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Stenciling Problems - FAQ's

I applied too much paint to my design. How can I correct my mistakes?

What is the best way to repair a torn stencil?

My stenciled designs are not crisp, but rather blurry and jagged. What am I doing wrong?

How do you stencil on rough textured walls?

What is the easiest way to remove my old wallpaper border before I begin my stenciling project?

Can I use stencil cremes on wood?

Can I apply latex paint over a surface finished with an oil-based product?

Oil based paints seem to become brittle after years of wear. Will acrylic latex paint deteriorate like this?

I am thinking of stenciling an old porcelain sink. Do I need to use a special type of stencil or paint?

How do I remove adhesive spray from the back of my stencil?




I applied too much paint to my design. How can I correct my mistakes?

There are several solutions to this problem: 1) Remove as much of the paint as possible, allow the area to dry, then paint over the area with your base color. 2) If the paint is still wet, use a rag/towel moistened with a mild soapy solution, plain water or isopropyl alcohol. Gently wipe the problem area. Allow to dry and continue stenciling. 3) Plaid makes a product called the Stencil Eraser that helps to remove minor smudges. Check manufacturers instructions before using.

What is the best way to repair a torn stencil?

Lay the stencil on a flat surface. Apply a small piece of tape (scotch tape or clear shipping tape) to the front and back of the torn section. Use a razor blade or craft knife to trim the tape even with the edge of the design.

FAQ graphic example

My stenciled designs are not crisp, but rather blurry and jagged. What am I doing wrong?

Stenciled designs that are not crisp usually mean that you are overloading your brush. Loading your brush with too much paint is by far the most common mistake that are made by both beginners and pros. Dip the tips of the bristles of your brush into the paint. Using a paper towel remove most of the paint from the brush by swirling the brush into the paper towel.

How do you stencil on rough textured walls?

There are several kinds of textures that home builders use, ranging from a slight texturing (orange peel) to the more heavily textured such as popcorn. We do not recommend stenciling on the more heavily textured walls unless you are willing to smooth the wall a bit before you stencil. Smoothing is accomplished by sanding, application of spackling followed by a light sanding or wet sanding of the area (especially true for ceilings). Keep in mind that a fresh coat of paint after spackling and sanding is a good idea. If you are absolutely fixed on stenciling textured walls, you'll have more success if your wall is lightly textured, if choose a more open, flowing design instead of one containing tiny designs, and if you use stencil cremes instead of liquid acrylics. If you are not sure if stenciling will work on your textured wall, purchase a cheap stencil at Wal-Mart (or make a simple one out of thin cardboard or plastic) and test a small portion of the design on an inconspicuous area of your wall first (closet).

What is the easiest way to remove my old wallpaper border before I begin my stenciling project?

Simply peel away what you can and then the rest of the border can be removed by mixing liquid fabric softener with hot water (about one cup fabric softener to a gallon of hot water). Just mix up the fabric softener and water, take a sponge and thoroughly saturate it with the solution and "wash" the area of border that didn't come off. Wait a few minutes and then take a scraper and remove.

Can I use stencil cremes on wood?

Yes you can. However, the color will not be as bold if the wood has been stained. Stencil cremes work best on unfinished or painted wood.

Can I apply latex paint over a surface finished with an oil-based product?

Yes. You have two choices to do this. First would be to wash the surface then sand and then clean the sanding dust off. You then apply your latex paint over the oil based paint. That process works for both interior and exterior applications. Your other option is to wash the surface and then apply a coat of a bonding primer and then topcoat.

Oil based paints seem to become brittle after years of wear. Will acrylic latex paint deteriorate like this?

No. The particles of acrylic latex paint fuse together to form a film that remains flexible over the life of the paint. This film has the ability to expand and contract with the surface, which helps give the paint superior durability.

I am thinking of stenciling an old porcelain sink. Do I need to use a special type of stencil or paint?

You can use any type of stencil however you will have to use a paint especially designed for porcelain surfaces. We recommend Porcelaine 150. Porcelain paint does have to be fired or baked in the oven. With the Porcelaine 150 paints you can bake them in the oven at 300 degrees for 35 minutes and then allow them 24 hours drying time. They come in a variety of colors and are soap and water washable before baking. You can find out more about these paints at www.pebeo.com.

How do I remove adhesive spray from the back of my stencil?

We recommend a product called "Sticky Out" by Elmers. Apply a light coat on the affected area, wait ten minutes and wipe it off.