Painting over stencils

Painting over stencils DEFAULT

How to Paint Over a Stenciled Wall

Ahhh… stenciled walls.  I really do love them.  I think you can make some DRA-MUH with a great stenciled wall.  I have had three of them.

This one was stenciled, but with a white board crayon, so maybe that doesn’t entirely count.  But this one in my bedroom is still the love of my stenciled life.

I’ve had this one in the dining room (now family room) for a couple of years, but when we switched the two room to make our home work for us better, I knew it was time for a change… which meant painting over this stenciled wall.

How to Paint over a stenciled wall. it's not hard, but if you follow these steps, you'll have a smooth, clean paint job!

But, there are some issues with a stenciled wall that need some attention.  Like, it makes an uneven second coat of paint that can be, at times, kind of thick.  Just painting over it might cover the color, but it’s going to leave the imprint.  That would not be good.

Unless that is what you are going for.

In this case, not. Not what I’m going for.

So here is how to paint over a stenciled wall from one who has been through the stencil painting trenches.

how to paint over a stenciled wall

The first thing you want to do is the same for just painting.. clean that wall off. You can see my tips for prepping a wall here.

Next, sand the edges of the stencil very well.

I started with some sandpaper.

how to paint over a stenciled wall-4

But quickly realized that it wasn’t getting the job done, so I switched to my mouse sander using 120 grit.

how to paint over a stenciled wall-5

Since I have textured walls, I was a little bit concerned about just sanding over the whole stenciled wall, but it worked out fine.  I tried to avoid the white background as much as possible and just concentrate on the raised edges of the stencil.

I sanded it until it felt as smooth as I thought it was going to get.

Then I used a brush and painted two coats over the stencil only.

Then I gave the entire wall 2 more coats of paint.

how to paint over a stenciled wall-8

how to paint over a stenciled wall-9

how to paint over a stenciled wall-10

how to paint over a stenciled wall-12

This was after two and you can still see the stencil.

how to paint over a stenciled wall-13

Just keep on painting until there is no sign left!

how to paint over a stenciled wall-16

Buh-bye. All gone. Thank the stenciled deities.

There are still a couple of spots that didn’t get sanded down quite enough, but, fortunately, it blends in with the textured walls.

If you have smooth walls (lucky duck), just be a little more obsessive about getting it smoothed out.

how to paint over a stenciled wall-17

Now, it’s a blank canvas and I can start thinking about what to do.  I’ve already wallpapered the other side of the room!  You can see my list of choices here.  I’ll be sharing what I picked in a couple of days!

I’m going for a clean black and white template and then building on that.  It’s really a breath of fresh air.

I was thinking that I was too old to still be figuring out my style, but I was watching a video about Joanna Gaines and her first house and realized that this is my first house, and I’ve really come a long way as far as my understanding of design and pulling a room together.

It’s nice when you realize that you are always evolving and growing. Which I know, obviously, but it’s nice to be reminded.

Are you still evolving? Share how down in the comment below!



Share this post!


How to Use a Wall Stencil: 5 Tips for Rocking Your Next Stenciling Project


Last week I shared with you guys that I’m participating in the fall 2019 One Room Challenge (if you haven’t heard of the One Room Challenge, or “ORC” for short, here’s more about what it is) and that my 7-year old daughter is getting a new room out of the deal. Pretty fun for her, right?

In case you missed it, here’s the first post about this makeover. It’s gonna be a good one!

Part of the original design I created involved fun black and white printed wallpaper … but as I was calculating how much wallpaper I’d need to cover two of her bedroom walls, I realized just how expensive that was going to be.

We’re talking hundreds of dollars.

And considering we just renovated several rooms in our home, that felt like a not-so-smart financial move. So I decided it was time for a Plan B … and quickly came up with what I think is a pretty good alternative solution. Instead of using wallpaper in her colorful, fun bedroom, I decided to use a wall stencil instead. I chose this one from Royal Stencils Design Studio. The pattern is almost identical to the pattern on the wallpaper I’d been eyeing for this makeover.

