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Expert Tips on Working with Stencils for Outstanding Results

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You can use stencils to create attractive patterns on just about any surface or furniture in your home. The results depend on the kind of stencil, the surface, the type of paint, your technique, and your creative vision. Some proven techniques of working with stencils that produce results you will be proud of Working with Stencils:

Secure the Stencil

If the stencil moves when you are painting on it, you will have a blurred result. To ensure the stencil does not shift, you can use a spray adhesive on the back of the stencil or secure the stencil with painter’s tape. A spray adhesive is better because it can grip the entire stencil, unlike the tape that sticks to only a few places. If you are working with a vinyl stencil, you don’t have to bother with anything extra since the adhesive is already present on its back.

Place the Stencil Flat

You must make sure that the stencil lies flat on the surface you are painting on because, otherwise, the paint will seep underneath it and spoil the effect. If you want to stencil on uneven surfaces, you may wish to use a self-adhesive vinyl stencil that will follow the contours and stick to the surface without leaving gaps.

Use the Right Kind of Brush

You should never stencil using the usual paint brushes. Brushes for stenciling have a round head and have stiff and short bristles. You can also use a sponge to apply paint on wood stencils though it is better to use a fine brush for detailing. Using shot up and down movements with an almost dry brush produces the best results.

Go Slow On the Paint

You must never use too much paint on the brush. The right technique is to load the brush lightly with paint, wipe off excess paint on the rim of the paint can and on a cloth, and apply with firm and even strokes. For best results, apply two thin coats of paint, not a thick one that is more likely to run or bleed. You must wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next one. According to Silhouette School, you should always sand down wooden surfaces to reduce the chances of paint bleeding.

Use Mod Podge to Prevent Bleeding 

Paint bleeding under the stencil is an issue with stencil painting, even for experienced people. An effective way of preventing it is to use clear Mod Podge over the stencil to seal the edges so that you get a crisp line when you remove the stencil after painting. Apply the Mod Podge with a stiff brush and let it dry before starting to paint. To prevent the paint from bleeding, it is invariably better to start applying the paint from the outer edge of the stencil and work your way inward.


Using stencils is a fun and creative way of decorating walls and other surfaces at home. The patterns and effects, you can create are virtually unlimited, which is a big advantage over traditional wallpapers. While the technique is easy to master, you need to be patient and use the correct method to get the best results.