I am so happy to report that the stenciling is done! WOOHOO!
And, as the world wide web as my witness, I will never stencil anything with such a repeating pattern ever again. 🙂 I’m open to something here or there on a wall, but something where the stencil repeats so often, and has to be so perfect, is not something I’m interested in tackling again.
Really, though, it turned out SO nice. I’m so happy with it – the green is perfect (Martha Stewart Beach Grass) and the metallic paint (Martha Stewart Precious Metals in Bone) shimmers just perfectly in the light! It looks like expensive Farrow & Ball hand-painted wallpaper, which is just the look I was going for. And with the trim painted white, it looks so close to being “done”. Of course the big sore thumb is the biggest project of all – the stairway! I can NOT wait until I get that painted! I’m so excited for a white stairway!
While I figure out what to do with that, here’s how I did the stenciling:
First, find a stencil you like. I found mine here, at the Jones Design Company blog. It even comes with a PDF stencil you can print out! The only thing I will warn you about now, though, is that if you print off the stencil, make sure to fold it in half both ways to make sure it’s symmetrical, because if it is not symmetrical, your alignment will be screwed up!
After I hit up the library to print off the stencil (we don’t have a printer, and black and white prints are free at the library), I picked up some plastic folders (I got 2 in case I made a mistake) to create my stencil, an idea I used from the All Things Thrifty blog. After cutting away the other half of the folder so I was left with one clear 8×12 piece, I got to work. Unlike her directions, I placed my printed stencil under the clear plastic, and traced it onto the plastic with a Sharpie. Then I used an exacto knife to cut out my stencil, leaving a section at the top and bottom to keep the middle in place.
Next, I assembled my supplies:
- Martha Stewart Beach Grass paint (already painted on the wall)
- Martha Stewart Precious Metals paint in “Bone”
- a narrow paintbrush
- a level
- a ruler
- a silver colored pencil
Originally, I was just going to stencil the design on with paint as I went, rather than drawing with pencil. My plan was to go every other row, so that the stencil wouldn’t touch drying paint. But, that proved to be too difficult and most of all, that method also didn’t produce the “painted” look I was going for. So, drawing by hand and then painting was the route I took!
I made sure that the ceiling, wall edge, and lower trim were level (miracle of all miracles, they were!) Then I placed my stencil on the wall and drew it on with my silver colored pencil. I drew the design in columns because I had the edge of the wall to keep me straight, and later I had the previous column as well as the stencil directly above to keep me straight. It was really pretty simple, it just took a lot of patience and a steady hand. I stenciled large sections by pencil and then painted them – the painting went a lot quicker than the drawing, and it was satisfying to see the wall become something new.
Here is the final result!
another view with the door:
There is a bump-out section on the wall with the stencil on it that I decided not to stencil. We’ll see how I like it over time and if I end up stenciling.
and a close-up of the stenciling!
I ran into 3 problems during this project:
- My first problem came 2-3 columns into tracing. The design was not lining up. I figured out it was because the stencil was not perfectly symmetrical – one end was longer than the other, and was throwing everything off. I folded the original paper stencil horizontally and then vertically, cut off the excess, and had to make a new plastic stencil.
- After erasing the couple rows and starting fresh, I later made the mistake of branching out horizontally, and got excited and began painting in my lines so I could see what it would look like. Drawing horizontally led my stencil to start sloping ever so slightly because I only had one finished edge to line up the stencil with, and when I came back with another couple rows, it didn’t line up! I had to sand the painted area and then repaint the wall!
- So after I started over, I only drew columns of stencils, and it worked great. There were places were it started to get a little wonky – maybe I was tilting the stencil ever-so-slightly, I don’t know, so I got out the ruler and level again and make sure things were straight from there on out, and then when it came to painting the wonky area, I just had to make a few brush strokes a little wider than others to make sure everything connected properly.