Adorn: Skip the wallpaper, try some stencils

Nothing is worse than living with old, tired, out-of-date, tacky wallpaper even the kitch-iest of us would cringe at.

Wall stenciling is one of the oldest methods of decorating. Stenciling can be a tricky technique, but wholly worth it. It can give the impression of wallpaper without the mess of glue and the bother of stripping it later. Not to mention few people want to buy a home that’s been papered.

Below is a link to a great site about stenciling. Ed Roth, the author of the book and the guy in the video, really knows what he's doing. I watched his video after buying the book and I had no problems stenciling all over my new apartment. His book is
also really worth it. The stencil designs are classic and the stencils themselves hold up really well to cleaning.

Another great choice for stencils is Scandinavian artist Lotta Jansdotter. Whereas Roths work is uniform and repetitious, Jansdotters work is more free form.

Besides your stencil you’ll need a stenciling brush or foam roller (the roller will be tons faster for large projects), paint tray, paint tape, a pencil, a level, tape measurer,
and spray adhesive (optional- depends how intricate the design is).

If you’re doing a whole wall, you’ll need to find the center to start figuring out your spacing, you don’t want to end up with 10” on one side and 15” on the other. Start by leveling out the top line of the stencil and marking it. You’ll want to mark all the spots before beginning. This is really important because you’ll be doing every other square before filling in so that it has time to dry.

If your stencil is really intricate, spray some photo mounting adhesive on the back; it will be sticky enough to help hold the pieces in place without too strong of a hold. Use painter’s tape on the edges of the stencil. When rolling or brushing in the paint, be sure to do so very carefully.

You may want to practice once or twice on some scrap. It’s really easy to use too much paint and leave the edges messy. For an aged look you may even want to roll on very lightly and leave some areas blank.

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