I’ll be honest – I didn’t make much progress this last week. It was like -7 degrees outside, the kind of temps that make you want to curl up in a blanket all day.
So I decided to look back on some of my furniture redesigns where stenciling was a big part of it. When you think of stenciling, you may always be thinking of a flat paint color. But let’s flip that notion upside down and explore some other ways to use stencils.
Stenciling with Stain
I love to celebrate wood. This tall dresser happened to be the third time I used STAIN to add a stencil. The idea is to sand the piece down to bare wood first. I chose to then lightly stain it all over for a more finished look (or you could leave it au natural). Then, you use a darker stain on the stencil to stand out. I really love this look because it adds depth and interest without covering up the pretty wood grain. Kind of the best of both worlds.
Silk Screen Stencils
Have you ever tried SILK SCREEN stencils? These are not fully open stencils, but have a mesh to them, so you can apply paint in a more subtle way (and honestly, finger painting did the trick for me). I actually bought this by accident, not knowing it wasn’t a traditional stencil. It was by Martha Stewart and I really liked the pattern. What’s nice about silk screen is how easy it is to add and mix more than one color. On this handkerchief dresser, I used peachy, pink, and tan colors together. It took what might normally be a flat one-color stencil to a whole new level.
I adore 3-dimensional treatments to furniture. One way is with textured wallpaper. HEADS UP: I just ordered a big, beautiful sheet and hope to use it in a furniture redesign soon! But another option is to take your normal stencil and use a thick medium like wood paste or clay or mud to create a RAISED stencil. I actually use good old wood putty myself. After placing the stencil where you’d like, you simply wipe on the putty over the openings. I use a big wooden paint stick (like a large popsicle stick – you can find them at Home Depot) to wipe mine on. It doesn’t need to be very thick to stand out once you lift the stencil. It’s how I transformed the drawers on this blue dresser.
I might be making up a new term – I don’t know if reverse stenciling is even a thing. But this project was like 4 years in the making in my head. I had done a room makeover for my youngest son and applied a wall decal of a tree to one wall. I ordered this tricycle for another part of the room but decided not to use it. Instead, I had a vision of a flat piece of furniture where I’d use the decal as a way to reverse the typical stencil idea. Instead of applying the paint to the shape of the stencil, I painted around the decal. The results? The outline and design of the tricycle in the original wood grain surrounded by a happy yellow.
The way I did this was to prep the cabinet, restain the wood on the front doors in the dark walnut like the legs, and then paint around the decal before removing it. I will admit I had some touch-ups to do where the design got pretty intricate, but with some patience, it turned out just as I had hoped.
What do you think of these 4 different ways to use stencils? Do you have a favorite?
To keep the creative juices flowing, I have a NEW IDEA for stencils. Wood engraving! For Christmas, I ordered a small engraving tool, which I haven’t used yet. Who would like to see a unique design in the future where I etch a stencil pattern into the wood of a piece of furniture? Could it work? What do you think?
Joy to you,
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