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