How to Paint a Stencil Wall with Beginner Tips

How to Paint a Stencil Wall with Beginner Tips

Want to paint a stencil pattern on your wall? A beautiful accent wall can change the look of an entire room! Here are some beginner tips to get you started. If you make a purchase using the affiliate links included, we may earn a commission.

I love a unique stenciled wall. They have the look of wallpaper but at a fraction of the cost.

If you are thinking up your next painting project and considering wall stenciling, you have come to the right place!

A tv stand in front of a blue and white stenciled wall.

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Choosing the Perfect Stencil:

My favorite place to shop for wall stencils is Cutting edge Stencils.

They have a ton of designs! But don't worry they are categorized by style so they are easy to sort through.

Plus their website has a lot of great resources for stenciling as well.

What to look for in a High-Quality Stencil:

If your pattern stencil is a repeating geometric pattern you'll want to make sure that it has overlap points, also known as registration marks.

These points help you line up your stencil so you keep everything perfectly spaced.

How many stencils should I buy?

I recommend buying two of the same stencil.

This will help you move through the wall much more quickly than if you only had one.

Should I use Spray Adhesive:

I tried adhesive spray on the back of the stencil and didn't like it. After reapplying the adhesive it was getting too gross on the back side and it was difficult to remove.

But others swear by it, so it doesn't hurt to try it if you are curious.

What kind of paint do you use to stencil a wall?

Both latex and acrylic paints work great with stenciling.

Can I use a sponge for stenciling?

Yes! Just remember if you are stenciling with multiple colors make sure to use a different sponge for each color.

When using a sponge, you will lightly dab the paint onto the stencil.

Stenciling Supplies:

Prep the Wall:

You have two options for prepping your wall before you apply a stencil; clean it or paint it.

To clean it, all you need is a damp rag to wipe the wall down. You want to make sure the wall is free of dust or debris before you paint on your stencil.

You can also choose to apply a base coat of paint on the entire wall. I love how a fresh coat of paint looks so that is my preference. But it really doesn't matter which option you choose.

If you do paint, make sure to let that wall color for at least 24 hours before painting the stencil.

Also, make sure to tape off the ceiling, baseboard, adjacent walls, or any other area you don't want to get paint on. The painter's tape works great for this.

You should also use a drop cloth to protect your floors from paint drips.

Starting Point:

Start along the ceiling line somewhere you can go down in a vertical line without hitting any obstacles like windows or a door frame.

Line the stencil design up with a level not with the ceiling (not all ceilings are straight), and tape it into place.

Paint the Stencil:

Pour your paint into a paint tray and roll the paint roller into the paint. You want to evenly coat the roller with just a little paint. If you overfill your roller, the extra paint will seep through the back of your stencil and you won't get those nice crisp lines.

I prefer my roller to be a bit more on the dry side. If it is filled with too much paint, it is much more likely that paint will seep underneath the stencil and your lines won't be as nice.

Slowly roll the paint over your stencil with light to medium pressure, leaving thin coats of paint. Cover the entire stencil.

Reposition the Stencil:

Carefully lift the stencil off of the wall without smudging the wet paint behind it.

Move it down to where the overlap points in the stencil line up. Press the tape back into the wall and adhere the stencil to the wall in its new location.

I could only move the stencil 2-3 times before it needed to be washed because there was too much excess paint on the stencil.

By having two stencils available, I could paint 4-6 tiles before I had to pause to clean my stencils and apply new tape around the edges.

Repeat steps until the rest of the wall is finished.

My Stencil Wall:

This was my first time stenciling. When I first started I was nervous but excited!

I was going to do the wall in our living room behind our tv.

Our current wall was a dark green and I was ready for a change.

A tv stand in front of a green wall.

The weekend before we had painted our entire living room a light gray, and the focal wall a dusty blue.

My husband was out of town for the weekend and I thought it was the perfect time for a stencil project.

It wasn't until I was about halfway done that I remembered I needed to take some pictures. Oops!

A stencil taped to a blue wall.

Even halfway, it is already looking amazing!

The stencil I used, measures 18x18 inches. So it is a big stencil, but I still felt like I moved that thing a million times!

The total size of my wall is about 10 x 8 feet. It took me about 7 hours to paint the whole thing, but that was also with 4 little kids on my heels.

I absolutely love how it turned out!

The finished stenciled wall.

Once I had my furniture all back into place, I stood back and admired my hard work.

A TV stand in front of a blue and gray stenciled wall.

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