Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stenciling Thoughts

On Tuesday, I showed you our powder room make-over. 

A key part to this make-over was the Royal Design Studio Nova Trellis stencil. Royal Design Studio has a great stencil selection. Picking out a stencil was almost harder than the actual act of stenciling.  Almost.

image image

Speaking of stenciling.  I’m by far the first blogger to stencil a wall.  There are a lot of tutorials out there.  I found Young House Love's tutorial to be the most helpful. 

Here’s what I learned:

The Stencil: 

  • The stencil was made of a good quality material and held up through the entire process. 
  • The repeating pattern made it easy to keep the stencil level.  I don’t see straight.  I usually think levels are wrong.  Nate was impressed with how well I did.  Especially when the molding also ended up level with the stenciling.
  • The stencil was large which made long portions of wall go smoothly.  You could cover a large portion of the wall without having to reposition the stencil.  I loved the big reveal after completing a section of stencil.  It was almost like Christmas morning over and over again.
  • Corners and shorter portions of wall were more difficult.  I solved this problem by cutting out parts of the stencil to use in the corners and above the door.  Not the most ideal (or probably recommended) situation but it definitely worked.
  • Below is the best picture of the size of the stencil.  (I started stenciling above the window and then decided I preferred that portion of the wall white.  Stencils trump wall paper because changing back to white was easy.)


Time:  Stenciling takes a lot of time. A lot.  I think I spent 16-18 hours stenciling this room.  I am not a patient person so this was definitely a test for me. At one point I thought I may be stenciling well into my 80’s.  I’m also sometimes dramatic. 

Tools:  I used a disposable plate, bowl, foam stencil brush, painter’s tape, spray adhesive (brush and adhesive purchased at Michael’s), and patience.  I used the bowl to hold the paint and the plate to dab the excess.  The adhesive was helpful to hold the stencil in place on the wall.  Painter’s tape was handy on the corners.  You could probably get by with just the tape but I think the adhesive helped prevent the paint from bleeding through the stencil.

Paint:  I used Black Leather by Dutch Boy in an eggshell finish. I think the contrast of black and white is what makes this bathroom but it also made stenciling difficult.  Getting the right amount of paint is an art.  You need enough to fill in the stencil but not so much that it bleeds through.  Too little black is greyish.  Enough to get a deep black was a mess.  I found that practicing on cardboard was helpful.  The trellis pattern was very forgiving though. The tiny pixels may not individually be perfect but they blend well overall.  As seen below…eye trickery…



Would I stencil again?  Yes. I love how the room turned out.  The time was definitely worth it. I love how it has the look of wallpaper but isn’t.  I’d like to think that the process taught me patience but I don’t know that I would go that far.  I did find it mildly therapeutic after I got the hang of it.  I loved the selection at Royal Design Studio.  I  really wanted something unique and their wide variety of designs made this possible.

Any other questions regarding stenciling? I’ll answer them all! 

Do you like the look of stenciled walls?  Would you like a chance to win your very own stencil from Royal Design Studio to spruce up your space?  Stop back tomorrow for a giveaway for a free stencil!!


  1. Your room is amazing! Love the stencil and the bold graphic look. Cut dog, too!

  2. so glad for all the info you gave! i have an office wall that is just waiting to be stenciled and i've been so indecisive about what stencil to choose.... Great tips!

  3. i love the look of it, to, but man having done it before it is a royal pain! but so worth it- i agree 100 percent!

  4. Honestly, I'm not always a huge fan of stenciling, but I'm absolutely in love with how yours turned out. ALMOST enough in love to try it in our house, but I think my husband would hate me after the first two hours of stenciling, so....

    (hi my name is cindy and i'm super duper crazy impatient)

  5. Whew . . . 16-18 hours?! I think it looks so great, but I'm not sure stenciling is for me. If I ever get a house, develop some interior design taste, and have many to spare (the design trifecta!) I'll just hire you to fly out here to Utah and stencil my walls :-) You did a beautiful job!

  6. You're very brave! I have trouble committing to permant decor - but this rocks!!

  7. I love the look of stenciling, but I am way too lazy and impatient to attempt it on my own. LOL

    Just curious... why didn't you do all the walls?

  8. Hurray for stenciling! Just curious -- what made you go with the one you did? Was there a TON of options or did this one shine from the beginning? That's my biggest hesitation -- what to choose?!

  9. I've been wanting to stencil my walls since what seems like, the beginning of time. The only thing holding me back is that there is TOO much inspiration out there! I get too distracting liking this one day and that the next! Kudos on finding one you love, then just DOING it. I need more of that in my life.

  10. I have not stenciled a wall in about 10 years. you did a great job. It is alot of work. I wonder if its on a come back. I dont see your dog in any of these shots..must be napping.

  11. Oh wow, I had no idea it was so time consuming. I thought it would be an easy fix:( I'm not dissuaded though. Your room looks so fantastic!

  12. Thanks for the tips! I just received a stencil and will be making my first attempt shortly. This is helpful.

  13. It looks SO awesome! I'm glad you weren't still stenciling once you were in your 80s, because that would be painful, I think. Plus you'd have to keep stopping to do old lady things like take a bazillion pills and stuff.

  14. You had me until I read it took you 16-18 hours. I'd rather poke my eyes out! However, your powder room DID turn out beautifully, so...maybe it is worth a try. Perhaps on a very small accent wall.

  15. I think you were very brave to go with a dark color on white! I would have been too scared that it would bleed too much, but it came out great!! I think it was worth the 16-18 hours. I am going to keep in mine to use spray adhesive if I ever attempt this, I think that was very smart!

  16. It looks amazing and I admire your patience. I think I would have died!

  17. I have also recently purchased a bunch of stencils, some from RDS, and yes, picking them out was not easy. I love stenciling and recently did a smaller job so no adhesive but am planning to do my dining room soon (bigger space) and will definitely be using adhesive..great post and I am glad you will not be stenciling into your golden years!

  18. It looks absolutely amazing. 16-18 hours! That sounds like forever. Aren't you proud of yourself now that you've finished it!

  19. Thank you for the tips. Your bathroom looks fabulous! I've been reading that the stenciling process is a long one so I wouldn't take it personally. Can't wait to try it out.

  20. It turned out really nice; I love the contrast of the black and white =) I also just stenciled my 1/2 bath (or maybe we can call it a powder room) with a Royal Design Stencil. I am already planning on doing our living room; I wish I had seen your give away sooner!


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