How To Stencil On Wood Without Bleeding
Have you ever noticed that there is a learning curve to most DIY skills? I have a feeling I am not the only one who considers my first try on a new skill or project to be a practice try! The first try teaches me what to do or not to do on the 2nd try, generally.
How to paint with stencils without bleeding can be quite a challenge! My first attempts were disasters and I almost gave up until a friend showed me how to keep the paint in the stencil to create clean, crisp lines. You will need to practice a bit before you get the “feel” of it, but once you get it you are set!
In the past, I have tossed many a project due to paint bleeding under the stencil and wrecking the look of the piece I was making.
I most recently used my new technique on a beautiful table that someone gave to me. You could also use it on wood signs or on reclaimed barn wood. This technique is quite simple and doable and it only takes some painter’s tape to make it successful. You are going to need a bit of patience with this one as well, simply because adding the paint slowly and in layers will keep your stenciled lines crisp and clean.
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How To Use Letter Stencils
For my tabletop, I chose a French Poem Stencil. I thought it looked perfect with the style of the table as it has a Shabby Chic look to it.
I have used a lot of text and quote stencils in the past but this was my first attempt using such a small and delicate cursive text. Making sure that the text had a clean and crisp look was important to me because of the font’s delicate look.
In general, you can use letter stencils the same way as all other stencils and this technique works across the board too.
My Best Stenciling Technique
The technique that I like to use for stenciling on wood is called a DRY BRUSH TECHNIQUE. It is rather self-explanatory in that you are using a fairly dry brush to get the paint onto your surface. This will take some patience as it takes longer than just using brush strokes to apply your paint. However, you will eliminate a lot of the bleeding underneath the stencil that occurs with brush strokes.
A dry brush technique requires a prepped surface meaning that you have already sanded, primed, painted, or stained your surface so that it accepts the paint.
In my case, I have sanded my tabletop and painted it with Rustoleum Chalked Paint in Charcoal. You can see a few of my favorite colors below:
I am going to walk you through this simple technique and you can either watch the video below or you can scroll down to follow the step-by-step tutorial.
How To Stencil On Wood Using A Dry Brush Technique
Gather Your Materials: A Paintable Surface, Chalk Paint, Foam Brush, Stencil Of Your Choice, Painter’s Tape
- Figure out where you want to place your stencil on your prepared surface. In my case, I needed to move my stencil, but yours might be small enough to stay stationary. Either way, you will want to place it where it best works for your project.
- Tape your stencil to the project so that it is secure and will not move.
- When adding paint to your brush you will LOAD it and then UNLOAD it. This means that you will add your paint and then dab it off enough so that your brush is fairly dry but still covered with paint. This will prevent the paint from running or bleeding under your stencil.
- Now you will “bounce” the brush without pressing or pushing the paint onto the surface. You will probably need to “bounce” several times in one spot before you have the desired amount of paint on your project.
- Move slowly over your project bouncing in one spot at a time. You will find that the paint tends to stick to the stencil more than it sticks to your work surface, but that is normal. I found that a 2-3″ area was great to work on before moving to another area.
- Cover your entire stencil in this fashion.
- It is OK to remove the tape and remove your stencil from your work surface while the paint is still dry.
- If you are using a stencil that needs to be moved around (like my French Love Letter Stencil), let the paint dry before re-taping the stencil to a new part of the project. This will keep you from smudging your paint on accident.
Stencils For Wood Signs Or Furniture
I use a number of different brands of stencils and I have found that you really can’t go wrong unless you buy super cheap flimsy stencils. One of my favorite brands, however, is Cutting Edge Stencils simply because of their beautiful, decorative designs. I used their French Poem Craft Stencil on my table and I love the finished look!
There are so many ways you can go with stencils and paint. Honestly, the ideas are endless!
The best thing for you to do it just dive in and start practicing. Purchase an inexpensive piece of furniture from a yard sale or thrift store and clean it and paint it. Then get to work with your stencil and chalk paint!
Just remember to stay patient and wait until you get the “feel” of the dry brush technique before working on your desired piece. You can practice on a piece of scrap wood first.
Check out these links for more DIY inspiration: