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Consumer / Creative Corner

Home Decorating with a Do It Yourself (DIY) Wall Stenciling Project

One of my favorite, inexpensive ways to transform the look of a room is with paint. Paint, a simple, timeless classic, available in innumerous hues to suit even the most lurid of dreamers, offering customization for a unique, personalized touch – making possible the transformation of any room from ordinary to extraordinary with a mere swipe of a brush.
Color…it’s all around us, affecting us in ways we may not even realize. This simple stimulant has been studied by scholars for years and is a popular topic amongst theorists hoping to identify a standard by which we might define, correlate, classify or otherwise corral this irrepressible influence.
Black = Power
White = Innocence
Red = Love
Blue = Peace
Green = Nature
Yellow = Happiness
Purple = Luxury
Brown = Sadness
Phew, good to know that someone figured out what all this color stuff means. Ok, so it’s not exactly that easy, but this overly simplified guideline should help us choose a color mood, right? Well, it helps guide me when I run out of ideas, but I am known as the Not-So-Professional Interior Decorator, wink.
The trick with colors is that as we blend, we create a whole new mood. A little Nature combined with a dash of Happiness and maybe some Sadness to strike a balance, hmmmm, how about a pinch of Innocence and Love. Perfect.
So, I guess what I’m saying is that all the science, trend and otherwise behind color choice is helpful, but what it comes down to is that some things are best left undefined… Stop putting walls up around your walls.
The one decorating technique I find most appealing is personal touch. I think a lot can be learned about a person by the design choices they make when being honest about their natural appeal to function and devise in the space around them. As this type of homemaking occurs, over time, a true masterpiece of original art is created.
Go wild and do what you love!
One of my newest favorite do-it-yourself techniques is StENnciLIng. It’s my “on a dime” version of the ever-popular wall sticker. BUT, it’s not just money saving (although convincing) ~ There’s something special about the work that can be attained with the use of a stencil ~ which can not be accomplished with a preset, cookie cutter wall sticker (although I do think they’re super cute)…it’s a lovely, personal creation bursting with character.
I recently added a valance over the pantry in our kitchen/dining area using a pretty stencil I found at a local hobby store. The pattern didn’t quite fit the space as I’d hoped, so I repeated a portion of the stencil (once upside down) so it stretched the length I desired. My son came home from school and told me he loved it…and he’s not about to sugar coat his thoughts on mom’s decor, ha. If you look closely, you’ll see his addition to our ambiance (the darts strategically positioned on our living room mirror.) One day I’ll think of that as endearing, right?
Oh, and it’s super easy too! Creativity is limitless when color, placement and technique are considered. Just use the simple tips below to help make your project a success!
If in question, consult the color wheel. I like to browse online or a magazine for examples to make sure it’s the best choice for the look I want. Dark on light, light on dark, shading, blending or even just a slight variation from the wall for a shadowy effect…you can go crazy with all the choices here!
Paint can draw the eye to a new focal point in the room, bring life to a dreary corner and fill the senses. To be sure that you’ve chosen the appropriate placement of your stencil, tape it to the wall and back up for a full view of the room. It’s just paint, so if it turns out super bad (and that happens to us artists, right?) you can always paint over it…especially if you’re stenciling a freshly painted wall (older, faded paint can be hard to match) – maybe you’re working with your “color splash” wall!
Always protect the space around you. Cover the floor and tape areas that are in danger of catching an accidental swipe of paint. Wear your paint clothes too! Stenciling is pretty low-danger, so this step shouldn’t be too difficult.
Measure and re-measure. If you’re going for centered and level you’ll want to be meticulous about this one! It’s particularly important when using one stencil pattern repeated on the wall.
Tips and Techniques
Adhesive spray – it allows you to cling your stencil to the wall, use your level to make sure it’s even and paint without slipping and sliding. Leave the stencil on the wall until the paint is dry to avoid bleeding (usually just a few minutes.)
Sponging, brushing, rolling…there are lots of ways to apply paint, so make it your own. Just be sure to keep the paint application light and do several coats for a darker color because too much paint at once will seep beneath the stencil borders.
Get creative – just because the stencil is shown as a specific design doesn’t mean you can turn it, use only a portion of it or repeat the pattern in various ways. The valance I stenciled over our pantry door was too small for my taste, so I turned the stencil and extended the pattern.
Read the directions. Sounds like a no-brainer, but I thought I had this stuff down and neglected to read the instructions on one stencil pattern – come to find out that this particular stencil does NOT have level edging and I was to use the small triangle cutouts on the sides to align it, whoops.
These are photos of the wall I’m currently working on…and *if* I’m able to finish it before this post publishes in two weeks, I’ll have finished photos too (but I have two kiddos with a busy fall schedule, so this project is in molasses mode for now.)
Author: Jaime

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  1. I think it turned out great, too. Though I’ve got to admit: stenciling freaks me out a bit. I’ve done it on craft projects and it always turns out running or blurred.

  2. You’re right, Amber, the leaking does happen when the paint goes on too thick…just one of the reasons it’s not yet finished! I’m using both a small roller and a large dry brush. It takes a lot of light coats for one pattern. I leave it on the wall till the paint is completely dry to avoid any bleeding with removal.

  3. I wish I had your skills!That’s one thing I hate about my lack of craftiness,so I end up paying much more because I’m not able to make my own things.

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