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How to Stencil Your Kitchen Back Splash

Updated on April 2, 2017
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I have acquired a few skills along the way. If I am able to help someone else with these skills, I am more than happy to share.

Stenciled Kitchen Back Splash
Stenciled Kitchen Back Splash | Source

With a Little Time and Effort You Can Create a Colorful Back Splash

If you have painted a room before or even a piece of furniture, your experience will help you with this project. I would say this project is not simple, but rather moderate in difficulty.

Hopefully by listing some of the mistakes I made, and what I learned, it will the smooth the way for your back splash stenciling.


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Materials List

  • Paint for the wall background color. I used Sherwin Williams Fern. A quart was more than enough.
  • A roller and paint brush to apply the background color. I used an 8 inch roller
  • If you are using a roller, you need a roller pan
  • Painter's tape
  • Wall stencil of your choice. These are available online and in most craft stores. I used ArtMind's stencil in the Quatrefoil pattern.
  • Paint for the stencil design. I used Clark and Kensington paint, in Almond
  • A stencil roller or applicator
  • Optional: Wall putty, a putty knife and sandpaper. Paintable outlet and switch plate covers (available in most large home improvement stores and online).

Back Splash Before Stencilling

My Back Splash Before -  The builder put on a flat coat of poor quality neutral paint which was unwashable.   The outlets and switch plates were prominent.
My Back Splash Before - The builder put on a flat coat of poor quality neutral paint which was unwashable. The outlets and switch plates were prominent. | Source

Preparation is Key

  1. I cleared everything off of my kitchen counters.
  2. I washed the walls. I wanted all traces of cooking grease off, so the paint would adhere.
  3. Small nail holes and cracks were filled in with wall putty and sanded smooth when dry.
  4. Using painter's tape I taped across the top of my counters and any place the back splash met my cabinets.
  5. I wanted the back splash to end where my cabinets ended. I used a level to mark the wall and put a vertical tape there.
  6. I removed the outlet and switch plate covers.

I spread out my outlet and switch covers on parchment paper, so they would not stick. Using a small brush, I painted them. They needed 2 coats.
I spread out my outlet and switch covers on parchment paper, so they would not stick. Using a small brush, I painted them. They needed 2 coats. | Source

Background Paint Goes On First

I used an 8 inch roller to paint most of the back splash.   A 1-1/2 inch angled brush was used to fill in where the roller would not reach.
I used an 8 inch roller to paint most of the back splash. A 1-1/2 inch angled brush was used to fill in where the roller would not reach. | Source

I Cut The Stencil to Fit the Height of My Back Splash

The distance between my counter top and cabinets was 14-1/4 inches. The stencil was 17-1/4 inches high. I measured and cut 3 inches off of the stencil so it would easily fit the space.

Stencilling

Using painters tape, I taped the stencil on all four corners,to keep is from shifting on the wall. It is important that your base coat is absolutely dry before you do this or the tape will lift off the background paint.

I rolled my stencil roller in almond color paint. Following the instructions, I then rolled the excess paint off on a paper towel. This will keep the roller from being so loaded with paint that it seeps under the design.

Paint was applied using enough pressure to get the design on the wall, but not so much that it seeped under the pattern.

Carefully, I removed the stencil, pulling it straight out and off the wall without smearing the paint.

The stencil comes with registration marks, so it is easy to align the stencil with the already stenciled design and set up the next area.



Clean Up and Finishing

I used a small artist brush to touch up areas where the stencil did not cover

When it was completely dry I removed the painter's tape. I replaced the outlet covers and switch plates.

The Finished Back Splash - My work was well worth the effort.  I am so pleased with the results.
The Finished Back Splash - My work was well worth the effort. I am so pleased with the results. | Source

Avoid My Mistake - Start In a Corner and Work Your Way Out

  • I started at the end of my counter near the refrigerator and moved toward the corner. The stencil does not bend easily enough to fit into a corner. If I ever stencil again, I would start in the corner and work out in either direction from there.
  • To compensate, I stenciled as close to the corner as possible. When I finished the majority of the back splash I cut the stencil into an approximately 3 inch vertical strip to fit it into the corner space which was left blank.
  • When I realized I could not do the corner I started at the other end and worked my way toward the corner. Then I realized at some point the pattern would not meet and match.
  • I hid my mismatch behind the kitchen faucet as it was the only solution I could think of.
  • It was also necessary to cut the stencil into a small horizontal strip to stencil the space between my window and counter.

Another Pitfall

Using the paint roller covers the whole front of the stencil with paint. After a while it was covering the registration marks. I had to eyeball the pattern match.

When I realized what was happening, it was too late. The paint was already dried and firmly adhered to the front of the stencil.

One option would have been to wash it after each use. However, this would have potentially damaged the stencil. It would have also been very time consuming waiting for the stencil to dry between each use.

My suggestion is to use the sponge applicator rather than the roller and just tamp the paint into the stencil openings. Or, immediately after applying the paint with the roller, use a damp rag to wipe enough paint off to expose the registration marks.

Level Of Difficulty

If you are stenciling a straight wall with no corners, this is relatively easy. Stenciling a back splash with the many outlets and corners is more difficult. Add in the position you need to put yourself in to get under the cabinets and across the counter and I would say this is moderately difficult.

© 2017 Ellen Gregory

Do you like how this looks? Would you do it?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 months ago from the short journey

      Your project turned out so nice. Thanks for sharing your DIY guide and tips.