Stenciling is an interior design technique which can be used on a variety of surfaces, including walls, floors, ceilings, tables, metal, fabric, and even glass. Stenciling ranges from simple to highly intricate and does not need to be performed by professionals.
Stencils are available pre-cut or it is possible to make your own stencil. When making stencils, it is best to cut the stencil from either oiled stencil board or clear acetate. Always cut the stencil from only one piece of the chosen material, so that the joint in the material does not show up. Before investing in cutting your stencil from acetate or stencil board, try using a simple sheet of colored paper to make sure you like the design.
It is possible to perform stenciling with many different types of paint on any painted or varnished surface, as long as the surface is clean and dry. Stencils can be difficult to apply over glossy paint, so clear matte varnish should be applied on the surface before stenciling. Artist's acrylic paint, interior wall paint, and latex paint which has been colored with universal tints all work well for painting stencils. If you want the paint to dry more quickly, add drying agents to the paint. Spray paint can also be used with stencils, although the quality is not nearly as high as using liquid paint.
To paint stencils, stenciling brushes will be needed, which come in a range of sizes, and are generally inexpensive. An alternative to stenciling brushes, for those who do not like the grainy texture that they produce, might use sponges or regular paintbrushes for a different effect. Other supplies needed are a pencil, a level, a plumbline, solvent, and masking tape.
Before beginning, use a level to draw the horizontal lines for the area to be stenciled, and a plumbline for the vertical lines. Mark the wall (or other surface) with a pencil in the location where you with the stencil to be applied. Next, fix the stencil in place with masking tape, and hold it down with your hand while you dab paint onto the stencil with your other hand. Be careful not to get paint underneath the stencil.
If you are stenciling fabric, make sure that the fabric is laid flat and that you are using a stiff brush. After you have applied the fabric paint, fix the design by ironing the other side of the fabric for at least two minutes.
When you are finished with the stencils, clean brushes and stencils in the appropriate solvent and store the stencils flat, separated with tissue paper. Always save your stencils, even if you think you will not use them again, because you may have to touch up your stenciled work.
Written by Bronwyn Harris