Stenciling Tips

Outdoor signs – Ivy Lane

American Paint Company Products

Stenciling takes some time and patience. Invest in stencils that are heavy and can be reused. I have some metal stenciling letters that I love because they never tear and are so easy to clean.


1) American Paint Company’s Chalk and Clay Paint
2) Sponge brush or makeup up sponge applicator or stencil brush
3) Painters tape
4) Quality stencil made of at least 10 mil opaque mylar
5) Rags for mistakes or blotting. May use paper towels instead
5) Sanding block to weather, distress or fix mistakes


I simply use a tapping or dabbing method using a make up applicator sponge in the stencil openings. I find this produces more even tones. Some prefer to use swirling brush motions against the stencil openings, which can be more messy and or rip (yikes) the stencil if you’re not careful or light to the touch. Varying the amount of pressure and paint will affect the final look of your design. It’s always a good idea to practice on paper to build confidence.

1) Stencil over a clean, prepped surface. If stenciling over a painted surface, be sure the original paint surface is dry and/or clean. Adding a layer of American Paint Company’s Top Coat to the original paint surface can be helpful if you make a mistake and need to wipe back the stencil (see #5).
2) Using painters tape to hold the stencil in place while you work is helpful. A slight shift in the stencil as you work can really make a mess.
3) I love using a makeup sponge applicator to stencil. They are cheap and disposable (win-win). I lightly dip the flat tip of the applicator into the paint, wipe off access, blot on a paper towel or rag to remove access and dab the paint onto the stencil openings with light pouncing motions (“stippling”).
3) Take your time. I find I do my best work when I am not under the gun to finish.
4) Use paint that is thicker. If your paint is thin, let it sit out in the open air and thicken up before you apply. If your paint is too thin, it can leak under the stencil and make a real mess.
5) If you make a mistake, you can use a sanding block to sand back the mistake and distress the area. For larger mistakes, go ahead and take a wet cloth and wipe off the wet paint and start over. This happens. It happened to me yesterday! Remember it’s just paint. If you make a mess, take the stencil off, if the paint is now dry, repaint the surface and try again later. You won’t be the first person who made a mess and certainly not the last. It’s JUST paint. It’s not a tattoo that can’t be removed.
6) Clean your stencil when done. I use a super soft paint brush to wipe the paint off while the stencil is stilling in lukewarm water.

To buy paint, visit Ivy Lane or our website.

For tips, stop by Ivy Lane or email us [email protected]


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