Wall stencils are a great way to add flare to any paint project. They look great and add personality to otherwise monotone walls.
You can use a wall stencil to decorate or personalize a room. You can create a stylish accent wall. You can use a wall stencil instead of messy and complicated wallpaper. You can create your own faux backsplash or faux brick wall. The possibilities are endless!
It can be hard to find a pre-made wall stencil that you love, especially at an affordable price. A great solution is to make wall stencils yourself! It’s easy and fun and you can get exactly what you want.
Did you know that doing something creative like painting makes you a happier person? Doing a creative, hands-on project can make you feel less anxious, boost your self-esteem, make you feel a sense of accomplishment and reduce stress.
On top of all that, you get a great, personalized result that is all your own.
How to Make Wall Stencils In 10 Easy Steps
1. Pick out your stencil pattern
The first step when you set out to make wall stencils is to pick out your pattern. You may have something in mind already, and if you’re super artistic you can draw a pattern yourself!
For those of us who are less gifted, search the web for a pattern you like.
You can search for free stencil patterns and print them out.
Pinterest is a great way to get inspiration if you’re having trouble figuring out what to settle on.
If you’ve never painted with stencils before, try to pick a simpler pattern rather than one with tiny and complicated lace-like details.
2. Pick out your paint color
If you’re not sure what color to go with, check out HGTV’s Color Trend Predictions.
There are no hard and fast rules as to what color your stenciled image should be.
You can choose a stark contrast, such as black on a white wall. You could go with a vibrant accent color or a soothing jewel tone.
You could do a gorgeous gold or bronze paint for something unique.
If you like, you can even keep it simple with a color that only slightly contrasts the wall underneath it- just test it out and see how the color looks when it dries to make sure it will show up.
You can also pick more than one color!
It’s really up to what your heart desires.
3. Measure your space
Whatever space you are painting, measure it before you start painting the stencil onto it.
The key thing when you make wall stencils is to make sure the pattern you envision fits on the space you have in mind.
If you’re intending to repeat the pattern, measure out how many times your chosen image will fit across the wall. You may want to alter the size and/or design of your stencil to make the project a little easier.
This will also remind you if you need a ladder or other supplies for your project to be done right.
4. Prep the wall, it’s your “canvas”
This is key. If you’re putting in all the time and effort to make wall stencils, you want to start with a clean surface.
Paint won’t stick to moisture, dust, or other grime build up on walls, so make sure they are clean.
Repair any nail or screw holes or other imperfections on your “canvas” wall.
You may even want to paint a new base color before using your stencil, if you do so, don’t forget to allow ample drying time before applying the stencil pattern.
Remove any artwork, light switch covers, or anything else that you don’t want to be painted.
5. Shop for supplies
To make wall stencils you will need the following:
- Stencil Sheets (Usually made of clear sheets of plastic, they should be thick enough to hold their shape and not flop over. It doesn’t hurt to get extras in case you mess up).
- Marker to trace your pattern. A more complicated pattern calls for a more finely tipped marker.
- Measuring tape
- Cutting Mat (unless you have a good dry & flat work surface you’re willing to risk getting cut up).
- Adhesive Spray (optional but it helps your stencil seal temporarily to the wall).
- Masking tape (strong enough to hold your stencil in place but come off clean).
- Painter’s tape
- Brush or Paint Sprayer
- Drop Cloth
- Other paint supplies depending on your projects, such as paint trays or spill guards
6. Make your stencil
Once you have gathered your supplies, it’s time to make wall stencils!
Place your chosen pattern or design under the stencil sheet.
Trace the pattern carefully. A ruler will definitely come in handy if your stencil has a lot of straight lines.
Cut out the design, keeping in mind that anything you cut out will be painted on the wall.
If your design calls for it or you are painting a large space, make several stencil sheets and tape them together. This will help your project move along more quickly and keep your measurements precise.
7. Practice makes perfect
Once you make wall stencils you are happy with, try them out!
Make sure you are comfortable placing and removing the stencil and that the finished product looks like what you want.
Practice on a piece of cardboard or other disposable supply.
Not only should you test your pattern, test how the stencil sticks to the wall.
A little bit of spray adhesive on the back of your stencil can make it just tacky enough to help it temporarily seal to the wall, keeping the edges of your design crisp.
Once you are set on your stencil, paint color, and tackiness, you can finally get going!
8. Stick your stencil to the wall
Mount your stencil to the wall, tacky side down. Check that it is level and then tape the edges down to the wall. Make sure all parts of the stencil sit flat against the wall.
That trick from step 7 (using spray adhesive) is really important if you have a complicated or intricate design. Your stencil will look best if it is crisp and consistent, so make sure you don’t have any pesky curling edges.
Of course, give the spray adhesive time to dry, you’re not trying to stick this to your wall forever, that would defeat the whole point!
9. Paint your heart out!
Paint sprayers are an awesome match with wall stencils. You can also use a roller, sponge brush, or other brush, just make sure to cover areas you don’t want to be painted.
Also, don’t use too much paint, you don’t want any drips messing up your fabulous design.
It really depends on what type of painting tool you are using as far as specific paint techniques. Practice using your tool beforehand for best results.
After you’ve completed painting the stencil, carefully remove it. Admire your work and move on to the next spot!
If you are stenciling a repeating pattern, check for any paint on the back of the stencil and wipe it off. Place the stencil in the new position and secure it down to the wall.
Repeat until the project is complete!
Give your work plenty of time to dry before rehanging art, moving furniture back, etc.
Feeling inspired? Here are some ideas that you can stencil your heart out with.
Accent wall in home or office
Backsplash in kitchen
Add a fun pattern to a kids room or nursery
Garden shed or garage
Try painting with a pattern of alternating, fading, or even ombre colors.
Create a night sky on the ceiling of a kids room with glow in the dark paint
Paint a creative photo tree with magnetic paint
Stencil a calendar with chalkboard paint
Make wall stencils to paint a faux brick or faux wood pattern.
Make alphabet letter stencils to add a name to a nursery or an inspirational quote to the wall.
You can also use stencils to paint furniture, rugs, lampshades, doors, the doghouse, or stencil frames around posters.
If your stencil looks fab covered in colors after you’re done, frame it and put it in another creative space!
A make your own stencil project is really about what pattern and colors make you happy. Enjoy the process and avoid mistakes by not rushing.
If it’s your first time stenciling, set yourself up for success and keep it simple.
Learning how to make wall stencils is a great way to save some money on your design budget, and it’s fun and rewarding, too!
Check out our other great posts on the Tool Nerds Blog, such as “The Essential Guide to The Different Types of Paint Used in Sprayers” and “9 Common Painting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.”
Our Infographics also come in handy.