How to Decorate with Wall Stencils

tints wall stencils

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Creating very interesting visual patterns with stencils, like shown above, is a more advanced way of using stencils.

If you are looking for an easy way to spruce up your walls or a challenge, both can be found in utilizing the wall stencil.

In the above example, several tints of the original two colors are used to create depth on the wall.

One of the well known “secrets” of art is that things appear lighter as they fade away into the distance and this wall stencil example is a superior example of the use of tints to show depth.  In addition to the tint, the overlap of the stencils helps to embed the effect even more.

Using these “tricks” can make a huge difference in the special sense of a room and make smaller rooms appear larger.  It takes a little bit of design knowledge, but once you know the basics, anyone can really pull this wonderful effect off.

Here’s another example I found of wall stencils appearing to create depth within a room while using tints and overlap to create an almost three-dimensional feel to the wall.

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Image reference:

So how do you create this three dimensional effect?

You use tint.

Tinting the paint that you use as your darker foreground color is easy to do and doesn’t add too much of an extra step in the whole entire stenciling process if you were to just use one color.

Tint is simply adding white to a color.

You can buy white and add it to the paint you have, or you can use the paint swatches you see in paint stores, pick the main paint in one shade and then pick the tint of that color and have them both made.

The more variety in value (lights and darks) you have in your overlapping stencils, the more depth you will create.

So let’s talk about actually using stencils because using stencils and creating special effects could be thousands of blog posts!

How to Decorate with Wall Stencils

First you need to select the main paint color, the stencil paint color and the stencil itself.

Tools Needed:

  • Stencil
  • Acrylic or Latex Paint
  • Roller, brush, sponge (depending on the look you are going for) typically a dry stencil brush is ideal.
  • Tape
  • Straight Edge
  • Pencil

I always suggest setting up with light pencil markings ahead of time so you have straight lines (either horizontal or vertical) to guide you.

If you are stenciling a pattern, determine the placement of your first stencil. I suggest doing this in the upper portion of the wall for two reasons.

  1. You prevent working over your own work.
  2. If you have to do less than a whole stencil, placing it near the ground on the wall will be less noticeable than if it were at the top of the wall.

Realize that the stenciling may take some time because you will have to wait for paint to dry before you place the next “row” of stencil on the wall you are working on.

When I did and entire wall, I had to work every other row of the pattern to prevent smudging my previous row and then worked the second row after the first ones had dried.

Basically, I did row 1,3,5,7 and then did 2,4,6,8.   Using a pencil to guide and using guidelines was essential in this process.

To hold the stencil up, you can purchase one of the vinyl stencils that come with reusable sticky glue on it, you can use masking tape or you can just hold the stencil. Holding the stencil is fine as long as the stencil is not that large and it only will take a roll or two to apply the paint.

Make sure that the wall that you are stenciling on is clean and dry before you begin the stenciling.

Once you are ready, pour your accent paint in the paint tray.   Make sure you practice at least one stencil prior to going on the wall.

Once the first stencil is in place, prep the brush with your paint and proceed to brush the paint over the stencil.  Be sure to hold the stencil tight against the wall where you are stenciling so that you get nice smooth and sharp lines.

If your stencil comes with a registration point, make sure you mark it and use it to continue with your pattern.  If there is no registration point, use your predetermined guidelines to help you place your next stencil.

Remember that you DO NOT want to place the stencil over wet paint, so you may have to wait for paint to dry before you get the pattern OR you may have to work on another part of the wall until the paint is dry for you to place the stencil. DO NOT place stencils on the other side of the wall unless you have meticulously measured placement.

With stencils, it is better to wait for paint to dry than it is to rush through and not worry if you choose to not take the time to measure out the specific placement of the stencil.







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