Here’s a sneak peek at what my daughter’s room looks like, mid-stenciling project.

how to use a wall stencil

This post contains affiliate links — which means if you make a purchase after clicking on one of my links, I’ll earn a teeny commission. Thanks for supporting Kate Decorates!

How do you use wall stencils?

To use a wall stencil, you simply use painter’s tape or spray adhesive to adhere the stencil to the wall, usually starting in the upper left-hand corner of the wall. Once you’ve painted the stencil design in the first spot on your wall, gently pull the stencil off the wall and move it either immediately below the first design, or to the right of it. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the desired amount of wall space.

Where do you buy wall stencils?

Wall stencils are available from lots of retailers. I like Royal Design Studio’s selection of stencils, but you can also find good quality wall stencils at places like Amazon and Etsy.

Why I like wall stencils

Wall stencils are a great, easy way to add a pattern-filled accent wall to a room in your home. I love that you can mimic the look of wallpaper for a fraction of the cost.

In fact, one of my first projects ever that I posted on the blog involved a wall stencil.

Take a look at this post — yeah, it’s totally okay to laugh at my photography skills (or lack thereof).

Oh, and the room styling wasn’t so hot, either. But we’ve all gotta start somewhere. #rookiemistakes

I also experimented with a wall stencil in our powder room last year, although that stencil project never saw the light of day on the blog. After stenciling just one small section of wall in our powder room, I decided to jump ship and paint over my stencil job. (More on the “why” behind that decision in a minute.)

I like wall stencils for a couple reasons:

  • Wall stencils are less expensive than using wallpaper.
  • Wall stencils are generally easy to paint over (although there IS a little bit of sanding involved), whereas stripping wallpaper that you no longer love is a total pain in the a$$.
  • When you use the right tools — meaning the right brush and the right type of paint — stenciling a wall can be easy and (fairly) quick.

But like any home project, the more tips and tricks you know before you start stenciling, the happier you’ll be with the finished product.

5 tips for how to use a wall stencil

If you’re considering using a wall stencil in your home — or if you’ve tried your hand at stenciling before but weren’t too thrilled with the results — then you need to read these tips that I’ve learned after tackling multiple wall stenciling projects:

#1 Buy the good paint.

                                                                                                  Photo credit: Royal Design Studios

The quality and type of paint you choose will make or break your stenciling project.

Remember I mentioned a stenciling project in our powder room that went sideways? Well, my poor choice of paint contributed to this poor project’s demise. I decided to use some leftover chalk paint for this particular project because I had read another blogger’s post about using this type of paint … and it completely backfired. The paint bled through the edges of the stencil and the small section of our wall that I had painted looked like a hot mess.

Be careful about the type of paint you use for stenciling. If it makes sense for your project, use Royal Design Studio’s cream-based stencil paints. I’ve used them on two different projects and the quality is phenomenal — I think their paint gives you amazing results.

If you need a color Royal Design Studio doesn’t offer, or simply want to use something other than Royal Design Studio paints, I’ve heard of others having success using various type of acrylic craft paints and even Behr Marquee paint — but I can’t personally vouch for those brands since I’ve never used them.

#2 Think twice about using geometric designs.

Unless you’re an incredibly skilled painter or you’ve used wall stencils in the past, I recommend shying away from a geometric design and choosing something more abstract. Why? If you make a mistake with an abstract design — maybe the stencil wasn’t completely straight in one patch you painted — no one will ever know. However, if you choose a stencil like this or this, then a mistake is more likely to stand out (Straight lines, I’m looking at you. Super tricky.).

If you’re a first-time stencil-er, my advice is to take a little pressure off yourself and choose an abstract design for your first go-round. Or if you’ve got your heart set on a geometric design, then practice on some scrap paper first before adhering your stencil to the wall.

#3 Less (paint) is more.

Any company that manufactures wall stencils will tell you this on the “how to” sheet that comes in the mail with your stencil, but … you don’t want a lot of paint on your brush.

Less is more, guys. This is so important to remember. If you have too much paint on your brush while stenciling, you run the risk of the paint bleeding underneath the stencil and essentially ruining your design and hard work.

