Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stenciled Wall Tutorial

As you  know I am working on a bedroom makeover for my little guy .  If you missed my post Sneak Peak at My Little Man's Room go check it out.   It will give you a little preview of where this room is headed.  Let's just say I love midcentury lines mixed with traditional elements in a child's room, so this room is going to have a good mixture of both.  

This room has to double not only as my littlest man's room, but when company comes for a visit I will be kicking him out to stay in his big brother's lower bunk bed.  Can you relate?   I don't want to the room to scream kid, I want it to be a place where my mom, or my hubby's parents feel comfortable when they come for a visit.    Most of the choices I have made for this room are age neutral, in fact, maybe a little too age neutral; so I decided to jazz his space up a little by stenciling a wall.  I wanted the look of wall paper, but it was not in my budget, so a stencil was the prefect option.

I chose this owl stencil from Hobby Lobby.  It was going to  cost me a whole $2.99, but Hobby Lobby has a 40% off coupon on line, so it was less than $2.00 with taxes!  Talk about a lot of bang for the buck! 

Other materials I needed for this project included paint, painters tape, canvas drop cloth, foam roller, and spray adhesive.   Many of these items I already had from other projects.  But I did need to buy paint.  I bought a quart of paint, but I could have gotten away with one of those small paint samples.  My total costs for this project was less than $20, which was great because as you know I set a low budget of $1000 for this whole room.
Here are the steps I took to stencil my son's wall.

1.  Start with a freshly painted wall.  I taped off the edges of my wall.  I tend to get a little sloppy at times, and this painter's tape helped cut down on my whoops moments.  Spay the back of the stencil with spray adhesive.  I found mine at Lowes.  Make sure to buy the least tacky option, you want to be able to reposition the stencil.  You do not want it to stick permanently!  Yikes, that would be a mess!  Only spray your stencil once, it will stay sticky enough to get you through your whole project.  If you spray it twice (like I did) then you will leave glue residue all over your wall.  It is a mess.  I started my pattern in the top left corner.  I wanted to make sure that if I got off course, it would be hidden by the curtain panels on the other side of the room. 

2.  Stencil, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat....
I do want to share a few tips with you.  All of the directions I have read about stenciling say to make sure you to rid your paint brush/roller of excess paint.  I can't emphasis this step enough.  Above is a picture of what the correct amount of paint rolled on should look like, can you see that the paint is not saturated on the wall, in fact, in some areas i thought that I had not gotten enough paint on the wall, and that somehow these owls would look gray and not black when I pulled the stencil off.  These owls turned out to have the best lines.  Here is a tip, if you are painting in black paint then you will have black owls, never gray, black is black, just like any other color you paint will be that color.   When I started the project this is how much paint I put on the roller....and then the wall.

Can you see the difference?

  When you put this much paint on the wall, it will bleed through, under the stencil.  When I finally got the process down, I found myself only reloading my roller every 20 moves, so that is 80 owls before I dipped my roller back in the paint.  When reloading, I only dipped the roller in the paint on one side, then I rolled off the excess paint. (Do not roll the roller around in the paint like you would when painting a wall.  You will have way too much paint on your roller.)

I was able to eyeball my line of owls.  I laid out my row following the ceiling line and then I lined my stencil underneath and continued to paint.  I did find my owls to be a little off, but the curtains at the other end of the room hide this imperfection.  If you don't have curtains to hide your mistake, I would recommend using a level and a piece of chalk to draw lines on your wall.  Once you are finished stenciling, just wipe the chalk off.  (A lot easier than using a pencil and going back and erasing all your lines).


I finished the body of the wall, and then I did my edges.  If you want this to look like wallpaper, then you need to stencil up into the corners.  This will mean that some of the design will not be complete.  That is okay, and gives it the wall paper look.  Simply tape off the corner, and the wall you do not want to stencil so there is no over painting.  Then stick your stencil on the wall with it folding onto the other wall.  Paint carefully. 

At the bottom of this picture is the baseboard.  Do you see how the last row of owls are missing their feet?  It is all part of making the wall look like wallpaper. 

3. Touch up...My final step is touching up all of my mistakes.  No matter how hard I tried, at times I over-painted the stencil.  For this step, just take a small hard bristled brush ( I used a small stencil brush, hmmm, little ironic don't you think) dab a small amount of your base wall color on the brush and paint over your mistake.  It is kind of like putting concealer on over a blemish.  I repeated this process a couple times!  :)

This stenciling project may seem overwhelming, but it was really quite simple, and is not as time consuming as you may think.  I had about 4 hours into this entire project, and less than $20.  Not bad for such a large statement wall.  I can't wait to show you his finshed room.  I have a few more projects, and then, the reveal.  Next week I am going to show you how to sew a bolster pillow for the bed. (You know the kind that run the width of the bed)  I am seeing them everywhere these days, and it costs a fortune to have one custom made.  I  made mine for less than $25!  Including the down pillow form.  Here is a little preview.

Do you see a hint of owls in the background?  I really can't wait to show you this finished room!


I linked this project up to a few parties.  Check out our where we party page.


  1. I LOVE your owls! This is going to be SO cute. Can't wait to see it all finished!

  2. Wow! Great job keeping those owls straight. That owl wall really adds a graphic punch.

  3. oh my gosh, that is so cute! i've never seen this stencil or really anything like this, which i think is a huge feat in blogland! well done!

  4. I love the owls- I have seen some of these projects and always thought they look like a ton of work- thanks for giving the breakdown of how to do it and how long it took. Great job!

  5. Love, Love, Love it!!! If you look under "labels" on my Site for "Sara's Room Makeover", you will see how we stenciled her french pink walls with a grey damask design. Kudos on a great job here!!!

  6. Cute owls! I love the stencil, and your work is amazing! Visiting from Frugal Girls. Heather

  7. Got a crick in your neck now? You did a great job.

  8. Great job! Stenciling is one of my fave techniques in putting up a wall art. simple and yet completely adorable.

  9. fabulous - and so worth the effort. I'm currently (almost finished) hand painting my guest bathroom. Can't wait to show it off - probably Monday (there are a couple of small items I need to finish first).

  10. So cute!! Love the owls. The room is going to be adorable!!

  11. Seriously. I have the biggest crush on your blog!! Just today I was day dreaming about my laundry room spruce up and wondering what I can do to get the look of wallpaper without having to wallpaper. And, then I open this blog post!! I'm very inspired. I love love love how this turned out! So graphic and fun! :)

  12. What a darling stencil, and it does look like wallpaper! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  13. I love owls, I love this wall and I love your blog! Enough gushing - I'm a new Linky follower.

  14. Seriously this is beyond cute, so very, very, very cute and what cool looking owls. Love it. I want to stencil my hallway, but haven't figured it out yet, Love yours, so very cute. I think I said that already, but what else can I say.

  15. What a unique accent wall for your little boy's room! Great job! :)

  16. Lovely work on wall paint! I’m definitely going to visit the blog frequently.

  17. I just came across your blog, through the 36th Avenue, O.M.G. your little boys room is beyond adorable, but this owl stencil is so absolutely precious!! So glad you shared!!


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