Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stencils, Fabulous Stencils!

I have been noticing some fabulous stencils on the market recently, which inspired me to give this technique a try in my home.



First, a little background information. Soon after moving into our house I painted this design on the wall above the fireplace. It was done by transferring the design onto the wall and then using a small brush to fill in the pattern. It took forever, making me wish I had a stencil instead.

As as result, I was thrilled to learn Whitewall & Co. will create a stencil based on a design you provide. The above pattern is being made into a stencil by the company and is on its way to me as I write. I love the design modification, pictured below, which allows the pattern to be made into a stencil. It will be fun to use this stencil on a wall in the hall bathroom...when I eventually get back to that room!


In the meantime, I also ordered another stencil from Whitewall & Co., the Mirium. This design is being used for a project I need to finish asap to write a tutorial on.


So, wasting no time, here I go!


The first step was to determine the placement of the pattern and that is when I realized I had picked a challenging wall to stencil, with its doorway and angled top edge. As with most projects attempted for the first time, challenges arise because of inexperience. But I have to say, that is part of the fun, figuring out how to work around the problems.


Once I figured out where to begin the pattern, I was pretty excited to see what the design would look like on the wall. I chose to use the same paint color that was used for the design on the fireplace wall, as the rooms are adjacent to one another. The wall color is Sherwin Williams Quiver Tan while the pattern is painted with Sherwin Williams Universal Khaki.


Using a stencil brush I started applying the paint with a method called stippling, which is simply tapping or dabbing the loaded brush against the stencil openings.


When I mentioned using a stencil in the hall bathroom, a reader commented that the key to getting sharp lines is to use a "dry" brush. This was indeed the trick. I dipped just the tips of the bristles into the paint and removed any excess paint on a paper towel. Too much paint on the brush creates the blotchy lines I think a lot of people (including myself up to this point) associate with stenciled designs. With a dry brush the color is built up gradually with a few layers instead of one thick application.


I was pretty excited when the stencil was removed. The sharp clean lines were a surprise. Wow, really? And here I have been wasting my time hand painting designs to get this same result? Live and learn.


Next I kind of ignored (okay, I completely ignored) the directions provided by Whitewall & Co., which suggest the design be applied by working down the wall. They also recommended painting every other "tile" as it would not be possible to paint the adjacent one until the first was dry. This makes sense, but I found the paint was dry by the time I moved on to the next pattern. I must have really been listening to the dry brush advice! Also, I had a feeling if I started skipping rows I would get the pattern wrong, especially given the challenges of working on this particular wall.


Instead I just penciled in the registration marks each time I positioned the stencil and worked from those as I went along. A level also came in handy, double checking the stencil placement, just to make sure the pattern ended up being painted evenly across the width of the wall.



Using these techniques, from this point on it was just a matter of patience and a bit of time to get the job done. I did work a couple late nights. One night I painted as my husband laid back on the chaise searching the web, talking about what vacation we may want to take over the winter break. Now that conversation certainly kept my mind off the laborious work!


Another tip, which I found to be key in getting sharp lines, was to push down on the area of the stencil being worked on. This held the stencil flush with the wall, eliminating any seepage of paint behind the lines. There are also adhesives which can be applied to the back of the stencil to accomplish this, but I was concerned they might leave a residue on the wall afterwards. Has anyone used them?


As you can see, this results in some messy fingers. And nice pictures, huh? I recruited Isabella to take these as there was no way I could figure out how to get these shots myself! She is really becoming quite the photographer.


Nearly done...


Once I get the space back together and looking nice I'll post pictures. Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps Monday!

56 comments :

  1. Janell, do you sleep? Man oh man....this is amazing!! I just painted horizontal stripes in our upstairs landing, but one of these days I'd love to try a stencil! I love the one you chose!

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  2. Stencil cream/paste is also great if you find the right color. Looks great!

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  3. While I totally LOVE your creativity and read your blog daily, I really appreciate how "real" you keep it. ("Ok I totally ignored...") The touch of sarcasm makes me laugh and your designs bring a smile to my face. Thanks!

