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  • Writer's pictureAzie

The Tutorialist – Stencils for All

Stencils are one of the biggest surprises when it comes to Chalk Paint® projects. I generally only associated stencils with the block letters and numbers kits that I used for scrapbooking as a preteen. If you can relate, check out our extensive selection of stencils at our shop(s). Oh, and while you’re there, take a look at the back wall, which has been hand-gilded with French Gilding wax. Stencils are elegant, stunning, and easy to use!

Stencils are a crisp and clean way to add a two-tone element in a modern way, create the image of texture or a touch of playfulness. And since it’s Chalk Paint,® the possibilities are endless.

We currently carry stencils from Annie Sloan, Royal Design Studio, Artisan Enhancements, and Maison Maison de Stencil. The links are at the end of the article in addition to our customer projects on our facebook page. In addition to our own work with stencils, we’ve had many creative endeavors with stencils from our DIYers.

How to Use a Stencil:

With Paint:

  1. Flatten out your stencil onto the completely dry surface. If you’ve just painting your last background coat, wait a minimum of an hour or longer to make sure your paint won’t peel up. Tape down your stencils securely on all sides so no shifting occurs. 

  2. Pour out a teaspoon of paint onto a non-porous surface (like waxed baking sheets or a plate or plastic lid) . You won’t need a lot of paint. The more paint you use, the higher the chance of having your paint bleed outside of the stencil.

  3. Take a completely dry brush and dab in the paint once but achieve light and even coverage, and then dab the brush several times on a paper towel. This is called off-loading.

  4. Stipple your brush over the stencil until you have one light coat. Take your brush and lightly stab it into the cut out areas. This is one of the few cases where brushing isn’t helpful for maintaining crisp lines. Stippling (which keeps your brush perpendicular to your stencil) helps to keep the stencil from being pulled up, or paint from seeping underneath.

  5.  Allow first coat to dry.

  6. Stipple on a second coat if needed

  7. Apply enough coats to achieve your desired opacity, allow to fully dry, then carefully remove your stencil.

  8. Rinse stencil clean.

Note: With my Xmas-y Stencil I used, Chateau Grey + Antibes 1:1 for my base and for the branches on the stencil.  When my final coat was fully dry, I used Emperor’s Silk over the green, just where the bow was. I did two coats for full opacity. I let it dry, then I did Clear and Dark Wax over it to make it pop. 

With paint, it’s easy to use the different painting techniques, just make sure that you’re doing even, and light, stippled coats, with only a little bit of paint (ie: your brush should never be dripping with paint)

With Gilding Wax

Applying gilding wax through a stencil can either be done with your finger or with an artist’s detail or children’s brush. The gilding waxes we use have a mousse-like consistency so they glide well when applied with your fingers. As an added plus, your body temperature will warm it up a bit. 

With a brush, you can add a drop of mineral spirits and then gentle brush it through the design. In this case, you wouldn’t stipple. Just trace inside the lines of your stencil.

The gilding wax isn’t water-based so it can be removed with Clear Wax so if you chose to wax your piece, therefore a gilded effect would always be last! It’ll also be less time consuming as the gilding wax sets quicker than paint and needs less coats (but one coat looks amazing too! That’s how many Azie did with the stenciled wall & door below and it adds to the vintage-inspired beauty of the overall look).

Clean with soap and wax.

With Texture:

Artisan Enhancements, which we carry both the mediums and stencils at our Montclair location, has a product called VP Antico which can mimic traditional Venetian plaster. When pushed through a stencil, either on its own or mixed with Chalk Paint, it adds a 3D element that looks antiqued and soft.

The possibilities really are endless, and there are so many tools to achieve this array of looks.

Our { verdigreen } albums:

Artisan Enhancements:

Maison de Stencils:

Royal Design Studio:

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