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Stencil Techniques

How To Stencil - Techniques

Stenciling is a dry brush technique. That means that your brush must look and feel dry. You should be able to rub the brush across the back of your hand and see only a blush of color. The most common mistake of the beginner is too much paint on the brush. Remember, in stenciling you will waste more paint than you will use.

Loading the Brush
Apply a quarter size dab of acrylic craft paint onto a Styrofoam plate. Dip your brush straight down into the paint. Using a circular motion, rub the brush on a double layer of Bounty® paper towel folded in half. Continue until all the wet paint is off the brush. Look at the bristles of the brush. If you see wet paint, you will need to rub some more. The brush should look dry.

Applying Paint
There are two techniques commonly used in stenciling. Each is equally effective. Practice both to see which is more comfortable for you or which achieves the look you desire. In both methods, (especially swirling) be sure to keep your brush perpendicular to the surface.

Pouncing Method Gently tap the wall surface in the cut out areas of the stencil. Begin at the edges of the stencil and work your way toward the center areas. This method produces a more textured look.

Swirling Method Cover the area by swirling the brush, again beginning at the edges and working your way toward the center areas. This method produces a much softer look and is easier on the arms.

Shading is achieved by applying a contrasting color or applying more pressure and working the edges again. We usually shade with a smaller brush. Keep most of the brush on the plastic. In a circular motion lightly tickle or hug the edges of the design. Shading is an important step that will add dimension to your finished project.

When stenciling you should see crisp, clean edges on the wall. Use low tack painter's tape to hold each layer of the stencil in place. Place tape on the top edge of the stencil. This way you can flip up the layer to see how your work is progressing on the wall. In addition to taping, you may also hold the stencil in place. Movement of the stencil will cause blurred edges while too much paint will cause seeping or bleed. Most of our stencils that would require the use of stencil spray adhesive are now cut on a sticky back mylar. Remove the film and the stencil will stick to the wall like a post-it note. Just be careful that the stencil doesn't get stuck to itself. If the stencil loses it's tack, wash and it's stickability should return. Place a piece of wax paper on the back of sticky back stencils to store.

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