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  4. This is going to be stunning! Can't wait to see the finished wall. And thanks for the link, I am not familiar with this company!

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  5. Your projects amaze me, and you always make them look effortless. I'm excited to look at Whitehall's site more.

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  7. Gorgeous design on the fireplace and your stencil design is fabulous too. I can't wait to see the finished wall. Hugs, Marty

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  8. That looks great~ stencils to seem to be all the rage now, and they are quite different from the rose pattern I had on my bedroom wall growing up :) Ha! As usual, it looks beautiful.

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  9. Wow. Thanks so much for sharing! I just got a stencil and I've been scared to start using it. These tips are perfect!

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  10. I have been wanting to stencil a half bath. Thanks for giving me the encouragement to take on this challenge. Your wall looks fabulous! Hugs, Sherry

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  11. Well done! I once decided not to fork out for a laura Ashley wallpaper for my daughters bedroom but to handpaint the roses pattern. It took me hours and hours and the first thing my daughter did to show her apreciation was to colour in as many roses as possible with different coloured felt tips!!!
    I couldn't tell her off as she had been watching me do the hand painting.
    ZoeB

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  12. How Original! I really like how unique the stenciling looks and how well it works on the wall with the lighting and beautiful pattern. You provide a lot of great best practices and "lessons learned" in your post - Really great stuff!

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  13. I actually found your blog through Whitewall's post on FB. I bought one of their stencils earlier this year and have yet to use it. My stencil is huge... one of the larger ones and I finally have a project that doesn't involve me trying to fold it around corners. Can't wait to see your finished project!
    Michelle

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  14. okay I'm with Fran! Do you sleep?!

    I've never tried stenciling, but I have been wanting to do it in my half bath. This is my confirmation that yes I can do it!

    and Thanks for your kinds words last night!

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  15. Sleep?! What is that? No, I have some big deadlines, it is still summer and I want to enjoy some of it, so sleep is on the back burner. Come mid September things will ease up and I'll get the sleep that will prevent me from attempting to order sconces at the drive through window at Starbucks! See...lack of sleep isn't a good thing! :) Janell

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  16. Gorgeous girl! Ha! I'm with the first poster....when do you sleep??

    Stencils back...who knew?? Yep a very dry brush and layers of stippling...you did beautifully!

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  17. Beautiful!! I'm really loving the designs of the stencils that are out there nowadays. From the looks of the changing light in your photos - did you stay up all night working on it? ;-)

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  18. Looks great! I'm loving the pattern and size of stencil you chose and I would imagine one big flat wall would have been much less challenging! :)

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  19. Whoop Whoop girl! fabulous. Can't wait to see the finished project. Your work is awesome.
    Sherry

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  20. Thank you for the tutorial! I am getting ready to do a stenciled wall and this really helps! I guess it amounts to patience right? I am going to keep that in mind for sure, I tend to rush things so I can go on to the next fun project.

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  21. Stencils have certainly come a LONG way from the "country" style of the late 80's! I love the graphic element of these new stencils. I just did a medallion motif in my office, and I found I liked the messy edges...it gave it a shabby chic look. However, for the record, the stencil adhesive, by Plaid, I think works great! I used it years ago to stencil a garden wall down my stairwell. I'm glad stenciling is back, however, I also like the rub-ons for home dec. thanks for the great post!
    blessings,
    Tonyad

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  22. Absolutely fabulous!! Love how this pattern will look in that room! How fun to have your wonderful pattern be made into a stencil! Will it be for sale to the public as well?

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  23. I love the look and think it's such a great alternative to actually wallpapering! Looks beautiful!

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  24. I echo Fran's first comment. Do you sleep? And how is it that EVERY idea you have is amazing. I'd like to know if any of them are ever flops. lol!

    You amaze me. Always.

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  25. Ha...flops? That would be anything to do with cooking! All flops. My husband finally gave up and started doing the cooking for the family!

