Photography by Angus Fergusson
We love the look of wallpaper, but not the work required—not to mention the cost. Enter wall stencils. These retro tools now come in high-quality materials and a variety of patterns, so it's never been easier to paint your walls pretty.
- Paint tray
- Large paintbrush
- Synthetic paint roller
- Interior wall paint in a base colour and an accent colour
- Tape measure - Pencil
- Stencil (We used the Lisboa tile stencil from royaldesignstudio.com)
- Repositionable adhesive spray
- Painter's tape
- High-density foam roller
- Small tapered paintbrush
Prep each wall in the room for painting (fill any holes with spackling, let dry, sand, wipe clean and apply painter's tape along edges). Using the paint tray, the large paintbrush and the synthetic paint roller, paint the walls in the base colour (we used Benjamin Moore's Simply White OC-117). Let dry for 24 hours.
Using the tape measure, determine a starting point for the stencil (often the centre of the dominant, or most visible, wall) and mark it with the pencil. Spray the back of the stencil with adhesive, and set in place on the wall. Use the level to make sure it's straight, adjusting as needed, and smooth it in place. (You can apply painter's tape to the corners of the stencil for additional hold, if needed.)
Apply the accent paint colour (we used Benjamin Moore's Polo Blue 2062-10) to the foam roller—but make sure you only apply a small amount, otherwise the lines of your pattern won't be crisp. Then, roll over the entire stencil with medium pressure (pressing too hard can cause paint can bleed); roll on an additional coat of paint if needed to reach the desired opacity.
Carefully peel the stencil off the wall, starting from one edge and lifting toward the opposite edge. Reposition the stencil, adjacent to the first placement, using the stencil's markers (corner holes that overlap with the previous stencil placement) and the level to help line it up, then smooth it in place.
Repeat steps 3 through 4, reapplying adhesive as needed, until the entire wall is stencilled. Let dry completely, then use the small paintbrush and any remaining base paint to cover obvious smudges. (Don't reapply the stencil; just touch up the pattern freehand.)
What's your stencil style?
With endless patterns to choose from, there's a stencil to suit every look. Simply pick your favourite, grab some paint and transform your walls.