We moved to our current house 9 years ago when my youngest was 2 weeks old. The previous owners had redone much of the bottom floor of the 30 year old house but the top floor needed revamping. However, with a 2 year old and a 2 week old, I was just trying to get food on the table! I don’t know how some of you bloggers do whole remodels with little ones in tow. You are seriously my heros!!! I would loose my mind! (Well…I think I already did…but that’s another issue.)
Fast forward to 9 years later, we have painted walls, redesigned rooms, remodeled the master bathroom, added french drains to the yard, replanted old landscape, etc. There is always something going on. This spring, we finally started freshening up the kids bathroom. It had the original linoleum flooring, insert tub-shower, square tile with brown grout, etc. It was functioning fine but it just wasn’t pretty.
We hired a wonderful contractor to put in a standing shower with floor to ceiling subway tiles, a frame-less shower door (which there’s a whole story there…amazingly enough, it was the only sour grape from doing this remodel), new quartz counter-tops, new light fixtures, hex tile floors, and freshly painted cabinets & walls. It is gorgeous…but very WHITE!!!! (Can you say GLOWING?! I can almost hear angels singing!!!)
I love a white bathroom, but I need contrast and interest in every space I create. A long time ago, when my youngest was in preschool, I stenciled my entryway. People think it’s wallpaper all the time! But it’s just a painted stencil. I thought I’d try that technique again in this space. It’s an easy way to get the “wall paper” look which is so HOT right now, without the commitment (or price!) of wallpaper. When you get sick of the pattern, you simply paint over it! Voila! Done! Hoot hoot!
What You Need
To stencil a room, you will need the following:
- stencil (this is mine: Cutting Edge Stencils) (I had one main large stencil, and one smaller individual stencil for hard to reach places)
- paint (I used Benjamin Moore Harlequin Blue)
- paint pan (with disposable liner, not shown)
- paint can opener
- small foam roller
- stencil brush (stiff bristled with a round flat end)
- painter’s tape
- 3+ rags
- small paintbrush or q-tips for touch-ups
- water (for mistakes 🙂 )
- spray adhesive
- drop cloth (not shown)
Step 1: Prep Area
With painter’s tape, mask off all areas you don’t want painted such as floorboards, back splash, door jams. Lay your drop cloth over the sink area and floors. Once everything is covered, you are ready to get rollin’ with the paint!
Step 2: Start in the Corner
I started in the corner behind the door so that I could work on “perfecting” my technique in a “less visible area”.
NOTE: if your background color and your stencil color are quite different, you will have to be OK with seeing imperfections. The closer the 2 colors are to each other in tint, the less noticeable the imperfections will be.
First, spray the back of the stencil with the adhesive spray, to keep those small areas in the middle of this 2′ x 3′ stencil somewhat laying down flat to the wall.
Use the painters tape to tape down the stencil and keep it in place. You may need a level for this but I did not use one. Press down the middle to flatten to the wall and now you are ready for the paint!
Step 3: Start Rollin’!
Pour a little paint into your pan.
You can do this project in 1-2 hour chunks.
I used about 1 cup of paint at a time to last me 1-2 hours before I had to go get my kids from school, or head to an appt., or whatnot.
In total, I completed this project in 4 chunks of time, approx. 6 hours.
Soak your roller in the paint and then roll out the paint on the ribbed edge of the paint tin, trying to get as much of the paint OFF the foam roller as possible. (In the picture below, you can see I still had too much paint on my roller. I learned as I kept going that less is MORE!)
Step 4: Dab! (no kids…not the dance)
While the rolled-on paint is still wet, take the stencil brush and dab all over the exposed paint inside the stencil. Quick, firm, steady dabs. This helps spread the paint and make a smoother final finish, focusing to the edges of the plastic stencil.
Step 5: Continue Until Covered (except edges & corners)
After completing the first stencil, remove and move below where you just painted, lining up the stencil marks (for this particular stencil template, I had to line up the two lower dots to keep the stencil going straight). Finish stenciling to the floor then start again aligning at the ceiling where the first row finished.
Continue this technique all the way around the room with the main large stencil.
Step 6: The Edges & Corners
This stencil came with an individual stencil that I could bend into spaces easily vs. trying to wrangle the 2′ x 3′ stencil into tight spots like corners and door edges. Just like the large stencil: line up the dot, tape in place, roll and dab.
Keep a wet rag on-hand for this part. I painted ON the door jam with the stencil in order to get paint into that corner. I then quickly removed the template and wiped the wet paint off the door jam before it dried.
Also, don’t worry about getting all the way into that 90 degree corner. The stencil brush does pretty well and where it doesn’t totally reach, I took a q-tip and/or small paint brush and connected the stencil from the left to the right or vice versa. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Wipe Down Stencil
Once I finished rolling and dabbing the template and took it off the wall, I found it helpful to lay that down on my drop cloth and wipe away the access paint left on the stencil before taping in place for the next spot. This helped take off any wet paint still on the stencil that could mark up the wall in areas you wanted to stay white when lining it up for the next step.
Water is a Lifesaver
If you make a mistake, immediately wipe it down with water, dry off the area and start over! Or, if it’s just a little spot, wipe that spot clean and re-stencil that area (or paint it in with a small brush). Even a q-tip dipped in water can help smooth out an edge or take away a small dot from being to noticeable.
Finished Product (for now!):
And here it is….!!!! What do you think?
The final step is deciding on HARDWARE for those cabinets!!! I shared 2 options with my tween last week and she and I don’t agree… 🙂 So… we are still working on that detail. But, we are close, SOOO CLOSE to being finished! I can see that finish line!!!! Wooohooo!!! Then we can celebrate with some Buzz Ballz at the party in the bathroom!!!
What I really want to know is do I have you convinced that YOU CAN DO THIS TOO?!!! Lmk!