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  26. Well, that makes a girl feel better! About the fact that you don't cook, that is! Just kidding. But isn't it great to have the husband take over something like that? Good for both of you! Now, about the stenciling...it's beautiful, and so precise. I have come to expect nothing less from you.

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  27. This looks great!!! Your motivation makes me feel lazy.

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  28. Wow, it looks so good and it's not even done! I love the results of stencils--I'm just not sure I'd have the time or patience. Great job!

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  29. Holy Cats! I am ordering a stencil right now! Your wall looks awesome!

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  30. I love the stencil look! I can imagine how long it would take without a stencil. What window treatments would go well with a stenciled wall? I came across your post this afternoon while browsing interior design blogs and the topic of window treatment selection was very interesting to me. It is true that you must dress your windows appropriately to bring out their true beauty. Thank you for writing and as a special thanks to you and your readers, I would like to offer a 20% off coupon using this code upon checkout: BLG20.

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  31. Wow the fireplace you did is amazing! Holy cow you have some MAJOR patience!! I would never have made it through that. Too cool that you found a company that will make them for you...that almost makes me think I could do one! haha
    xo
    amanda

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  32. Hi Janell,

    The stencil looks great, you've done such an amazing job. Hope we see the complete pictures tomorrow instead of Monday. Monday seems such a long way off!!!
    Take care
    Janine
    XXOO
    Tasmania, Australia

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  33. WOW...very cool. I bet at first glance people will think it's wallpaper!

    http://madebygirl.blogspot.com

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  34. i'm not sure how i found your blog, but my word - what a first impression with this post.
    it is beautiful.
    i've been thinking about stenciling a wall in our master bdrm. this makes me want to do it right now.

    will be back to see the after/after pics for sure!

    happy weekend.
    or
    happy stenciling.
    kellie

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  35. Low cost, but high on style! This is a wonderful alternative to wallpaper. Looks like patience and a steady hand gets the job done...Looking forward to the reveal!

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  36. That looks absolutely amazing! I seriously love it. I had no idea there was a company that would create a stencil with a pattern I choose. This is the best info I've gotten all day!
    xoxo
    Lila Ferraro

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  37. Love it can you come do my wall? What is the wall color? Don't you have a gray color somewhere, I'm thinking of painting my living room any suggestions?

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  38. I so want to do this in our home. Thank you for the awesome tutorial- great advice! I'm bookmarking this page so I can refer back to it when I finally get around to doing it. Your results are fantastic- love the pattern you chose.

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  39. so great! i love whitewall stencils. i saw on their FB page that they named the stencil after you! *yay!
    your wall looks so fabulous i can hardly speak...

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  40. I recently did a post about a friend's stenciled walls & the artist that did them:

    http://stellaholiday.blogspot.com/2010/08/murorosso.html

    You did an amazing job! Hmmmm...what could I stencil.....

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  41. How much are the custom stencils??? Such a cool company!

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  42. Your stencil (and your stenciling!) looks great! Thanks so much for the wonderful resource.

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  43. I'm excited to see your finished wall. I'm loving it so far. You are going to need a hand massage after that job.

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  44. Gorgeous, just like everything else you do! I love following your blog, it always gives me the creative motivation to move forward on my projects! I have a suggestion for you; you may want to invest in an airbrush pen. I recently stenciled a damask pattern on my powder room walls and it worked wonders! It's a very fine mist that does not bleed under. It was a huge time saver, and with all the projects you do, I bet you'd love it! (I got mine at Michaels, don't forget your coupon! ; ) )

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  45. Jenn, great tip, thanks! I've not heard of this product before so will check it out! I have a couple more stenciling projects coming up and would LOVE to make them easier! Janell

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  46. Omg I love this so much I can hardly stand it. As soon as the holidays are over, I'm doing something similar. Off to check out the stensil website!!

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  47. Do you have any tips for stenciling around a corner? I'm stenciling my foyer...didn't really think through the corners. Should have thought through the corners. :)


    http://frogstruckslipstick.blogspot.com/2011/08/no-wire-hangers.html

    Danielle

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