How to Keep Acrylic Paint From Bleeding Under a Stencil

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Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer

  • Water-based soap

  • Coarse sponge

  • Rags

  • Piece of cardboard

  • Stencil

  • Stencil spray adhesive

  • Painter's masking tape

  • Acrylic spray primer

  • Acrylic spray paint

Stencils allow amateurs to produce sharp, professional-looking painted numbers, letters and designs. Unfortunately, when inexperienced do-it-yourselfers try to use a stencil, the paint often bleeds underneath, resulting in ugly smears and stains. Fortunately, you can prevent this occurrence by utilizing a stencil spray adhesive. This product effectively seals the entire stencil to the underlying surface so the paint does not bleed. Learn the proper way to enhance the surface's adhesive qualities or the stencil adhesive may not adequately adhere.


Step 1

Wash the surface to enhance its adhesive qualities. Rinse exterior surfaces using a pressure washer. Scrub interior surfaces with soap, using a coarse sponge. Rinse the soap with wet rags. Wait three hours for non-wooden surfaces to dry; wait five hours for wooden surfaces to dry.

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Step 2

Place your stencil face down atop a piece of cardboard. Coat the back of the stencil with a fine layer of stencil spray adhesive.


Step 3

Quickly attach the stencil to the surface before the adhesive has an opportunity to dry. Smooth the stencil with the palm of your hand. Tape down the edges of the stencil, using painter's masking tape.

Step 4

Coat the stencil with acrylic spray primer. Prevent the primer from running down the front of the stencil by keeping an 8-inch distance between the stencil and sprayer tip. Let the base primer dry for two hours.


Step 5

Coat the stencil with acrylic spray-paint. Prevent the paint from running down the front of the stencil by keeping an 8-inch distance between the stencil and sprayer tip. Gently remove the stencil before the paint has a chance to dry.


Be sure to thoroughly clean the surface you are working on, or unseen grease and/or foreign particles could prevent the stencil adhesive from bonding; this could cause the acrylic paint to bleed under the stencil.


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