Sep 22, 2013

my first stenciling project

all-over stencils are a great way to get a high end wallpaper look at a fraction of the cost of wallpaper. i personally love the way they look, and think they are a smart and budget conscious way to add that extra layer of pattern to a room. since i have been renting for the last 5 years, i haven't tackled a stencil project...until last weekend. i am considering another stencil project for one of my daughters rooms upstairs, but decided to test out my skills in my closet first. boy, and i am glad i did!

after an exhaustive search for the "perfect" stencil, i stumbled onto a site called stencil boss and ended up purchasing this one, called the "ada morocco" stencil.  this shop has a great selection, including many stencils that i have never seen before.
 i wanted something that was feminine without being frilly, and i loved the balance of geometric shapes and softness of this particular stencil.

i wanted the paint to be a soft gray, and also have some shimmer to it, so i added some gold craft paint to a few gray samples that i had around the house. by the way, the gold paint did absolutely NOTHING to the color. nada. zip. i looked into buying a metallic glaze from lowes, but it was nearly $14 and i decided i would see if the craft paint would give me that slight pearlescent look that i was after. the soft gray was nice, but there was NO metallic sheen to be, if you want that soft, shimmery look, you may want to NOT be a cheapskate and get the metallic glaze!

anyway, onto the stenciling---
what i thought would take 3 hours took NINE.
yes, nine.
and by the end, i was pretty exhausted and feeling very impressed with all of those other people out in blogland that have attempted this project.
now keep in mind that i was stenciling around all of the closet built-ins and shelving, which make the task quite a bit more difficult than it would have been on a flat wall....but still--it was not easy!

about half way through the project, i had to stop and wash off the stencil, which took nearly 45 minutes, and made a mess out of my kids tub. i was not prepared for how long it would take to get the paint off of the stencil, but really impressed with how well it held up to my scrubbing!

after the major work was done, i realized that i still needed to get the corners!
it was already 10 pm at this point, and i was getting grumpy.

instead of cutting or bending the stencil to get into the corners, i decided to tape them off and paint a charcoal band around the ceiling, at the corners of the walls and around the closets shelving.

all in all, i am reasonably happy with the way it came out.
would i RATHER have a great thibaut or schumacher wallpaper in there?
yeah. probably.
and maybe one day i will cover up my masterpiece with something that i fall in love with, but for now, i love the dimension and personality that the stencil adds! it makes it fun to get dressed every morning, and adds the perfect feminine touch to a space than many of us neglect to decorate.

(another  weird panoramic iphone picture. it was midnight and i guess i was having trouble keeping my hand straight!)

i will have some great finished pictures of this space coming later in the week, so stop back by!

what about you? 
have you tried an all-over stencil project in your house?
any tips for me, since i will most likely still attempt another stencil in my daughters room?


  1. Hi Autumn -- nice job on the stencil. Your idea to tape off a border around the edges was GENIUS!!! I stenciled an accent wall in one of guest bedrooms with a stencil I won from Cutting Edge Stencils. What a pain! Walls are never straight or plumb (especially in the corners) so your idea would have worked really well for me. Maybe next time.

    Also, I too wanted a monochromatic. pearly look (I'm actually color-phobic, not fashion forward) so I ended up choosing a gallon of Martha Stewart's metallic paint from Home Depot? Lowes? Can't remember. Anyhooo, it turned out to be almost the exact same shade as my wall paint so I got that subtle shimmer I wanted.

    The stencil went wonky in a few places, but I got too tired to care and figured the bed would cover it. Nine hours and you still had the energy to tape, edge and photograph? You're a better woman than I am . . . .

  2. I think it's turning out lovely! We stenciled one wall in our last home ikat. I wanted that pearlescent look as well, and didn't want to shell out the money at Lowe's either, so I stenciled over a white semi glossy wall, which in person gave it a pearlescent look, believe it or not. The only issue is that it took months to finish because the stencil would not adhere to the glossy wall very well, of course.

    Lesson learned, I won't be doing that again and will just buy the pearlescent paint.

  3. It looks like fabric with the bands added.. awesome!!!

  4. Wow! I love it and I think you are amazing..... No, I would not have had the stamina! I've wanted to try stencils in my bathroom and keep looking. But i'm going to try Stencil Boss : never heard of them before. Thanks for showing us!!

  5. I love your honesty when you post. It really makes me laugh how you do the same things I do and just want to scream. I have not tried an all over stencil...I have bought one, 2 years ago, but have not gotten up the nerve to do it. After reading this, I just might pass. I bet if you had a helper it might of gone faster, but it turned out beautiful!