sample of your fabric to ensure good results. Do your stenciling, heat set it and wash the swatch to make sure the whole technique works on your fabric. If the paint washes away you may need more heat-setting time, but it usually holds up just fine. Some fine fabrics will not tolerate heat setting and it's always more difficult to stencil on sheer fabrics. If too much paint is used during stenciling, it may leak through on the other side of the fabric, which may add stiffness to the fabric. If your fabric is thin, place some paper (or newspapers) under it to protect your working surface (table or floor) from possible paint seepage. We've stenciled on silk, cotton, linen and even sheer fabrics with great results but's always better if your fabric doesn't have too much texture.

How do I stencil my floor?

A couple of tips we can offer on stenciling floors. First, you'll need to de-gloss and clean any wax, grease or oil off the floor to insure good adhesion of your paint. You should lightly sand the entire floor with 220 sandpaper. This will break the gloss and allow your paint to stick.

Next, clean the floor. Sweep or vacuum up all the dust and then clean the floor with denatured alcohol. Wipe the floor with the alcohol rag and then follow it with a clean moist rag. As the rags get gunky replace them with fresh ones. Don't just throw the alcohol-soaked rags in the trash! They could spontaneously combust. Soak them in water and put them outside to dry out.

If you don't plan on using a top clearcoat, use a special paint recommended for floors as your base coat. If you plan on clearcoating the floor for extra durability, you could use almost any good quality house paint as your basecoat because your durability will come from the clearcoat.

Try to use a flat or semigloss paint as your basecoat. What you really want is good adhesion and quick drying. Oil basecoat paint would be a nightmare. Smell, cleanup :( Forget it!

For stenciling: basically you can use any waterbased paint, latex or acrylics. Do your stenciling as usual, using dense foam roller or brush. You can help drying with a hairdryer if necessary. Or simply let it dry well before top-coating. If you are clearcoating the floor later, you can use a flat sheen stencil paint which will dry quickly. The topcoat will add the final sheen and add durability.

Select a good topcoat in the sheen you want. Remember that the more glossy the topcoat, the more it reflects imperfections. We recommend a satin finish. They make great water-based topcoats these days so there is no need to use oil. The smell is very strong and lasting (harmful too) and the oil also yellows over time which can affect your floor colors.

How do I clean my stencil?

Usually you can clean your stencil with just water and a stiff brush, like the one used for scrubbing dishes. Lay the stencil on a flat surface like cutting board or baking tray and scrub it under running water. Make sure to place a mesh into a drain hole, you don't want all that paint residue going down your drain. It's always easier to clean the stencil soon after you finish your project, as opposed to letting it sit for days or weeks. Depending on the paint used, it can come off very easily or may need a slight pre-soaking to loosen it. Usually, acrylic paints come off very easy, and some latex paints may stick a bit more. We have a nice video showing how to clean a stencil, please check out our Video tab!

For removal of adhesive and stubborn paint, try Dawn's "Power Dissolver" in a blue spray bottle. Not very easy to find, but amazing product. Spray on your stencil and clean as usual, or spray the stencil, roll up very carefully or lay flat and place into a large plastic trash bag. Seal. Let sit for a few hours or - better - overnight and then clean as described above. DO NOT USE PAINT THINNER TO CLEAN THE STENCIL!

You can also sit brushes that have dried-out paint on them overnight, and oftentimes you will have saved that brush.

Some other products work too, such as Motsenbocker's Lift-Off Latex Based Paint Remover, Simple Green and Krud Cutter. For adhesive removal, try Bar Keeper's Friend cleaner.

It's important to remember that it's very difficult to completely remove spray adhesive from a stencil, but we find that it is not necessary to get it off completely, the stencil still will be very usable for your next project even if it's a little bit sticky. Just make sure to store it on a piece of a wax paper or freezer paper, as a backing.

What is the difference between large and small scale version of stencil?

We created the Large and Small Scale versions of certain stencil designs to give you options. The Small Scale is simply a scaled down or shrunken version of the Large Scale. If you want more pattern on your wall or if you are working on a small project then the small scale is ideal. If you are going for a bit more of an open less dense look, then the large scale may be what you're looking for.

Should I use the long or short versions of the stencil?

The reason why we created a long and short version of a number of our allover stencils is to accommodate the needs of different stenciling projects. If you have an accent wall that has little to no obstructions (windows, doors, shelves, etc.) then the Long Version is best because it will expedite the stenciling process. If you are working in a tighter space with many corners and obstructions, then the Short Version is better because it is smaller and makes it easier to get around these obstacles. There is no difference in the design scale between the long and short versions. The only difference is in the size of the sheet of plastic and the amount of repeats.