When I stencil, I usually dip the brush gently into the paint, wipe the excess on the inside of the paint can lid, and then wipe my stencil brush again on a paper towel. After going through those steps you’ll probably be left wondering if you have any paint left on the brush at all, but that’s a good sign that you’ve got the right amount on your brush.

Here’s what my paper towel usually looks like after a few rounds of stenciling:



Even if you have to refill your brush mid-project, don’t panic. Several thin coats of paint are better than one thick coat.

#4 Paint in a circular motion when using your brush

This sounds like a strange recommendation, I know, but just trust me on this one.

If you paint in a circular motion, you’ll be sure to fill in all corners of your design completely.

As I’ve been stenciling the dots on my daughter’s wall, moving the brush in a circle as I paint means that each dot looks fully painted. No scraggly edges here, folks!

#5 Allow for drying time in between sections

I’m sure some pro stencil-ers might argue with me, but before you move your stencil to the next section of wall … wait 10 to 15 minutes.


Because if any paint got on the back side of your stencil — or if you accidentally bump the wet paint as you’re trying to re-position your stencil — then suddenly you have a streaky mess on your hands.

And why would you want to ruin all your hard work?!

As much as I hate waiting, being patient when stenciling pays off. I’ve been working on weekend mornings to stencil my daughter’s room and I usually throw on a good Spotify playlist or a podcast (this is one of my favorite podcasts, btw) so that I’m not quite literally watching paint dry.

How do you paint over wall stencils?

If you get sick of an accent wall you stenciled, the good news is that wall stencils are relatively easy to paint over. The first step in the process is to sand down the design so that the stencil paint becomes even with the base paint coat on your wall.

Once you’ve sanded down the design, prime a small area and let it dry. If you can still see the stencil design coming through the primer, then you’ve got more sanding to do. If you don’t see the stencil coming through, continue priming the entire wall, let it dry, and then paint over it with your choice of paint.

Room makeover next steps

I’ve still got more stenciling to do this weekend, but I also need to:

  • Hang a gallery wall above the desk
  • Get new bedding
  • Hang wall art on the back wall
  • Order her reading chair
  • Figure out a way to dress up her plain white IKEA dresser

The to-do list is still pretty long … so check back next week for an update on the project!

Check out another post for 3 ways to refresh a room when you can’t paint.

Like this post? Pin it!


  1. Cry baby backgrounds
  2. Phoenix suns 2015
  3. Runescape apps
  4. Ruger hammerless revolver 38

How to Remove a Raised Painted Stencil Pattern From Walls

By Rochelle Leggett

You may need to remove stencils before repainting a room.

Stencils add color and interest to a room, but because they are so distinctive, you may tire of them or need to remove them when you redesign. You may also want to change your wall color, in which case, you will most likely need to paint over your stencils. The paint that creates the stencil patterns may be raised from the rest of the wall, and you will still be able to see the texture even through a new coat of paint. Fortunately, removing stencils is not difficult.

Move curtains, pictures and other wall decorations away from the stenciled wall or walls. Move furniture away from the walls, or cover it with drop cloths. Sanding walls creates dust and preparing for this will make cleanup easier later.

Attach 120-grit sandpaper to a pole sander or wrap it around a sanding block. A sanding block is best if your stencil pattern is small and easy to reach without a ladder. Otherwise, use a pole sander.

Sand away the stencils. Sand the surrounding area as well to keep the walls smooth. Wipe away the dust and feel the stencil texture often. The area must feel flush with the wall so the stencil outlines don't show when you paint. Because the stencil patterns are colored, you may still be able to see them even when they are flush with the wall. Sand until you are satisfied that the stencils are gone or are flush with the wall.

Clean away the sanding dust on your floor or furniture. If you do not plan to repaint the entire wall, touch up the areas that were stenciled with matching wall paint, using a paint roller. This will make the stenciled spots match your walls, both in color and sheen, and will cover any remaining stencil paint.



  • If the stenciled area is slightly damaged or the stencil paint was very dark, use primer before painting.


  • Wear a mask when you sand.
Painting 101: Stenciling With A Sponge - DecoArt®


Over stencils painting


Stenciling 101: How To Paint With A Stencil


Similar news:


933 934 935 936 937