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Using Stencils to Create Art for Your Walls

Submitted by on March 15, 2012 – 12:30 pmOne Comment

Martha Stewart stencils at Michael's

How to Use Stencils to Paint on Canvas for some Great Wall Art

We recently remodeled our bathroom, removing the ancient wallpaper, texturing walls, putting in new flooring and fixtures. We have a huge bathroom, kind of silly how big it is. Above the bathtub is a large white wall that was too empty without the patterned wallpaper. We decided to add blue accents with rugs and towels to an otherwise beige area to tie in with the blue walls and carpet in our bedroom.  So I wanted artwork in keeping with our blue theme. Because I had textured the walls, stencils directly on the walls were not an option.

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on art for the bathroom, humidity is hard on art! So off I went to Michael‘s with my 40% coupon in hand to see what might inspire me to be creative. Surely I could come up with some inexpensive art for the wall in the bathroom.

I ended up on the stencil aisle and fell in love! I have never worked with stencils before but they were on my mind thanks to Samantha Conner’s great post this month on how to stencil your walls. She has some great tips and ideas on how to update any room with a simple stencil pattern.

Martha Stewart crafts

Supplies Needed:

  • White canvas, any size
  • Acrylic paints (successful stencil designs only use a few complementary colors, I used blue, white and copper)
  • Brushes, sponges (my favorite new tool where the small sponges
  • Painter’s tape to hold down stencil
  • Stencil Pattern – Here’s the one I used: Martha Stewart Crafts™ Arabesque Laser-Cut Stencils
  • Plastic tablecloth or drop cloth


First, I covered the canvas with turquoise blue paint or you could prime it with a coat of gesso, depending on what you want to layer on top. Allow to dry completely.

I then textured the back ground with two shades of blue and white using a fun technique I learned from Violette where you use an old credit card to spread the paint, makes great texture and interesting patterns. Just squirt some of each color, not too much, onto the canvas and spread with the credit card. Have fun with this piece!! Allow this layer to dry completely.

I am not a big planner, I like to just paint and go with the flow. You could plan ahead of time where to layer your stencils or do like I did and wing it!

A couple of tips I learned on working with stencils: use one color at a time and allow each color to dry completely before adding the next layer. The acrylics dry quickly so you won’t have to wait too long.

I used Martha Stewart’s foam pouncers (they are the white tubes with sponges on the end in the supplies picture) to paint on the actual stencil designs. They worked very well. You have to be careful not too use too much paint and to keep the stencil flat so you don’t get paint underneath it.

Wash the stencils between layers to keep colors clear and stencil clean and flat.

That’s it, super easy. I had fun making this 20 x 20 canvas and it was certainly cheaper than buying original art. It may not be a masterpiece but I was just looking for a fun splash of color! Can’t wait to play some more!



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