Stenciled Accent Wall

It's been a while since I've posted about my home renovation adventures, and there's definitely been some progress over the last few months.  Most of the progress has been in the master suite, so the next several posts (with one quilt-y interruption) will be on that.

So, pre-us, this is what our master bedroom looked like.

It was very serene and well-done.  But a little too earthy for me.  Troy and I have more or less decided that our "style" is turn of the (last) century, nautical (which holds, right up until I start sharing pictures of Troy's office - prepare yourselves for bold).  I also tend to gravitate a lot more toward cool neutrals, as opposed to warm neutrals.  So, our master, like our wedding, is all about the blues, grays, and pops of coral.

When querying Pinterest for accent wall ideas, I found that I liked the stenciled look, and even more than that, I really liked the same color, glossy-on-matte look.  So, that's what I decided to do.  The colors in our master are Behr Southern Evening in high-gloss and flat, and Behr Light French Gray, in eggshell.  I purchased my stencil from OMGStencils on Etsy.

Stenciling Process

I started by applying spray adhesive to the reverse side of my stencil.  I did this outside, and it seemed to be working pretty well, until about two minutes in, when it started raining.  I finished, but the stick wasn't very good, so after I gathered my other supplies, I reapplied the spray-on adhesive.  Other supplies mostly consisted of the most adorable mini-roller and tray that I have ever seen, and the glossy Southern Evening.

My strategy was to start stenciling from the upper left corner, go across the ceiling (over the window), and then work down in rows of two at a time.  What happened instead was that I started at the top, did approximately two repeats, and then stopped until Troy could come in and install a light (we had a ceiling fan that was pretty gross, so we took it down, only to find that the hardware wasn't in place to have a fan there, so we opted for a light fixture instead).  As it turns out, with only natural light (and a torrential downpour), it's really, really hard to line up stencils when you're painting Southern Evening on Southern Evening.  Lesson learned.

Once the light was installed, it took me approximately two hours, and two more spray adhesive applications to do the majority of the wall.  Because the bottom row was shorter than the rest of them, I stopped to let the paint dry on the stencil (because some paint gets on the back of the stencil), so as not to get blue on the trim.

Please ignore the grossness of the popcorn ceiling - I promise that it's gone now.

Please ignore the grossness of the popcorn ceiling - I promise that it's gone now.

To paint around the windows, and on the bottom row, I used painters tape, rather than the spray adhesive, which worked really well.  Around the window, it was helpful to have a second set of hands, because there was only ~5 inches between the last full stencil and the window that needed to be painted.  I taped one side and Troy held the other while I painted super fast.  Then I went back over with a small paintbrush (probably about a centimeter wide) and filled in a few places on the wall where I had missed a line or a corner with the roller.  Below are some pictures of the final result (which I LOVE).  It almost looks like velvet on the wall.  The pictures aren't superb (again, painting Southern Evening on Southern Evening), but I think you get the gist. 

Lessons Learned

So, so many of them (or four, whatever).

  1. I was not in love with my spray-on adhesive, but I don't think that the one I had was designed for stenciling.  As you continue to use the stencil, more and more paint builds up on it, which makes it heavier, and the adhesive doesn't stick as well.  I thought that the painters tape was wildly easier to work with, and held very securely, but I was able to position the tape in such a way as not to mess with the still-drying paint on the previous stencil.  I'd imagine that not all stencils allow for this.
  2. If I had to guess, I'd say that I had too much paint on my adorable mini-roller basically all the time.  This led to a little bit of a bleed, which didn't bother me because of how large the area was, and to paint getting on to the back of the stencil.  A solid lesson learned for me was to stop and let the stencil totally dry before I used it in a corner, near the trim, or by the window, so as not to get Southern Evening all over everything (only had to make that mistake once).
  3. I was not quite as diligent about lining up all the overlap points as I should have been.  For the most part, they're good, but in a few cases, they're half an inch off or so.  Again, based on the size and the blue-on-blue nature of the project, that doesn't really bother me.  If I were using two colors that had more (read: any) color contrast, that would probably bother me a lot more.
  4. Especially for glossy on matte, make sure to have good light in the room.  Even with a working overhead, it's easy for a line or a corner to have been behind a shadow and missed in the initial run.