A stencil is a die-cut pattern that’s used to apply a design to a surface such as a wall. Using a special type of stiff bristle brush, you apply paint with an up and down pouncing motion over the cutout areas. When the stencil is removed, the painted design is revealed on the wall.

You’ll find a wide variety of pre-cut stencil designs for creating borders, overall motifs resembling wallpaper, and murals in hobby and craft stores. Stenciled designs are used to add architectural interest and to highlight an area with hand painting. It’s a good way to decorate any room. Choose the design and colors that best suit your decorating style.

  1. Carefully plan the placement of your stencil designs. If you’re stenciling a border around a room, measure the stencil and the area to which it will be applied so you can alter the design if necessary. For example, you don’t want to end in the middle of a flower. Space the placement of each stencil element so you don’t end awkwardly. Use a level and lightly mark the area in which the design will be contained so you keep it straight.
  2. If the design requires more than one color, you’ll want stencil all the areas in one color only all the way around the room before applying the next color.
  3. Secure the stencil to the wall with masking tape.
  4. The trick to a successful project is to keep your brush practically dry. Therefore, dip your brush lightly into the first color paint to be used. Pounce the brush up and down on newspaper a few times to remove excess paint.
  5. Press one hand firmly against the stencil while applying the paint with the other. Use an up-and-down tapping motion to apply the paint to the cutout area. Work from the edges toward the center to avoid seepage. You want to get a clean, sharp image.
  6. Carefully remove the stencil paper from the wall to reveal the finished design. Reposition the stencil and continue to apply more paint. If the design is to overlap or if you are using more than one color, wait for the first application to dry before continuing.