Stencil in style
To echo the Art Deco mood of the poster flanking the fireplace, I was set on a geometric motif and was thrilled to find the “Deco Diamonds” at StenciledUp. Because the pattern wasn’t available in my tile size, 12-by-12 inches, I requested a custom size, which has delayed my project by a couple of weeks. Knowing that the pattern is a bit busy, I am opting for a light gray accent (Behr Dolphin Fin—an eight-ounce color sample should be plenty of paint), similar to the hue on the wall. “Creating color harmony ties it all together as one coordinated project,” Woelfel suggests.
My stenciling gurus—Lisa Donohoe and Brynn Gelbard, the artists behind Londubh Studio, a Los Angeles decorative painting firm—warned me that “stenciling is not a simple DIY situation.” Here’s how I plan to get the job done.
Because I want to see how the stencil will line up, I plan to practice on craft paper using a stencil brush. Who knows, I might end up with great wrapping paper!
Misalignment is a common newbie mistake, apparently. Per Donohoe’s suggestion, I will use chalk to mark the tile centers as guidelines to help match the stencil as I move tile to tile.
Once I am ready to place the stencil over tile, I will use Scotch Spray Mount Repositionable Adhesive to ensure the entire surface is affixed to the tile, not just the edges, which should still be secured with painter’s tape in the corners. “Just give a light spray and wait 30 seconds before positioning, so it is tacky rather than wet,” says Lorraine Penney from StenciledUp. Gently tapping over the cutout will keep the paint from running. “The first layer should be very transparent,” Donohoe adds. “You’re not looking for full coverage, at least not right away. It’s better to do two or three layers than deal with excess.” In fact, the opaque finish looks more organic (and forgiving).
In between transfers, I’ll use a hair dryer to speed the process and avoid a mess. Wiping down the stencil with a clean rag after each use is also crucial. I am guessing that my 21-square-foot tile territory will take at least three hours to complete. The final touch: three coats of Minwax Polycrylic in clear satin, a water-based polyurethane to protect the tile from stains and scratches. I will use a foam roller for this and then add two coats to the top of the mantle, lest all my decorations wear down the paint over time.