Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tips for Stenciling a Not-So-Plumb Wall

I stenciled one small wall in our home to (cover my imperfect mudding job) add a pop of interest.  But our house is old and like most old houses, the walls are not plumb. 

Mandy, my sister-in-law at, made her dining room look very fancy by just stenciling her wall.
And it got me thinking how much interest stencils bring to a room! 

Wallpaper is a pain and my mom stenciled a lot of furniture and random objects when I was a little girl.  For those reasons, I thought that a wall in our house needed a good stenciling.

Luckily, said SIL had a few different stencils and offered to let me choose one to use in my home.  I loved her dining room wall, but when I got that stencil back to my house, it seemed too fancy for the little area that I was improving.  Since our last name (supposedly means) 'one who keeps bees', I chose a hexagon pattern that is reminiscent of a parts of a beehive but did it in a light turquoise so it wasn't too bee-ish.

I also chose to stencil this wall because it was new, and I am not fantastic at mudding new sheetroc - the stencil covered any and all of the wall's imperfections!

Tools for Stenciling:
  • stenciling brush (these have very stiff bristles and are usually rounded)
  • paper towel 
  • newspaper
  • paint, very slightly watered down
Stenciling Hints:
  • Water down your paint just a very little bit.  I take about a cup of paint and put around 2 Tbsp of water in it, then give it a stir (I've never measured, really, but I just turn on the faucet and let some water plop in - but I think it's about 2 Tbsp or a little over that).
  • The paper towel is to dab your paint off a bit.  Dip your brush into the paint, then give your brush a twist on your paper towel.  Then you can continue with the stenciling.
  • To stencil, keep your brush perpendicular to the surface your painting and "stamp" it.
  • Be patient
  • Stencil in order.  i.e. Left to Right, then let it dry and the left to right again, etc.

As you can see, this was a new wall and I wanted it to stand out a little.

My FIL showed me this little trick to cover imperfections on a new wall: mix sheetrock compound with your primer - about 1/2 and 1/2.  Then just roll it on.

The mixture.  You have to roll it pretty fast and not go over the same spot too often or it will come out uneven.  I was pretty nervous about trying it without Nate's dad here, but since I was covering it with stencil, it turned out that it didn't matter too much.

Finished wall with first stripe of my paint color.
So now to the stenciling: 
I used spray glue to help the stencil adhere to the wall as well as painter's tape.
For un-plumb walls, don't do it like this to "save time"!  You will have to paint over it and re-do: be patient and wait for one side of the wall to dry, then do the area right next to it...

....otherwise, you end up with this!  See how the two stenciled portions are too close together?
Remember the instructions on stenciling? Don't get in a hurry and glob too much on your brush or say to yourself: "It will be ok if I don't dab it this time" because then you'll have to spend more time going back to 'fix' the unclean lines.

Yes, go in order; left to right OR right to left Or up Or down, just be consistent and stay next to the place where you started.

Much better!  Here I waited for the one section on the right to dry, then moved on to the one in the center, and then the left and so on.  Then I was able to start again on the far right side and move toward the left again.