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Stenciling Technique

How to Stencil in My Original Technique

fish stencil

Stenciled on fabric

  I developed my own technique for stenciling wall borders, murals, furniture, etc. I was inspired by an English stenciler who used spray cans of paint to apply the colors to the wall. I wanted a cleaner, fast drying way of stenciling to achieve a similar look. Acrylic paint and sponges were the answer. I painted the surface to be stenciled with acrylic wall paint in the desired color, and then I applied the stenciling using my new method.

Traditional Stenciling

You can also use my stencils with the traditional stenciling techniques and materials using stenciling brushes and oils.

My Stenciling Technique


Eggshell acrylic wall paint in background color
White eggshell acrylic wall paint
Artist's acrylic colors.
Adhering spray for stencil
Masking tape
Natural sponge
Plastic cups for mixing paint
Small paint brush for mixing
Roller and/or brush to paint wall
Small pointed paint brush to touch up


  • Paint the wall or furniture, etc., in the background color.
  • Mix the colors you need for the stencils in the plastic cups.
    Use the white paint and artist's colors.
  • Lay each stencil upside down on newspaper. Spray the back of the stencil with the sticky adhering spray.
  • Cut pieces from the sponge about the size of a ping-pong ball, one for each color. You may need a smaller piece for tight spaces. One side of the piece must always be the outer surface of the sponge.


  • Place the stencil where you want the design. It will stick because of the spray.
  • Add pieces of masking tape to hold the stencil firmly.
  • Pick up some of a primary color on the outer surface of the sponge.
  • Lightly tap the sponge on the newspaper to remove any excess paint.
  • Choose the area to be stenciled in that color. Tap the sponge against the stencil. Cover the area with the color. Let it extend into adjacent areas.
  • Repeat for each color.
  • Let the paint dry, about 10 or 15 minutes. Most of it may dry as you are putting on the color.
  • Pick up a color on the sponge tips on the outer surface of the sponge. Each tip will have a spot of color.
  • Just barely touch the sponge over the whole stencil in widely spaced taps. This will add dots of color all over the stencil. Concentrate various colors in different areas Let them run over into the adjacent areas. Try it on paper first.
  • Repeat with each color. If you would like to add a bit of sparkle, add dots of white paint.
  • Remove and reposition the stencil.
  • Repeat this process until all the stenciling is complete.


Clean all the sponges with soap and water so they will be ready for the next project. Clean the paint from the stencil using warm water and an abrasive like plastic scouring pads or steel wool. Everything else can be cleaned with soap and water before the paint is thoroughly dry. If any of the paint has run under the stencil on to the wall, use the small paint brush to paint over the run with the background color.


There are many fabric painting products on the market and no one product is right for every fabric or situation. My stencils can be used with any of them. Use the die according to the manufacturer directions... If durability is the requirement, then you will want to test out the fabric paints available to you on the fabric you are going to use.

As a durability test, prewash the fabric, and stencil a small motif on it using each brand of paint. Follow each manufacturer's directions for application and setting the dye. Throw it in the washer each time you do the wash for a week or so. This will give you a good idea of which paint is most durable.

With dies, when choosing your fabric, remember that natural fibers hold colors better than synthetics, so if it is going to be worn, cotton is best. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use blends and synthetics, but be sure to test your paints. You can use acrylic paint on any fabric.

Dies give you a soft flexible fabric. I use my acrylics. The motif is raised and stiff because the paint is thick. It is an interesting effect.


Stretch the fabric and tape it to a flat surface. Stencil as described above. The fabric color is the background color.


When the paint is thoroughly dry, in a week or two, it is waterproof. The walls can be washed. Washable fabric can be washed by hand or washed and dried in a washing machine and dryer. It can be ironed on the wrong side. My painting clothes end up so stiff with paint that I have to throw them away after many washings and dryings.


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