Most of the rooms in our house have crown molding, which I don't care for in a little girl's room, so I decided to try my hand at a painted stencil border.
This How-to should either give you enough information to proceed confidently or decide that this isn't for you. (I'm kidding, if you can paint a wall, you can add a stencil border)
Step 1: Sketch the Room
Step 2: Find and Mark the Center of the Wall
Write the length beside each wall on your sketch.
Divide the length of the wall in half to find the center.
Write the “half-length” of each wall on your sketch.
Mark the center point of the wall, near the ceiling, with the pencil.
Repeat this process for each wall. Don’t assume that opposite walls are the same length, because they probably are not.
Step 3: Figure Out How Many Stenciled Images Can Fit on Each Wall
Divide the length of each wall by the length of the stencil image. Ignore any remainders. Write the number of images that will fit on each wall on your sketch.
If you can fit an even number of images on every wall, go buy a lottery ticket because this is your lucky day.
Also, skip the next step.
Step 4: Find the Center of the Stencil
If you have an odd number of images, you need a center registration mark.
If your stencil has center registration mark already you can skip right ahead to the next step. Mine didn't so this project has more math.
If you are still reading, divide the distance between your two corner registration marks in half and write that down on your sketch.
As precisely as possible, use your tape measure or another ruler to find the center point between the two top registration marks.
Punch a hole at the center point with the hole punch. I used a small card making hole punch that I “borrowed” from my wife.
I also used a black marker to draw a center line down the entire stencil. This really wasn't necessary.
Step 5: Prepare the Wall
If you are adding a stencil to an existing coat of paint, make sure you remove all the loose paint, dust and cobwebs. Since I had just painted the room, I didn't have to do this either.
Step 6: Prepare the Stencil
Not Optional from here - Spray the back side of the stencil with stencil adhesive, following the manufactures instructions about ventilation, dry time and temperature.
Pour a small amount of paint onto a paper plate
Tear off some paper towels and fold them into pads.
Step 7: Put the First Image on the Wall
If your wall will have an even number of images, line up either the left or right registration marks with the center mark on the wall. If you are doing an odd number of images, line up the center of the image with the center mark on the wall.
In either case, use your pencil to mark all four corner registration marks on the wall.
Holding the stencil brush straight up and down, tap it into the paint on the plate. Tap the brush onto the paper towel to take most of the paint off of the brush.
Bounce the brush onto the stencil repeatedly until the color is as heavy and opaque as you want it. I was painting a nursery, so I went fairly heavy. If I was painting a formal room, I’d probably go for something a bit wispier.
Step 8: Completing the Wall
Carefully peel the stencil away from the wall without smearing the wet paint.
Line the stencil up for the next image by placing the left pair of registration holes in the stencil over the right pair of existing pencil marks.
Use your pencil to mark the two holes for the next image.
Dab paint onto your brush and dry the brush on the towel.
Pounce the brush over the image until it is about as opaque as the previous one.
Repeat until you get to the end of the wall.
You are going to start at the center of the wall and move to the end of that wall in one direction. Then go back to the center and work toward the far side of that wall. I was able to place my step ladder so I could paint two images without moving the ladder, but it's still a lot of up & down the ladder and moving the ladder.