Stencil How To's

Stencils are a wonderful and inexpensive way to decorate or give your home an updated look.  Stencils are easy to use and allow anyone to be an instant artist.

Update a piece of furniture or make yourself a pretty french pillow using one of our stencils to add your own style to a room. Just follow some simple guidelines and you will soon become addicted to stenciling.

If you are new to stenciling try practicing on some cardboard first before tackling your first project.  Just keep practicing until you feel confident.


The single most important element of stenciling is adhering the stencil to your surface.  If you don't  get complete adherence of the stencil to your surface the paint will seep underneath.  You will have success with stenciling if you follow the steps below.

We recommend using a spray adhesive.  We use Elmer's Spray Glue available everywhere but any kind of spray adhesive will work.  Spray the entire back of the stencil about 8 inches from the stencil.  To make the stencil repositionable wait a couple of minutes before placing the stencil on your surface.  The reason for waiting is if you need to reposition the stencil the adhesive could damage your surface.  Case in point:  I painted a canvas with a base coat and wanted to stencil over the base coat.  By spraying the adhesive and then immediately placing it on the painted canvas when I went to remove it some of the base coat came off with the stencil.  That taught me to use a sealer on the base coat before applying the stencil with the adhesive.  So I just learned to use spray adhesive and wait a couple of minutes before applying to my surface.

Once you are happy with the placement of the stencil you will want to make sure ALL areas of the stencil are completely adhered to your surface.  With a finger go over EVERY edge on the stencil, every cut out part to make sure its securely attached to the surface.  Then I always use a brayer or you can use a can of soup to roll over the entire stencil.

The paint can't seep underneath the stencil if its well secured to your surface.


You can use any kind of paint that you may have on hand.  Some people only stencil using spray paint - a very fast way to stencil.  You can also use latex house paint, craft paint or even inks. 

If stenciling on fabric I would recommend fabric paint for a soft affect, available at craft stores.

My favorite stencil medium are the stencil creams in the little pots.  You can keep them for practically ever as long as you keep the caps on tight.  Stencil creams are the consistency of shoe polish.  When you remove the cap you will find a "skin" over the cream.  Just take a paper towel and pull the skin off and underneath will be the paint.

The reason I prefer stencil cream over paint is control over the application of the cream and less seepage underneath the stencil.  Stencil creams are available at craft stores in several colors.


My favorite method of applying paint is with a stencil brush available at craft stores.  Stencil brushes are dense, short and stiff and work best with the stencil creams I use.

Many people prefer sponges.  You can use a sea sponge or cut up a kitchen sponge.  Triangular makeup sponges also work well. 

If you are only using one color with your stencil a high density foam roller makes it a very quick project.  I get mine at home improvement stores in the paint section.  They are short and come with a little tray.  If you are going to be stenciling a lot of projects this may be the way to go.  Just make sure all edges are adhered to your surface. 

The best advice I can give you would be to practice first to get the hang of it.

Good luck and happy stenciling!