DIY Wall Stencil

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I did it!  I completed my stencil project!  This project was a biggie for me.  It is my first proper project of 2020 and one that I have been thinking about since forever.  Well, I completed stenciling the wall in my walk-in closet and while it was not as easy or didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned it, it is done and looks pretty good to me (which is the only thing that counts, right?).

DIY Stencil Project

Planning a DIY Wall Stencil Project

I did a lot of Pinterest research before deciding on the best way to get started on my project.  There are different types of stencils out there.  You can use poster board or actual stencil material.  You can trace your pattern on the wall and paint it afterwards, or you can paint directly on your stencil.  I went with the last option.

Stenciling - Before
Closet Wall Ready for Stenciling

Here is how I planned my project:

  • Measure the wall: left to right and top to bottom
  • Find a design to use
  • Finalize the size of your design to get full-size patterns
  • Print the design
  • Trace the design on stencil material (I ordered these sheets from Amazon)
  • Cut your design
  • Start stenciling

Complete supply list and total project cost located at the bottom of this post.

My Design

You can say I am slightly obsessed with the Moroccan trellis pattern.  I used it on the carpet on my stairs (DIY Stair Runner Refresh), the bench in my foyer, the rug in my bedroom and slight variations of it for some décor items all over the house.

DIY Stencil
Creating Your Own Stencil

The Process

I stood staring at the wall for the longest time trying to get started, and in the end, the best way was just to pick a corner and do it.  I started with the bottom left corner and worked my way from left to right.  It is tempting to do the next row right to left (you don’t have to move your ladder or scoot back over to the other side), but the pattern is still too wet and will get smudged.  Trust me, I tried to compensate and did a row with alternating patterns.  It was just too difficult to get it all to align this way.

Stenciling - Getting Started
First Row of Designs

So go back to the left side and work your way over to the right again.  I used blue painters tape to keep my stencil in place and was able to re-position the stencil using the same pieces of tape over and over.

Stenciling - During
Stencil Progress

I have wire shelving in my closet and while outdated, not something I am ready to replace at this time.  I have plenty of space for all my clothes and shoes and even store some general items in my closet.  For the stencil project, I decided to leave the shelves in place (I have two shelves on the back wall).  I painted all my full-size patterns first, leaving enough space below and above the shelves for another full-size pattern.  I then went back to my printed design and created two more stencils.  One for above and one for below the shelves.  Even with the new stencils, I still had to go back and complete some patterns by hand.

Stenciling - Almost Done
Wall Stenciling

My last bit of touch up was around the circles in my design.  To get a proper stencil, I had to cut half-circles, and when I painted, I left a little space between patterns.  I went back with a smaller paintbrush and just joined all the circles by hand.  I also touched up any other spots that needed it.

Stenciling - Open Circles
Completing the Pattern

What I Did Wrong

My biggest mistake was not marking the top of my stencil.  Why was this important?  My design was not a perfect square.  I wanted full images on my wall, and the final size of my design was going to give me this.  My final image was 9 1/2 inches wide and 10 inches high.  When I started stenciling, I accidentally turned my stencil sideways and when I got to the end of my wall, I couldn’t fit a full image.

Another mistake I made was using too much paint.  I was lazy here and didn’t want to do too much touch up work afterwards, and using too much paint caused some bleeding.  It is best to use as little paint as possible on your paintbrush.

And then there was the “marking the wall” mistake.  I used a pencil to get a horizontal line (when I was still planning on using a poster as a template) and I was under the impression that an eraser will remove my lines.  Mistake.  An eraser does not remove pencil lines or marks from walls.  Who knew?

Stenciling - Mistake
Ugly Pencil Line

My fourth mistake (yes, I made four mistakes in total) was the most surprising one.  I stenciled a pattern and then left my stencil in place to go fix dinner for the kids.  When I came back to my project a couple of hours later, my stencil was sticking to the wall and when I removed it, it removed a piece of the drywall paper as well.  Luckily, not in a very obvious spot, but still, I (and now you guys) know it is there.

The End Result

Even though I made too many mistakes, I still think the overall effect is exactly what I wanted.  Now that all my clothes and items are back in the closet, it covers most of my mistakes and besides.  I’m the only one that will probably ever scrutinize it so closely.  When it is time to sell, the new owners can easily cover the pattern up with a couple of coats of paint.

Stenciling - After

Can you see my pencil line in the after pictures?  Yes, I haven’t fixed that quite yet.  Maybe later today…

Supply List

  • Blank Stencil Material (I ordered these sheets from Amazon)
  • Stencil Printout on Paper
  • Craft Knife to Cut Design
  • White Paint
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Painters Tape
  • Ladder

Total Cost: $34.42

Have you stenciled a wall lately and did you make any mistakes?

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