visit the
featuring the
3 step colorScheme system


Painters tape
Drop Cloths
Disposable gloves
Artist acrylic paints
Spray adhesive
Acetate or
Oiled stencil card
Paper Palette
Transfer paper
Pen or pencil
Craft knife
Cutting board

Have a question?
Ask the professionals

Featured Products

Stencil Brush

Pure China bristle brush. Stenciling requires a round, flat-tipped stencil brush. Size: 1" (2.54cm) natural China bristle brush.
$ 8.69


Floetrol® Latex Paint Conditioner: Quart
Add to latex paints to improve flow and cover qualities.
SKU: 770817  

More techniques
Color washing
Glazing techniques 
Rag rolling 
Wood graining 
Striee glazing
Dragging techniques 
Pouncing techniques
Style archives
Preparation of surfaces
Know your materials

Classic Parchment
color recipe.
Available only at the artSparx Color Palette!


artSparx Special
Painters' tape

Scotch Safe-Release Painters' Masking Tape
3M No. 2080-1 & 2080-2
Safe-Release blue painters' masking tape is the most versatile tape on the market.
SKU: 798204   $5.49




Color washing
A wonderful technique for both new and old walls. Create the look of time worn beauty with this simple decorative
color wash.

Learn the color recipe for this technique!

"Poetry is superior to painting in the presentation of words, and painting is superior to poetry in the presentation of facts"

Leonardo da Vinci  1452-1519




Hand stenciled pattern over these antiqued red walls
 enhance this decorative powder room.

Rating 2.5 -moderate

Color mixing recipes
artSparx Color Learning Center
More decorative paint and glazing techniques

For use on walls, furniture, objects, and in fine arts paint techniques

The Decorative effect Stenciling, traces its roots as far back as Egyptian times, and has surged in popularity during various periods of history. Henry III used stenciled patterns, often with gold powders, in star shapes. William Morris and William Burges often used stencils in interior designs schemes. Folk art techniques, both on furniture and walls, have taken stenciling from a simple pattern repeat, to sophisticated and colorful design elements, rich with story lines and decorative symbolism.

For the 'Classic Color Glaze' mixture and other color suggestions visit the artsparx color palette

Basic room preparation
If you are starting from scratch and would like to completely re-paint a room for stenciling, then follow these steps.
Remove all nails and repair any damaged or cracked areas. Prime as needed. Refer to the artSparx basic preparation resource for tips and techniques….

Tape off all baseboard edges, ceiling edge, trim, window and door frames. Remove all electrical and light switch cover plates. Cover furniture and floor areas with drop cloths.

Choose your base color and apply over the surface in a smooth and even manner.


Materials to make stencils:

Sheets of clear acetate, and oiled stencil card are the most common materials used for cutting stencil patterns. Opaque oiled stencil card is easier to cut with a sharp craft knife than transparent acetate. Acetate is a bit more brittle and can split more easily than oiled stencil card. However, both materials work sufficiently, and transparent acetate is more readily available. 

For large areas it is recommended that you make duplicate stencil patterns, as they tend to wear and tear over modest usage.

Transferring images to your stencil pattern:

Transparent acetate. Use a fine point Sharpie or rapidograph to transfer the image onto the acetate.

Oiled stencil paper. Use carbon paper and a sharp pencil to transfer your image onto the stencil paper.  

Cutting stencil patterns:

Cut the pattern out of your stencil material using a sharp craft knife, razor blade or scalpel. To insure clean cut lines it is important to keep the blade sharp, so change to new blades often. Use a professional cutting board, newspaper, or glass under your stencil when cutting out the pattern. A light craft knife of scalpel is easier to handle than a heavy duty craft or matt knife.

To can also use hole punches and scissors where necessary to make the appropriate pattern.

Brushes and sponges:

Symphony Natural
Sea Sponge


You can use a straight cut hog bristle brush, commonly sold a ‘stenciling brush’. However, a soft tipped, rounded brush can work as well, and often better than their firmer counter parts. Sponges, both synthetic and marine, are also commonly used in stenciling. For looser, folk art patterns, a sponge is often ideal, while for more refined and intricate stencils a brush is most likely be better suited.



Acrylic Paints: Artist acrylic paints are ideal for stenciling. In the stenciling process paint is applied with a brush in an almost dry manner. Acrylic paints dry almost on impact and with the extensive range of colors, any combination can be achieved in a quick and efficient manner.

Artist oil paints: Oil paints are also used, though take longer to dry and require a bit more clean-up.

House hold latex paint: Regular house hold latex paint can also be used, though it tends to be too thick for delicate stencil projects. Any of these paints can be used on floors, as the floor gets it’s durability by final coats of protective varnish, not the actual paint used.

Stenciling: Applying paint over your stencil

You may consider doing a test sample on a sheet of newspaper first to get a feel for the process, to see the manner in which the paint is applied and determine the actual color intensity of the paint application process.

Applying paint to the stencil

With a dry brush you can dab the paint onto the stencil.

You want to use dabs of color over your stencil. On a palette place the colors you intend to use. The golden rule of stenciling is to use an almost dry brush. Pick up a small amount of color on the tip of your brush. First ‘pounce’ or blot this loaded brush on newspaper to remove any excess moisture and paint, which will leave only a small film of paint available on your brush. You are now ready to start. Fix your stencil over the working area. You can do this by applying a thin coat of spray adhesive over the back of your stencil. Pieces of masking tape can also be an effective way to adhere your stencil pattern in place. Holding the stencil with one hand, begin to dab the surface with your loaded, dry brush. Use round scrubbing motions to apply the color. You can work from the center of the cut-out towards the edges to minimize paint build up (and potential leaking) around the corners and edges of the stencil pattern. You can also apply more than one color to the pattern. For example, if you are stenciling grapes, with green leaves, you can apply a blush of burgundy over the grapes, and add green onto the leaves. Often a bit of color that mixes from one ‘zone’ to another adds charm and character. You can determine if this is the look you are going for as you work through this process. 

Applying a protective varnish coat

On wall and furniture it may be necessary to apply a protective coat of clear sealer to insure that your stencil lasts for many years. For borders on walls, particularly ones that are near the ceiling, it may not be necessary to protect the pattern with varnish. For furniture and floors it is recommended to do so. For furniture and floors a clear Satin sheen varnish, like Benjamin Moore Stays Clear will work quite well.

Clean up with warm, soapy water.

Dispose of remaining glazes properly.


artSparx Book special

Trompe L'oeil: Techniques & Projects

Trompe L'oeil:
Techniques & Projects

Very witty and highly original, trompe l'oeil really brightens up a home. With little more than household paint, a brush, and a sponge, it's possible to produce truly convincing fakes.

more books

Interior Style design features

Have a question? Ask artSparx  

More decorative paint and glazing techniques

Home Decor •  ArtistsMembersStoreSite Map

Join the artSparx community! Become a registered member now.

Capture your target market!
Advertise at artSparx and reach over 100,000 unique visitors per month!
artSparx Advertising Information

Become a link partner
Add features to your site! Free

Media Support Center
 Copyright 2010 Media Center Except as otherwise expressly permitted under law, no copying, redistribution,
retransmission, publication or commercial exploitation of material or concept are permitted without the express written permission
of and Copyright owner. Legal       San Francisco, Ca.   415.407.5097

DIY, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, tools, lighting, ceramic tile, home decor, kitchen design, gardening, home decorating,
patio furniture, paint, insulation, home improvement, fencing, appliances, plumbing, power tools, hardware,
home improvement, bathroom remodeling, kitchen remodeling, plumbing supply