Stenciled Wallpaper: How to Get the Look without Breaking the Bank

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Adding a stencil to your wall is a great way to add personality and style to any room in your home. But if you’re not sure how to go about it, the process can seem daunting.

Don’t worry!

This how-to guide will walk you through each step of the process, from picking out the right stencil to applying it correctly. Plus, we’ll give you some tips on how to make the job easier and more affordable.

How to Get the Look of Stenciled Wallpaper on a Budget

stencil wall in blue

Why I choose Wall Stencils over Traditional Wallpaper

So we moved into our new construction-built home and it needs an update.

I had a few plans for the dining room and I know I wanted something that stood out to remove the construction built bland.

Initially, I was going to go with wallpaper and was inspired by the image below.

But, I wasn’t too thrilled with the price especially since we had multiple projects going on at the moment. — Deck and pavers.

I was glad to run across a great alternative to traditional wallpaper, Stenciled Wallpaper.

It’s cheaper and easier to install, but still gives you that expensive look that you might be looking for in your living space.

If you’re thinking about giving it a try, then you are in the right place.

I’m sharing how to go about installing it on your own and mistakes and hacks to make it easier.

Before and After Pictures of a Stencil wall with Herringbone
lower half painted before stenciling

What is Stenciled Wallpaper?

Stenciled wallpaper is another form of wall coverings in which a design or pattern is cut out of a stencil and placed with adhesive on the surface to be decorated with paint, typically by hand.

You may use one reusable repeat stencil to paint an entire room instead of purchasing rolls of pricey wallpaper.

Stencil Wall Patterns to Fit your Style

There are tons of Pattern Wall Stencil

  • fern
  • herringbone ( modern, simple, rustic, hand-drawn)
  • art deco cranes
  • Scandinavian Astra
  • Trellis
  • Moccoran
  • Brushstrokes

This list can go on. It’s all up to your taste.

You will want a type of stencil that is made from sturdy thick duty plastic.

The last thing you want is your stencil ripping or tearing when you go to move it along the wall.

You can find them at your local craft store, or online.

I went to my favorite store amazon to get my stencil. I researched the brands based on reviews, quality, sizes, and style.

The company is called Sten Cilit.

Pick an Area to Stencil

my dining room before stenciling
My Dining Room / Sitting Really Playroom

You can pretty much stencil any area. You can also stencil the wall, tile, wood, ceiling, and more.

But, I would suggest picking a small area to stencil first and getting the hang of it before attempting your entire room.

You can use a small accent wall or even just one long wall depending on size.

Keep in mind that if you’re working with an area that has some texture like popcorn ceilings will make it more challenging. It is not recommended due to bleeding.

Once your stencil is picked out, it’s time to get your materials together.

Here are all the supplies you need for stenciled wallpaper:

What you’ll need:

  • Stencil (I used StenCilit wall stencils amazon)
  • A tape measure
  • Paint Roller (dense foam roller or 3/8 in)
  • Latex or acrylic interior paint
  • Painters tape or spray adhesive
  • Paint tray
  • Pencils for marking the wall
  • Level to make sure your stencil is straight
  • something to protect the floors (drop cloth, cardboard, old paper)

Related: Best Paint Supplies to Paint your Room Quickly & Neatly

How To Prep Before Stenciling a Wall & Stencil Basics

how to do wall stencil to get a herringbone wallpaper

Before you can get started stenciling, there are some steps to take first.

You will want to make sure the surface is clean and free of any dirt, dust, grease, or grime.

The best time to do this is right after a thorough cleaning or before painting your wall with a primer.

Makes it easier on yourself by doing the work before you paint your wall.

To start this process, I removed anything from my wall including all pictures hanging up.

I also made sure to move my furniture away from the walls too.

Next, remove electrical outlets covers you don’t get paint on them.

How to Choose the Correct Paint & Color

When choosing a color, think about the way you want the room to feel.

Different colors give off different energy which can make a room feel larger, cozier, relaxing, energizing, or luxurious.

  • Create a Color Scheme That Matches Your Home’s Style
  • Decide if you want your walls to look taller or room wider
  • Match The Color To The Feeling You Want In The Room
  • Create A Color that Flows room to room
  • Make Small Spaces Feel Bigger
  • Choose a jumping off piece such as a photo, rug or pillow and pull the colors from there

Choose both colors for the background and the color for your stencil.

Note: Keep a mental note that the closer the background and stencil colors are to each other, the fewer imperfections you’ll see.

I decided to go with flat paint since it was recommended in many YouTube videos. The glossier the paint, the more likely bleeding will occur. If you have a semi-gloss or a high gloss, you’ll need to prime it over it or test a small area to see what happens.

Luckily for me, our home is newly built so the wall was already flat and the entire house was Chantilly Lace.

paint sample chantilly lace

So all I had to do was choose a contrast color, which ended up being a deep blue-gray (Shermin William Peppercorn).

