12 Helpful Tips On How To Stencil A Wall

Does the thought of hanging wallpaper give you hives? If you answered yes, you're not alone. When we moved into this house every room had wallpaper or at least a wallpaper border - remember those? It took weeks to remove that dated mess and I vowed never would these walls see another roll of paper again. Don't get me wrong, I love a pretty papered walls, I just don't like hanging it.

Then the master bedroom makeover happened and one of those walls was screaming that it wanted to be bold and interesting and stand out. So I did the next best thing and stenciled it and thought I'd share some helpful tips on how to stencil a wall in case you'd rather stencil too.

12 Tips On How To Stencil A Wall

12 Helpful Tips On How To Stencil A Wall

Being a dig right in before learning the how-to kind of gal, no surprise I ran into some snags. So today I'm sharing the mistakes and lessons I learned through trial and error.

Stenciled Wall In Master Bedroom

And so it began...

Materials To Stencil A Wall

Affiliate links are included in this post so you can see what products I used or recommend to complete this project. See my full disclosure policy.

Materials List

  • Chelsea All Over Stencil 
  • Stencil Level
  • Small Paint Tray or Styrofoam Plate
  • 4-inch dense foam roller with a round end
  • Round Stencil Brush
  • Painter's tape
  • Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint in Wicker White OR White Latex Paint
  • Roll of Paper Towels
  • Cardboard
  • Styrofoam
  • Step Ladder

Prepping the walls

After you've washed and repaired any perfections on the wall, you want to mask out the ceiling, baseboards and adjacent walls with painter's tape (as pictured below).

Note: Don't use masking tape or you risk peeling the wall paint.

Centering Wall Stencil

Tip 1 Read The Instructions

READ THE INSTRUCTIONS that come with the stencil before starting.

Tip 2 Order That Level

The recommended Stencil Level isn't a useless gadget - ORDER ONE, I promise you won't regret it.

Tip 3 Where To Start

Start at the center of the wall and mark it at the ceiling with chalk or a pencil. If there is a window or door in the center then start the stencil where you have no interruptions from top to bottom.

Tip 4 Mark The Center

Find the center of the pattern on the stencil and NOT the center of the stencil. Ask me how I know. If the center isn't already marked on the stencil, then mark it with either a permanent marker or cut a small slit.

Tip 5 How To Use The Level

Clip on the stencil level at either the top or bottom.

Tip 6 Aligning The Stencil

Starting at the top of your wall, align the center mark on the stencil with the center mark on the wall. Adjust the stencil until it is level and tape firmly in place using painter's tape.

Tip 7 Option 1 - Rolling the paint

Note: You will use more paint with this method and have to clean the stencil more often.
  • Pour either acrylic or latex paint into the small paint tray.
  • Offload the paint on a piece of cardboard or doubled paper towel sheets until the roller looks almost dry.
  • With light to medium pressure roll the brush over the stencil.
  • Once you are happy with the coverage move on to Tip 9.

Tip 8 Option 2 - Brushing the paint

Note: This method will take much longer but you will use less paint with this option. One 2 fl oz/59 ml bottle of acrylic craft paint covered an entire row on my walls.

  • Pour acrylic craft paint onto a Styrofoam plate.
  • Dip a round stencil brush into the paint and dab the excess onto a piece of cardboard or doubled paper towel sheets until the brush looks almost dry.
  • Pounce or brush the paint in a circular motion over the stencil. 
  • Once you are happy with the coverage move on to Tip 9. 
Close Up Bedroom Wall Stencil

Tip 9 Work Vertically

Note: Work in a vertical row rather than horizontal, like I did.

Reposition the stencil right below the finished print and line it up with the previously painted parts. Check the level and adjust accordingly. 

Tip 10 Save Some Paint

Don't stencil over the previously painted areas.

Tip 11 What To Do At The Corner

Note: I found it easier to use a stencil brush for this part.

When you reach a corner, bend the stencil where it meets the corner /edge and tape in place on both the wall you are stenciling and the adjacent wall. Pounce or brush the paint into the crease.

Tip 12 What To Do With Any Gaps

Fill in the gaps in the pattern at the top or bottom of the wall (will likely happen if your walls are not square). Some stencils come with a small stencil for this purpose.

Bonus Tip

It doesn't hurt to have a glass of wine nearby to help relax into this project. Earbuds and your favorite music make stenciling even more fun but be careful not to get too jiggy with it.

Completed Lattice Pattern All Over Wall Stencil

Have I convinced you to give stenciling a wall a try? Depending on your stencil pattern you can get real fancy and add multiple colors.

Bedroom Wall Stenciled

If this post inspired you to give Wall Stenciling a try, please share it with a friend and/or save it on Pinterest.

The next project we tackled in this room was building our own headboard which hangs on this lovely stenciled wall. You can find that post here at How To Turn An Old Door Into A Headboard.

I've embraced my stencil side and use them often on my furniture makeovers. Like these Jacobean Stenciled Nesting Tables or this French Script Flip Top Table.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous Link Parties.


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