The stenciling is done. And it looks every bit as fabulous as I’d envisioned– maybe better. I’m completely in love with it. Turns out I’m not so crazy for wanting to stencil our hallway.
Along with the pictures, I’d share some things I’ve learned along the way. I’m by no means an expert, but at this point I figure I’ve spent 15-20 hours stenciling, so that’s got to count for something.
1. Start in a good mood. You’ll need every ounce of good cheer, patience and enthusiasm you can muster.
2. Don’t rush it. You need to have hours (and hours and hours) to work on this, as undistracted as possible. Stenciling requires a good amount of concentration and consistency.
3. If you’re buying from Cutting Edge Stencils (which I highly recommend after my experience) spend the extra money to buy the clip-on level. This thing is genius in it’s simplicity and ease of making sure your stencil is level.
4. If you’re doing a wall with no corners or doorways, this can probably be a one person job. If you’re doing an entire room or a hallway like we did, this is a two person job. Sometimes three. Blame corners & doorways, it’s all their fault. You can tape the stencil down all you want, but in tight spaces you really need hands to bend it and hold it flat against the wall. And if you’re recruiting helpers, make sure it’s people you like, because you’re going to be all up in each other’s faces (literally) at some point.
5. Don’t get a manicure prior to starting a stenciling project, because it’s inevitable that you’re going to paint your fingers in order to hold the stencil firmly against the wall and paint it evenly. And if you prefer to be barefoot and are messy like me, don’t get a pedicure either.
6. The instructions tell you to keep a very minimal amount of paint on your roller/stencil brush. Pay attention to the directions! I rolled my roller over a paper towel to get the excess paint off. Start by using even less paint than you think you should until you figure out the right amount. This will save you from paint seeping under the stencil and messing up your beautiful design.
7. The instructions also tell you to use a light amount of pressure on the roller. This is also true. Again, the heavier you press on the roller, the higher the likelihood that your paint is going to seep under the stencil.
8. Take time before you start to read all the instructions your stencil might come with. Cutting Edge Stencils also has videos; I watched those, too. I had never stenciled anything before, and it definitely helped.
9. I chose a matte finish for the background paint and an eggshell finish for the stencil paint. The little bit of shine that the stencil paint has is my favorite part about the hallway. My mom thinks it looks like satin on the walls. It’s an understated amount of classy fabulousness. It makes me so happy. It would be incredible to use the same paint color for both the background and stencil, but use a matte for one and a glossy for the other. The contrast would then just be in the finishes, and that would be delightful as well.
10. The starting point was one place where I did not follow the directions. It said to start in an inconspicuous spot. I understand that logic, but I felt our situation called for something else. When you walk in our front door, you see 3 or 4 feet of the hallway straight ahead of you. I didn’t want to take the chance that the part of the stencil that would show here would be wonky. So we started right there- the most conspicuous spot we could have chosen. I don’t know if it would have made a difference if we did it another way, but I’m glad we didn’t.
11. Don’t worry about slight imperfections. You probably won’t notice them. If you get a little bit of paint in the wrong place, you can touch it up afterwards. If the paint is lighter in some places and darker in another, it’s ok. This isn’t a project of absolute perfection, at least not for a novice like me. I actually think those slight imperfections add to how amazing it looks.
I could stare at it for hours. Somehow the hallway seems wider and longer now. And much, much better looking.
Want to see where we started? Read part one here.
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