Sherwin williams paint sample

Of course, I had to make things difficult and pick contrasting colors. Which mean I had to go a lot slower and be really mindful of paint bleeding and imperfections.

Related: The Key Steps To Painting the Room

Real steps to painting a room that you will love

Where to Start With Stencil

Started the Stencil Process

You will want to start somewhere you can do a full row. I started in the middle of the main wall.

It’s best to start

  • at the ceiling
  • somewhere where you can get one beautiful column
  • uninterrupted area for a full row
  • top to bottom ( I decided to go straight accross because it seemed faster but the guide suggest top to bottom)
  • build left and right

Don’t start

  • underneath a window
  • in a corner
  • where the ceiling angle is crazy

Let’s Stencil the Wall

So I’m going to take my herringbone and place it up at the top near the molding.

I have my stencil level, which is an excellent tool for leveling the stencil each time to ensure that it doesn’t start to slant one way.

Painters Tape or Spray Adhesive

Attach the stencil to the wall using Usee painter’s tape or spray adhesive.

I didn’t use spray adhesive because some of the reviews said it was messy. So I just taped around the stencil.

However, the directions with Sten Cilit said that either way is acceptable since it is reusable and readily removable.

Highest rated Spray Adhesive can be found here on Amazon.

Spray adhesive is not necessary. But if you want to use it then apply a little spray adhesive to the back. It could give you somewhat tighter edges.

Now take a deep breath before we add paint!

Painting Stencil Tips

Pour the paint into your paint pan.

Use the dense foam roller to roll over the paint but DO NOT overload the paint roller because it will drip down the stencil.

Instead, roll off the excess paint onto a paper towel, newspaper

I cannot express how important this step is for getting your stencil to look neat.

If there is too much paint on the roller when you press it down to the stencil it will bleed through the lines and the touch is time-consuming.

So start off doing it right so you don’t have to waste time fixing the mistakes.

Also, clean your stencil before you start the next column.

For me, cleaning the stencil was a disaster. I may have waited too long because the paint was dried and putting it in soap and water did nothing.

Finally, I just gave up and started to scrape off big pieces with a blade and it was a process.

How to reduce bleeding during wall stenciling

Don’t try to get full coverage in one pass with your roller. Instead, you want to slowly build it up with a couple of passes on the stencil.

What helped me to reduce bleeding was a foam brush.

I started with a roller which seems to do well at first but then the build-up on the stencil made it difficult for the paint to touch the wall. Hence, cleaning the stencil often is important.

Then I tried a paintbrush but it made stroke marks which I didn’t look good.

Finally, hubby brought home several size foam brushes and the longer ones worked like a charm. It was more work upfront but I didn’t have to go back and touch up bleed marks.

Almost Ready for Edges and corners

I stenciled the middle of the wall first then went back for the corner and edges for many reasons.

One it takes more time and I didn’t want to get defeated and give up.

Two you may have to cut the stencil to get it to fit in the corner.

Corners are really interesting there are several methods to approach one, the most popular being where you simply bend the stencil into a corner and attempt to wrap it in another direction. You can do this but it may depend on how flat you can get the stencil to get or if it’s too close to the corner so you can get an entire row.

The other approach like I said is to cut the stencil in half and use it. This was simpler for me because when I fold my stencil it kept bleeding on each row.

Tips for easier stencil wall painting

My tips for stenciling may not be shared in the directions or online.

I started out with a roller and it was great at first but I think the build-up of the paint on the stencil made it difficult for the roller to touch the wall. As I mentioned before… I tried to scrape the stencil off but it didn’t really work. So I then tried to use a paintbrush but that made strokes instead of the texture look I wanted. So I ended up trying a long foam brush which worked wonders!

Stenciled Wall Ideas – inspiration board 

Conclusion Wall stencil Herribone

Now that you know how to stencil wallpaper in herringbone, it’s time to get creative!

What design will you choose for your first project? We can’t wait to see the final results.

As always, if you have any questions or need help, don’t hesitate to reach out. We love hearing from our readers and helping them bring their DIY dreams to life.

Happy stenciling!

Common FAQ for wall stencil DIY

Which is better wallpaper or stencil?

Wallpaper is better because it offers a much more polished and finished look. Stenciling can be a great option if you’re on a budget or are looking for a more unique look, but it will never look quite as good as wallpaper.

Are stencils reusable?

Yes, stencils are reusable. Just make sure you clean it before the paint builds up.

How do you use stencils? A stencil can be placed on any area of the wall to create a pattern or design. 

To use it, you’ll brush the paint over the stencil and remove it after painting, transferring the image onto your wall. 

What kind of tape do I need for Stenciling?

Heavy-duty painters Tape works well.

But some people say that regular masking tape is better than heavy-duty as it stays put better without buckling and creating lines in your stencil once you paint over it.

Do I have to put a drop cloth down?

Stencils don’t usually need protecting because they are not messy like painting but if you are afraid of getting anything on them then just cover them.

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