How to Stencil Walls & Windowsills


Stencils add interest to a wall or windowsill, and you don't have to use wallpaper or complete a laborious process of faux finishing. All kinds of stencils are available at your local craft store, or you can buy stencil material to cut and make a custom stencil. You need to prepare properly and use the right stenciling technique to end up with designs that look amazing on your wall or windowsill. Make sure the area is clean and painted in a flat finish to help the stencil adhere properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray adhesive
  • Level
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paper plate
  • Stencil brush
  • Stencil sponge
  • Paper towels
  • Spray the back of the stencil with a coat of spray adhesive and wait 15 to 20 seconds for the adhesive to become tacky.

  • Adhere the stencil to your wall or windowsill in the area you want the stencil to appear. Use a level at the top of the stencil to make sure it's straight. Smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles in the stencil with your hand, and rub along the stencil cutouts to create a good bond between the surface and the stencil.

  • Pour the acrylic paint color of your choice onto a paper plate. If you are using several different colors on the stencil, pour each color of paint onto the plate.

  • Dab a stencil brush or sponge into the first paint color and swirl the loaded brush or sponge onto a paper towel to remove excess paint. There are two basic methods of stenciling -- stippling and swirling. Stippling produces an even coat of paint with little depth and shading variation. Swirling produces depth and shading as you vary the pressure on the brush or sponge. To stipple, dab the open areas of the stencil with the tip of the brush until the entire space is colored in. Swirling involves flattening the brush tip slightly and using a circular motion to fill in the open spaces.

  • Add shading to the stencil by painting just along the edge of the stencil using the stippling method.

  • Allow the stenciled paint to dry before removing the stencil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean stencils with warm water and soap to remove paint. Store them flat for future use.
  • Consider applying an acrylic spray protectant to stencils on high-traffic areas.
  • To add a distressed look to your stenciled area, rub sandpaper along the paint to wear some of the paint away.

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  • Photo Credit Henry Gan/Photodisc/Getty Images
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