Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gradient Stenciling Tutorial

Doing gradient shading on a stencil is really easy once you learn how simple it is. Gradient shading gives the effect of light to dark or vice versa.  It looks especially nice on the large flower stencils.

*If you have never stenciled before, I suggest practicing your technique on a piece of cardboard so that you can go to the wall with total confidence (the stencils are reusable, so don't worry about getting paint on it).

Here are the steps:

1. Get all of your materials together:

    a) Protective cover for your table (newspaper works)
    b) Elmer's spray adhesive (or painter's tape).  I prefer spray adhesive because it
        helps to make sure you don't get paint leaking behind the stencil
    c) Paint - you can use craft paint (the red bottle) or interior wall paint (Home
        Depot sells these great little bottles for $2 - $3 as samples)
    d) A sponge or bristle stencil brush (I like the sponge because it's very easy to
        use and it covers space quickly).  You can buy these at craft stores like
    e) Paint tray - anything flat will do (paper plate, plastic takeout top, etc.)
    f) A stack of paper towels to blot your brush on
    g) A cup of water and some Q-tips for corrections (if needed)

Stenciling Supplies

2. Pour your colors onto the paint tray.  For this example, I will be stenciling Peony no. 2 (medium size).  For gradient shading, you really only need two to three colors (dark, medium, light, or just dark and light).

3. Adhere your stencil to the wall.  I have used spray adhesive, but you can also use painter's tape.

The stencil has been adhered to the wall with spray adhesive


4.  For this stencil, I am going from darker in the center to lighter around the edges.  I have put my sponge brush in the red with a little bit of the peach.  Make sure to blot your sponge/brush well on the paper towels before taking it to the wall.  If there is too much paint, it could seep behind the stencil.

5.  Take your brush to the wall and dab lightly in the center of the stencil.  Don't press too hard, or again, this could cause leaking.  *IMPORTANT:  It is vital that you use a dabbing motion as opposed to a sweeping motion (like you would if you were using a regular paintbrush).  A sweeping motion could cause paint to build up in the cutout shapes and leak behind.  That's why stencil brushes are made with a flat top - perfect for dabbing perpendicular to the wall.

6. Continue to apply the paint, going evenly outward, adding more of the medium color with each application (peach in my case).

At this point I am only using the peach color
7.  Once you have gotten to the point where you are using only the medium color, you can begin to add the white (or the lightest color).

8. Continue applying paint, adding or subtracting white so that it blends nicely.  *NOTE: You should try to finish stenciling in one shot because it's easier to blend the paint while it's still wet.

The stencil is almost finished
9.  Once you have finished, you can go back and do extra blending if need be.

Finishing touches

10.  When you are satisfied with your paint job, slowly peel the stencil from the wall.

11.  If you see any spots where the paint bled behind the cutouts, fix it ASAP (it's easier to clean up if it's still a bit wet).  Just dip a Q-tip in the cup of water and carefully rub it across the unwanted paint.

12.  Once you have finished with cleanup (if it was necessary), stand back and look at the beautiful job you did!

All done!

1 comment:

  1. Looks Amazing!!! I just finished my Dining Room and I posted the before and after on my blog.
    I will be purchasing a new stencil very soon for my master bathroom