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» How to Stencil a Wall Border

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > How to Stencil a Wall Border
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You can dress up any room with this simple decorating idea; use stencils to create a unique wall border.
You can dress up any room with this simple decorating idea; use stencils to create a unique wall border.

Used primarily to define a wall pattern, or simply as a decorative element, a border was important to early walls because it was usually all the decoration that existed unless the home had been stenciled or was of a wealthy family who could afford the new wall papering that became popular in England and the US in the 1700’s.

Stenciling was largely accomplished using metal or paper stencils and then embellished freehand later. You can accomplish the same look with a few basic materials and some time.

Follow our simple step-by-step instructions to create your own creative, unique painted wall borders using stencils.

Wall Border Stenciling Materials List

  • Flat Latex or alkyd paint to prime the wall or area to be stenciled
  • Border stencils of your choice
  • Japan Paints or Ceramcoat Stencil Paints
  • Natural bristle Stencil brushes
  • Masking tape, paper towels and a palette knife

Wall Border Stenciling Steps

  1. Prepare the walls by using a match for you own paint in a flat paint.
  2. Using semi-gloss beneath the stencils will not permit them to adhere well, place your paints in the saucers and using the palette knife make them the colors that you want, or else have them premixed to your specifications. Prepare enough paint for the entire border that you will be painting at one sitting.
  3. Determine the placement of your border and make light pencil marks on the wall where the top and right edge will be placed and the bottom and left edge.
  4. For a continuous border, start at the dominant corner of the room; the one that your eyes note immediately when you enter.
  5. Tape your stencil to the wall, and dab the stencil brush in the paint. Blot it until nearly dry loaded onto a paper towel and using a light dabbing motion apply the paint to the stencil and wall.
  6. Move the stencil along using the registration marks you made with the pencil. After you have done about two thirds of the wall take your stencil and measure the remainder of the wall.
  7. If there is not room enough for the stencil to run to its end, you will need to either stretch it, or squeeze it unobtrusively together which can be done one of the following ways.
  8. Either take the stencil and when you have run to the end of it, move it about a two inches, until the pattern repeats one or two more turns and then stencil those prior to beginning at the beginning of the stencil, or if it needs to be shortened when you are stenciling, skip one pattern repeat, and end just beyond the middle of the stencil then begin a repeat.
  9. When one wall has been completed, go back to the point where you started and begin the second wall from that same corner, using the registration marks that you made for the first wall to align to the second wall and move across.
  10. Then move to the opposite corner of the room, and begin with the second set of two walls.
  11. When you have completed your design, clean all brushes with mineral spirits.

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