How to Stencil, with Guest Blogger: Gabrielle Bovard

I never really read blogs until I started writing one of my own. The greatest thing that I learned: There are so many wonderfully creative and inspiring people all over the world— and I can’t get enough of their stories, adventures, tips, and tricks. I’ve especially started noticing that same of these gems are people whom I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with, so I decided last week to start to feature guest bloggers every once and awhile so that you– my lovely readers– and I can learn something together! If you are interested in being featured as a guest on my blog– please contact me! I’d love to hear from you!

My first guest is Gabrielle Bovard, an old friend from the good old days of French Class at Chartiers Valley HS– although I do believe that we first met in 6th grade homeroom. She and I recently reconnected when she started a blog of her own, over at Swinkery. She’s here today to share with us some tips about using stencils to transform a blah-room into a cozy space! So without further adieu: Take it away, Gabrielle!

I admit it:  there was a time in my life when I thought that gluing all of my hair to the side of my head and securing it with an oversized mound of cotton known as “the scrunchie” was beautiful.  But there is one sin from my generation that I could never forgive—until now. The stencil.  What made every mom feel that she could channel the powers of DaVinci with a foam brush and a plastic cut-out that cost ninety-nine cents?  As if a border of badly drawn ivy and children’s handprints could be some sort of statement of elegance. 
Stencils have come a long way.  They need to change their name; they should go into witness protection so that they are no longer associated with their past sins.  Stencils –gasp—are chic.
In a few simple steps, I will convert you to team stencil by showing you how to transform anything in your home:

1.       Know your surface.  Stencils can handle more than just walls.  Think about fabrics and pillows, upholstery, headboards, picture frames—heck, even your toaster!  Once you’ve decided on a surface, pick the appropriate paint.  Here’s my two cents: 

  •  Walls: acrylic paint will work, but it can be runny so consider using wall paint.  The best way to do that is to go to the paint store and ask for a sample of whatever color you want—it’s really cheap plus you get a large quantity.  As much as I love glossy walls, glossy paint is a nightmare to stencil with (thanks, gravity) so choose something flat or eggshell.
  •  Glass, glazed ceramics:  Craft stores sell enamel paints that are amazing and, while it can be tricky to stencil, it will last through many cleanings.
  • Fabrics:  Either add fabric medium to your existing paint or buy fabric paint.  This way, it won’t fade, crack, chip, or peel even if you throw it in the wash!  I swear by this stuff.

2.       Find your stencil.  If you aren’t so dexterous with the xacto knife, there are some awesome stencil designers on Etsy that do all the work for you.  For this project, I used Zinnia Grande from because I really could not think of a more perfect design than the one they had already made.  It is pricey, but you can reuse them forever or share them with friends!
If you are looking for something more original, go to an art store and pick up some heavy duty transparency film. Draw your desired image (or find one on google and photoshop it as needed and have it printed to scale at a print shop), and lay it on a flat cutting surface underneath your transparency film.  Cut out the edges with an xacto knife, sparing your fingers.

3.       Secure your stencil to the wall (or other surface) using painter’s tape or spray adhesive.  Spray adhesive gives cleaner lines and a more uniform repeat.

4.       I like to use a foam roller for stenciling because it does not streak as much as brushes and traditional rollers.  Downside: it needs to be reloaded often.  Do not press hard while you roll the paint over the stencil.  Pressing hard results in paint getting trapped under the stencil, leaving blurry lines and unsightly globs.

5.       As soon as you are finished with one, you can remove the stencil immediately and reposition it.  You don’t need to clean in between each repeat, but I always clean the stencil after I’m done with a color.

6.       Corners.  Corners are so easy so don’t avoid them!  Tape your stencil in place on one side of the corner.  Do not tape the other side.  Roll the paint on as normal and do your best to get into the edge.  If you accidentally get paint on the opposing wall, wipe it off quickly with a wet towel.  Remove the stencil from the first half of the corner.  You will likely need to hand-paint some areas depending on how intricate your pattern is.  Align and tape the stencil to the opposing corner and repeat the steps above. 

This has to be the easiest thing ever and it seriously makes your space look worthy of HGTV.  They also look awesome for unifying a wedding theme.  Think dresses, place cards, invitations, favors, and thank you notes!  It is all about branding and with this little plastic weapon, it has never been easier, classier, or more fun!

Gabrielle Bovard is a fun-loving, paint-covered architectural designer.  After spending some time living  in and loving New Orleans, she has returned to her roots in chilly Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Here, she enjoys spending time with her soulmate Mark, her two orange cats, and finding fulfillment in random acts of kindness.


One thought on “How to Stencil, with Guest Blogger: Gabrielle Bovard

  1. Pingback: Craft Time: DIY Chalkboard Jars « By the (cook)Book

Don't Be Shy. Leave a Reply:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s