A few weeks ago I actually went around the house and placed sticky notes on everything I want done in the near future. Spoiler Alert: There's a LOT of sticky notes.
Eric laughs at my system, but seeing a yellow Post-it that reads, "Paint me!"stuck to the kitchen wall is a constant reminder to stop watching so much Dawson's Creek and do something with my life!
I've been seeing amazing wallpaper options across the mighty Internets recently. And I'm not talking your old Aunt Bessie's The Birth of Venus-themed wallpaper. I'm talking beautiful, drool-worthy, modern prints.
However, wallpaper presents several challenges that I'm not able to forgive. First, it's wicked expensive. (I'm looking at you, Anthropologie! You know what you've done.) Second, it's too permanent a decision. Once you wallpaper a wall, it's not so easy going back, especially not on our horse-hair plastered beauties. Besides, wallpapering Maddie's dollhouse was a bit of a disaster. Can you imagine? Quell nightmare....snort.
So as much as I love all the wallpapering prettiness I'm seeing, it's not an option that will work well for us. Here's where stenciling comes in...It's just as pretty, cheap, and can easily be undone with a new coat of paint!
Ever since I saw the stenciling job on Young House Love, I've wanted to do something similar in our house. (Let's face it, by the time they're done with us, our entire world is going to look like John and Sherry's house. I even have my eye on a ceramic Ibex head for our dining room. It's a serious problem...)
After months of stalking Royal Design Studio's website, I finally bit the bullet and bought the small "Berry Romantic" allover stencil. (Young House Love has a discount code!)
I had intended on stenciling the entryway to the house, but Eric sighed and winced enough to convince me otherwise. He's probably right since it would involve a very tall ladder, and I've got moves like a hippopotamus.
Not to be totally deterred, I turned my attention to the office. (By the way, I feel lame saying "office" like we have need for a room devoted to all the important Pinterest-gawking, Facebook-stalking, and Sporcle-quiz playing we do.)
Enough small talk, let's get right down to it, shall we?
- Martha Stewart Stencil Brush Set
- I bought the brushes at Michael's. The different sized brushes help me get into all the nooks and crannies of the stencils, and they've held up well as I've used and abused them.
- Removable Spray Adhesive
- Painter's Tape
- Paper towels, Q-Tips and a spray bottle for quick cleanups.
- Something to keep paint in...cups, trays, paper plates, etc.
Quick Note: If you are thinking of stenciling yourself, and are the kind of person who needs a solid plan, I highly recommend visiting Royal Design Studio's website where they offer some tutorials, and also checking out Sherry's tutorial on Young House Love. Cause, brudda, I'm no expert. (Since I'm not big on getting bogged down in directions, I just kinda slapped the stencil on the wall and started painting.)
Here's what I've learned thus far:
- I keep my paint in two Handy Paint Cups. This way, I am able to securely hold the paint in one hand while keeping my stenciling brush in the other. I swirl my brushes against the inner rim of the cups to remove any excess globs of paint every time I reload my brush.
- As per the package directions, I started in the middle, highest section of one wall and am working my way down and out from there. This ensures that your pattern aligns properly.
- The spray adhesive and some painter's tape are more than enough to secure the stencil to the wall. So far, I haven't had any problems with the patterns shifting or slipping while painting. In fact, one good spray of adhesive will last through a several removals and reapplications.
- My mother warned me that stenciling takes very little paint. True story. A few early tries yielded some blurry, blobby berries. Nobody wants that. You can always add a second or third thin layer of paint if needed, but there's no taking back the blob.
- When applying paint, you are supposed to swirl the brush in small circles. I started off trying to dab the paint, which didn't work so hot. Much like in Seinfeld, the swirl is the key. Paint will get all over the stencil. That's okay. The windows in the stencil will take care of the pattern for you.
- I learned quickly to start with the lighter color. Some parts of the pattern, particularly the twigs, are quite small, and it's nearly impossible to stop the paint from overlapping into other areas. When I added the darker colors for the berries, I could easily cover up any lighter paint that wasn't supposed to be there.
- Every so often I use a level to make sure my pattern isn't getting crooked. For the most part, lining up the pattern is pretty easy. It has extra windows built in that help you align the stencil almost perfectly. However, I did say "almost perfectly," which is why the level comes in handy to keep me on the path of righteousness.
- Easy except for corners....Corners suck, especially when there's moulding in the room. The stencil is quite bendy, so you don't have to be afraid to really shove it into the creases. Also, even though the stenciling in the corners is far from perfect, you'd never notice unless looking very closely. Those crafty stencil engineers design these things well.
- I do not stop to clean the paint off the stencil after every application. Maybe I should, but I do not. Don't worry, not enough paint creeps on to the back of the stencil to ruin the walls. However, after a while the paint builds up, and I noticed my berries getting smaller and smaller and smaller. My solution is to peel the dried paint off the stencil every so often. It comes right off. If you were the kid that used to cover your hand with Elmer's Glue just so you could peel it off, this step will be very satisfying for you. It might even save a bundle on therapy.
- Finally, and most importantly, stenciling takes a LONG ASS TIME! On my first day, I spent a full five hours painting, and I only got this much finished:
Granted, I'm doing an entire room instead of just one wall or border, so this insanity is all of my own making. As it is, after about a total of 20 hours working on this project, I only had a wall and a half complete. I'm currently a little further along....maybe half way?
It's a slow process, but I'm very happy with the results so far!
Someday, maybe by Thanksgiving, when it is finished, I'll post pictures of the final product.
Have any stenciling tips for me? Just finishing a project of your own? Let me know!