Thursday, July 26, 2012

DIY: 7 Steps to an Allover Wall Stencil

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A few weeks back, I decided that what my small cottage bedroom needed was an accent wall. The space was cute and clean, but utterly boring.

A typical update for a room might consist of repainting the walls, refinishing the floors (if they need it) and hanging a few new pictures.

But how do you give a room real personality? Adding wallpaper can lend character to a space, but good wallpaper is not only expensive, it's also very labor intensive.

I was willing to spend the money since I was only looking to do one accent wall, but the patterns I loved simply didn't come in the colors I was envisioning.  Which led me to stencils.

I discovered Royal Design Studio's Allover Patterns and found the answer to my design dilemma. After much deliberation, I chose the Hollywood Squares stencil.

Using stencils allows you to decide on your own color palette. You get a custom look for a fraction of the cost. The best part is that if you don't love it, or if you want to change the color later, all you need is a fresh coat of paint and you can start over. No stripping paper, and more importantly, none of the guilt that comes with wasting money.

I have a theory on pattern. Go big or don't waste your time. Small prints can be great, but if you are looking to make a small room look larger, or you want a real impact, go with a large, repeating pattern. DO NOT BE AFRAID.

So how do you do it? The hardest part for me was choosing the design. Have you seen the options? They are endless, and they are FABULOUS!

I'll go ahead and get the two questions everyone asks out of the way with a couple of answers:
1. No, it is not hard to do.
2. Yes, it is a fair amount of work. But it is worth it!

Without further ado, here's my method for stenciling an allover wall pattern...


Bubble level (I like a 3' metal one)
Can of spray adhesive ($8.99 at Michael's and INVALUABLE)
Drop cloth
Roll of paper towels and household cleaner (just in case)
Q-Tips (for any small bleeds)
Paint (I used Martha Stewart's Tiger Eye Metallic)*
Sponge (I used a flat sponge, sold in the tile section for grout removal, for my paint application and then tapped almost all of it off on paper plates)**

*An important note about your paint. The thicker the paint is, the easier it is to stencil. Watery paint runs. Metallics are watery.
**Yes, I sponged my wall. I never thought I'd sponge-paint anything again, but I had no choice.


    I prepped the wall by painting it with a semi-gloss white. I chose semi-gloss because that's the can I happened to have in my hand (we were painting trim) and I thought the sheen would look cool with the gold (it does).


    Just like you would when putting up wallpaper or tiling, start your pattern in the most conspicuous spot. I find the center point on the most dominant wall and start there. Your pattern will end equally at both corners of your main wall.
    Each pattern is different, and many people like to begin the pattern at the top of the wall and let it end wherever it ends up at the bottom, since most of it will be covered by furniture. I wanted to make going around this window as easy as possible, so I started below and got lucky with my pattern ending perfectly at the top.


    Spray a light misting of re-positionable stencil spray adhesive on the back of your stencil to keep  it flush with the wall and secure. This is critical. I tried tape and it helps, but the adhesive cuts your time in half.
    *NOTE: The adhesive needs to be sprayed outside! If you get this on your carpet, even Sears can't get it off and every speck of dirt will forever adhere to it. Please take my word for this.


Registration marks
    Getting the pattern level is CRITICAL for success. Use your large plastic bubble level and check the levelness of the pattern each time you move it by holding the level along one of the vertical or horizontal edges.

    The allover pattern stencils have the repeat registration cut into the mylar. It's a little L-shape in each corner. Simply position these over the previous stenciling to line up the pattern, then double-check with your level. Be sure that the paint you just applied is dry before placing the stencil over any area of it. I worked side to side to give each stencil some drying time.

Moving from left to right and back eliminated any smudging while lining up the registration marks.


    You can do this a number of ways, using a low-nap mini roller, a stencil brush (this will take you forever) or a sponge. I opted for the latter, but if I wasn't sleeping in this room and had been able to tape off the floors and woodwork, I would have used spray paint - no question. 
    Whatever you choose to use, remember that LESS IS MORE. You can add more paint, but too much will bleed under your stencil. This is going to take some time.

The edges weren't all perfect, so this is where the Q-Tips came in.


What do you think? When I mentioned to friends that I was painting our bedroom wall gold, I got a few quizzical looks, but I think it was just what this room needed.

In hindsight, I would recommend getting a friend to join you and turning the event into a girls' night. A cosmo and a partner would have made this project go a lot faster!   

Want to win a $50 credit to purchase a Royal Design Studio stencil of your very own? 
(plus free shipping!)
Simply visit the Royal Design Studio website and choose your favorite stencil. Then come back to Seaside Shelter and leave the name of the stencil in a comment at the bottom of this post.
To get an extra entry, “Like” Royal Design Studio’s Facebook page, then leave a comment there mentioning the Seaside Shelter giveaway and the name of your favorite stencil.
And for a third entry, "Like" Seaside Shelter on Facebook and leave a comment on our page with the words "RDS Giveaway" in it.
The giveaway ends in one week—good luck!

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  1. Your wall looks awesome. I love the scrollallover stencil. It would look great in my foyer.

  2. I LOVE your site and your wall! I had fun looking at all the stencils and have been wanting to try my hand. I really like the Rockin' Roses Damask Stencil or the Scrollallover Stencil. So beautiful!

  3. I love your stencil! You did such a beautiful job with it! I would love to do a room in the zebra stencil :)

  4. I had a hard time deciding on a favorite...but liked the Featherstitch and the Nova looking at all of your ideas...your Hollywood Sqyares wall looks great!

  5. When I first moved in to our home I stencil several bedroom. Selection few, today there are so many great ones available. I love how pretty you bedroom pops with the stencil! Adds charm and color! So glad you shared your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – your creativity helped make the party a success!

  6. Love the Donatella Damask Stencil!!

    Laura J.

  7. Love the Donatella Damask Stencil!!

    Laura J.

  8. I love the Hydrangea Stencil! So gorgeous :)

  9. This is a great post and it came out lovely. My favorite stencil is the Paris Postage Stamp Wall Stencil. Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  10. I liked their page on Facebook and I wrote on it as well :)
    Username: Fatty Bumpkins

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  11. I liked your page on Facebook and I wrote on your wall.
    Username: Fatty Bumpkins

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  12. Beautiful wall,
    I have been wanting to get the Japanese Hydranga Floral. I don't have anything to put it on yet. But hopefully will find something soon.

    I have liked your facebook page also & like Royal Design page a long long time ago.

    Thank you
    JJ Crouch
    Distinct Surfaces

  13. Also I "like" royal design on facebook!


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