How to Stencil - the easy way!
March 23, 2020
Always make sure that the surface to be stenciled is clean and properly prepared with no flaking paint. If you need to mark a straight line, do this first with a piece of chalk, pencil is very difficult to remove without damaging the paint or the stencil. Masking tape is often used to attach a stencil, however, if you have ever tried using a Repositionable Contact Spray Adhesive you will never go back to masking tape. When stenciling a continuous border around a room, start at the corner opposite the door and work out from there. When working on walls, you can position the stencil right under the ceiling molding, at picture rail height 2.2m (7ft4in), dado (chair) rail height 1.2m(4ft), above the skirting board, round the windows and doors or all over like wallpaper.
Spray the back of the stencil lightly with spray glue and position the stencil on the chalk line or whatever you are using as a registration mark. Because the glue is repositionable you can move your stencil along 6 or 7 times before it stops sticking, when it does, re-spray. No need to clean in between.
Some of our stencils have an overlap and some star shaped registration marks ★
Overlap: to check if your stencil has an overlap fold it carefully in a circle and try to find cutout sections that match each other at each end of the stencil. If you find them then these are the sections you must fit the stencil to, to create a continuous border.
Registration marks: your stencil could have registration marks if it is a border or a large stencil that had to be cut in pieces, this is due to the restricting size of the bed on the Laser Cutter.
The registration marks will look like a star ★ and your stencil will line up perfectly if you use them. Just stick a small piece of painters (masking) tape under the registration marks onto the wall. When you paint your stencil paint in the registration mark as well, now when you come to do the next piece of your border or large stencil you will have overlap marks to line up to. Repeat the process every time you add a new section of your stencil or an additional piece of border, then just peel them off the wall when you are finished.
How to Paint: Dip your brush or sponge into the paint and then wipe off most of it on a piece of kitchen paper. If you use too much paint you will find that it bleeds behind the stencil, giving the pattern very ragged edges. Apply the paint using an up and down stippling motion, start on the outside of each of the stencils cut outs and work your way in towards the middle.
If you are using masking tape to hold the stencil in place, you must push the stencil tightly against the surface so no paint can seep down the back. When using more than one color, wait for the first color to dry before you apply the second color, always use a clean brush or sponge. The lightest color should be applied first. Using liquid paint for stenciling can be problematic, my advice is to keep your brushes and stencil very clean and use as little paint as possible. If you are not sure, wipe off a bit more, you can always add some if the color is not right. Stencils look better when the color is built up in layers.
Fabric Painting: Always prewash fabric to remove size and softener, these products coat the fibers and then the paint sticks to the coating and not the material fibers. Tape the fabric to a table, so it doesn’t move and then apply the stencil as per normal; just put some extra masking tape around the edges of the stencil. This is partly to help it stay in place and in case you go over the edge with your paint (you can't get it out of fabric).
If you are using fabric paint, which can only be used on natural fibers, remember to clean your stencil back and front every time you use it, you must clean it before you reposition. Dry brush solid paint is less messy and does not make the material hard, it can be used on almost any kind of material and works wonderfully on polyester, silk, voile, cotton, linen, etc.,
Finishing: Before you can wash or dry-clean the fabric, you have just stenciled, you must heat set it, this can be done with a dry iron (no steam). Allow the paint to dry for 3 days then place a piece of absorbent paper over the design and with the iron as hot as the fabric will allow, press for 10 seconds on either side.
It's time now to choose your favorite stencil and start painting - Reusable Stencils