What type of paint should I use to stencil a bathroom wall or kitchen backsplash?

The reason why we created a long and short version of a number of our allover stencils is to accommodate the needs of different stenciling projects. If you have an accent wall that has little to no obstructions (windows, doors, shelves, etc.) then the Long Version is best because it will expedite the stenciling process. If you are working in a tighter space with many corners and obstructions, then the Short Version is better because it is smaller and makes it easier to get around these obstacles. There is no difference in the design scale between the long and short versions. The only difference is in the size of the sheet of plastic and the amount of repeats.

Quick Answers - Stenciling and Paint

How can I contact you?

You can call us or email us and we'll be happy to assist you and answer any questions!

Our phone number: 201-828-9146

Our email address:

Our address:

630 Swan Street
Ramsey, NJ 07446
United States of America

Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (EST)

I would like expedited shipping. Is this an option?

- We offer FedEx Express as long as we receive a phone call BEFORE 12 noon Monday-Friday. Calls after noon will result in shipping the following day.

- Kindly note that expedited shipping does come at an extra cost that the customer is responsible for.

Can I change my order once it has been submitted?

If you would like to cancel or change your order, we must be contacted immediately after placing the order. We will do our best to accommodate your request. You can call us at (201) 828 9146

Please make sure you have every item you need and please double check your billing and shipping information before checkout.

Can I return or exchange an item? What's your return policy?

- Please contact us by phone or email to let us know of your intentions to return your items within 30 days of the purchase date. The customer is responsible for the return shipping fees.

- We only accept the return of unused, unopened, and undamaged items.

- Custom stencils are final sale and non refundable.

- Please send your items in the same or similar packaging to ensure your items do not get damaged in transit. We will not issue a refund for a bent or damaged item.

- Once we receive your return, we will issue a refund for the full price of the items. Our customers are not charged any restocking fees as long as you are within our return policy. Customers are subject to restocking fees if the return is outside of 30 days or the item comes back damaged.

- The shipping fees are non refundable.

If a package is returned to us for any reason (unclaimed, refused, etc.), the initial shipping fee is non refundable and any reshipment fees are the responsibility of the customer.

If you received a damaged stencil, we must be contacted immediately for your choice of a full refund including the shipping fees, or a replacement.

Domestic Shipping Policy

- Our stencils are made to order and so require handling time of 2-3 business days.

- All paid orders are processed the following business day. We are not open on weekends, so please know that all Friday and weekend orders will not be processed until Monday.

- USPS priority mail shipping is 2-5 business days. This can be subject to change due to holidays or other unforeseen delays.

- Orders over $300 require signature confirmation. Please contact us if you would like your order to have signature confirmation added at no extra cost.

- If a package is returned due to being unclaimed/refused or because of an incorrect address, the customer is responsible for any reshipment fees.

Canadian Shipping Policy

- All Canadian packages are shipped on Thursdays of every week and should arrive within 10-14 business days depending on where you are located. Shipment can be subject to change due to holidays and weather.

- We cover all tariffs and taxes your package may be subject to, to ensure a quicker delivery time.

- Please note that our shippers are a third party service and certain delays may take place that are out of our control.

*Please note that our prices are in USD*

International Shipping Policy

- We offer worldwide shipping with APC logistics. Your package should arrive within 14 days of shipment depending on where you are located.

- Once your package has shipped, you will receive confirmation with a tracking number via email.

- All international orders are subject to Duties, taxes, and miscellaneous fees. By placing your order, you understand and acknowledge that these fees are the responsibility of the customer and are out of our control.

- If your package is returned to us for any reason, you may still be subject to duties, taxes, etc., which will be deducted, from your refund. The initial shipping fee is also not refunded.

- Please note that our shippers are a third party service and certain delays may take place that are out of our control.

*Please note that our prices are in USD*

Can I pay with PayPal?

You can pay with a PayPal, but please make sure that you have the correct shipping address registered with your PayPal account. Once an order enters our system it is very difficult for us to make any changes.

Do you have a retail store in my area and can I pick up my order?

Cutting Edge Stencils is predominately an online store. If you are in the Northern New Jersey area and would like to pick up your stencil order, please call us in advance so we can have your selection available and ready for pickup.

Please note that all pickups must be made Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm

Our address is:

630 Swan Street
Ramsey, NJ 07446

Do you create custom stencils?

We will resize any of our current designs, but please keep in mind that we do have size limitations. We can not take outside designs and recreate them.

Please note that all custom stencil orders are final sale and are not eligible for coupons or sale discounts.

Do you have a printed catalog?

We do not have a catalog at this time.

Everything that we offer is on our site,

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