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How to Stencil Your Kitchen Backsplash

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.

The Finished Backsplash:  My work was well worth the effort.  I am so pleased with the results.

The Finished Backsplash: My work was well worth the effort. I am so pleased with the results.

With a Little Time and Effort, You Can Create a Colorful Backsplash

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 moderate in difficulty. Hopefully by listing some of the mistakes I made and what I learned, it will the smooth the way for your backsplash stenciling.

Stenciled Kitchen Backsplash (After)

Stenciled Kitchen Backsplash (After)

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).

Backsplash Before Stenciling

My Backsplash Before: The builder put on a flat coat of poor quality neutral paint which was unwashable.  The outlets and switch plates were prominent.

My Backsplash Before: The builder put on a flat coat of poor quality neutral paint which was unwashable. The outlets and switch plates were prominent.

How to Prepare the Wall for the Stencil

  1. Clear everything off of kitchen counters.
  2. Wash the walls. Get all traces of cooking grease off so the paint adheres.
  3. Fill small nail holes and cracks with wall putty and sand smooth when dry.
  4. Using painter's tape, tape across the top of the counters and any place the backsplash meets cabinets. (I wanted the backsplash to end where my cabinets ended, so I used a level to mark the wall and put a vertical tape there.)
  5. Remove outlet and switch plate covers.

I Cut The Stencil to Fit the Height of My Backsplash

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.

Background Paint Goes On First

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

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.

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 backsplash 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.
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.

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.

What's Your Skill Level?

© 2017 Ellen Gregory

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

RTalloni on May 01, 2017:

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

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