Want to know how to save hundreds on wallpaper? Try a stencil! I did two huge walls for $40! I’ll show you how I did it step by step and teach you the application differences between sponges, brushes and rollers.
The first two years of living in this house were about seeing how it functions best for our family. This year is all about adding layers and depth! After wallpapering Clara’s room and then the play room, I’m addicted. But those were only murals — wallpaper for a whole room is expensive! So I bought ANOTHER stencil!
Though last week I shared 9 affordable murals, starting at $55! I bought number 3 and can’t wait to try it!
I even have another stencil sitting in my master bathroom, waiting on me to get motivated. Because it takes a long time! But for those of us with more time than money, an inexpensive stencil is the way to go!
I liked the walls white and bright in here, but I wanted to add some dimension, some interest. I actually used this stencil in my boy’s bathroom in our last house in Hale Navy, but I wanted a more subtle approach in this main living space.
This is the Cuckoo stencil ($40). I bought the large stencil, but maybe I should have bought the repeat pattern! This stencil has a lot of layering that most do not. I have a video at the end that you can watch to see how to do it.
I went with Light French Gray. You can see my whole-house color palette in this post.
I know this is supposed to be about stenciling, but I’m so excited about my new rug! I got it for $96 including shipping! I’m officially leaving my neutral hiatus and starting to add some color up in this place!
Too many exclamation marks. I’ll tone it down, but I think the trend in the next couple years will be “more is more” and lots of color as we come out of our “white on top of white” decade. It’s exciting! (I can’t stop!!!)
I did this post yesterday with all the great rug deals I found: Large area rugs under $200
How to stencil
How long does stenciling take?
Not gonna lie, this geometrical stencil was a lot of layering. It took me probably 11 hours total, for two walls. I am forever underestimating the time things take and thought I’d knock it out in a day, haha! Instead it took two full afternoons. It was worth it though!
Don’t forget to watch the video at the end if you need clarification :)
1.Spray stencil with adhesive spray
When the stencil is fresh out of the box, give it a good spray. I like this adhesive spray. Then after each time you place it you can give it a light mist.
2. Place the stencil on the wall.
Start on a corner or straight edge to make sure your stencil is straight. I occasionally use a level to make sure when I’m in the middle of a wall.
3. Pencil in place keepers.
If your stencil has markers to show you where to place it next, don’t forget to pencil them in after you place the stencil.
4. Apply paint to the stencil.
You can use a sponge, a stencil brush or roller to apply the paint. I’ve used all three now and they all offer different finishes.
Sponge: More control and even coverage.
Stencil brush: A vintage, faded feel.
Roller: This is the easiest method, but often has uneven coverage. I did this in my master bath and LOVE it, but it’s definitely a different feel than the even coat of the sponge.
Sneak peak of my master bathroom makeover! Of course it’s all with paint. So excited to share this one with you soon!
For this project I used this 6-pack of sponges from the Dollar Tree. Can’t beat that price!
5. Wipe off the stencil.
This step is important, especially if you are doing a large space. It’s probably even best to lay it down on a drop cloth and wipe the whole stencil thoroughly with a paper towel after each use.
If you don’t wipe it down, the stencil will get caked with paint and make it difficult to get perfect shapes.
For example, this is how my stenciling started, above.
And this is how it was looking toward the end. More blotchy from caked on paint and applying harder … and I was tired of stenciling!!
Stenciling is NOT for the perfectionist, haha! But in my opinion it is worth the hard work. And when I step back I don’t even notice the imperfections. There’s nothing like living in a house you put you heart and sweat into!
Here’s the 1-minute DIY video: