It’s time consuming, the clean-up is horrendous and who cares about their walls anyway!
Well, you do and I do, too. In fact, I obsess about the color of my walls to the point where I painted most of my living room 4 times before I settled on the color for it. I used the sample paints you can get at Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams. (For $7 Sherwin-Williams will mix up a quart of any color for you and for $6 Benjamin Moore offers a pint.) In fact, I usually do most or all of the first coat in the sample paint because it’s so inexpensive. One note: You can’t control the amount of shine, so unless it happens to be what you want, you probably wouldn’t want to use the sample paint for the final coat.
I’m living in a new (old) house (we moved) and the walls just look bare. I can’t afford to collect art, so I thought of wall stenciling. I googled it and, it’s beautiful! Really! Look it up and you will see thousands of fabulous patterns. One of the most beautiful sites is Royal Design Studio. The largest collection is probably at Etsy.com which has millions of different patterns.
I also looked up the YouTube videos about wall stenciling and there are millions of those. They all make it look very easy. Here’s one of many:
I ordered a stencil and the supplies I thought I would need- brushes, a clip-on level, and a couple of small rollers. BTW, the cost of stencils seems rediculous. My pattern came on a 19″ square sheet of mylar and cost $38. Considering that I am planning to stencil my entire house with different patterns, I will probably be investing quite a few dollars on stencils.
Fortunately, I had the foresight to buy a pattern that I knew would be very forgiving of mistakes, with no straight lines. That proved to be a very good idea because my registration was not always perfect, to say the least.
The videos proved right about how to do the stenciling, but, of course, I went ahead and did it “my way” anyways. I quickly realized that I preferred the stippling with a brush method over the rolling method and that the paint needs to be put on in a very thin coat so it won’t bleed.
The first thing they don’t say in the videos is that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours. I should have kept track, but I didn’t. I do know that it took me over a month altogether.
The most time consuming part is around windows, in corners and next to the moldings. You have to bend the stencil and stipple the pattern and lots of time, you have to later re-create parts of the pattern by hand.
The second thing they don’t tell you about is the clean-up of the stencil. In the videos, they show people scrubbing off the paint with soap and water. That’s fine if you want to clean the stencil every hour or so, but I didn’t. I wanted to clean it at the end of however much time I could spend that day on it.
I ended up buying latex paint remover, spraying it on both sides of the stencil, wrapping it in clear plastic and letting it sit in the tub of our spare bathroom overnight. Even then it was very hard to scrub off the paint with a wire brush, a soap pad, and a scrub sponge.
I did the scrubbing on of our cutting boards (which is now warped) – setting that in the kitchen sink and scrubbing the stencil until all the paint was off both sides. I quickly realized that pieces of paint were going down the drain, so I bought a mesh strainer for it.
So, now for the part where it’s worth all of this – it looks amazing! You can match the colors to your furniture or your curtains or whatever. Or, you can choose colors that don’t compete with your furniture (my mission).
Some people have asked me why I didn’t just wallpaper it. I love wallpaper, but, in an old house, that can get very expensive. With stenciling, you have total artistic freedom to pick your colors and you can work on it at your leisure, as I did, doing a little bit at a time.
When it’s done, you feel totally different about the room- it’s yours!