About Stenciling

Stenciling is a craft with many different applications. A stencil pattern is cut out of a thin sheet of material. The material can be paper, plastic or metal. Stenciling is a relatively easy, and inexpensive, way to add decor and patterns to surfaces because the paint is simply applied to the pattern to create pictures and designs.

How Stenciling Is Done

About Stenciling

The prepared [stencil](https://homesteadycom/how-5159733-stencilhtml) sheet is held in place over the surface to be stenciled.  Securing the stencil with tape will help ensure that the stencil does not shift.

After the stencil is secured, paint is loaded onto the applicator and lightly applied through the holes in the stencil.  Paint should be applied slowly and sparingly for the most uniform results.

Paint can be switched to achieve a multicolored stencil design. 


There are several common types of stencils.  Pre-cut stencils are one of the most popular because they are inexpensive and easy to use.

Another type is a stencil sheet that can be cut out by the user.  There are also stencil designs that involve multiple layers for creating more intricate patterns on surfaces.

The layers must be applied in a certain sequence to achieve the desired results.  Many websites offer stencils that can be printed out and transferred to a plastic sheet.

Decorating Ideas

There are many different decorating applications for stencils.  Stencil borders can be painted at the top of a wall.

A border can also be painted at chair rail height.  By using several different designs, a mural can even be applied to a wall.

Stenciling can also add color and interest to dressers, shelves, headboards and tables.  Additionally, stenciling can be used to embellish clothing, linens, curtains and even lampshades.


Masking tape is necessary for holding the stencil to the surface.  Stencil brushes or applicators are required for applying the paint through the stencil pattern.

A level is helpful if stenciling is being applied onto a large surface and horizontal or vertical lines need to be created.  Paint will be needed in whatever colors are necessary.

A tape measure will help to make sure the stencil is centered and will fit into the desired area.  Paper towels are needed for cleaning and blotting paint.

Additionally, a pencil will come in handy for a variety of purposes when completing a stenciling project. 


Thicker paints are best because thinner paints will tend to run between the stenciled areas.  If more than one color is applied to a single opening, the paints can be blended to add texture and depth.

Paper stencils are easy to find and make and work well for beginners.  After the paper stencil has been used, allow it to dry completely and then place it between the pages of a heavy book to flatten it out and prepare it to be used again If a stencil is applied to an object or an area that receives high traffic or use, consider applying a water-based sealant after the paint has dried.

Allow the sealant to dry for several days. 

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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