Stencil drama: Saved by Mama

UPDATE: New “work in progress” photos recovered and added! 

After our chalkboard door success Mom and I were feeling pretty good about our next DIY project. I was really worried about my unsightly galley kitchen and was looking for a way to distract from my crazy cabinets and countertops until I had the time or money to put into fixing them. I was considering wallpaper when my mom sent me some cute stencils she found on Etsy. There were a lot of stores to choose from, but our favorite was OMGStencils.

Here are the finalists:

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We decided that the trees and birds were the most interesting option with the least dizzying effect – an important factor to consider when standing next to a stove.  We already had the blue kitchen wall (Behr – English Channel). We were ready to commence Operation: Stencil my Kitchen.

Well…painting the wall blue was our first mistake.

Our plan/The Instructions:

  • The stencil arrived in 2 large squares (about 24″x24″), and 1 additional smaller square for the individual bird stencils.
  • The instructions (and Mom) said to spray the stencil lightly with spray adhesive (to keep it in place) and use a small roller to apply the paint over the stencil. (Great plan, right?!)
  • We used a leftover paint sample of Behr – Light French Gray (UPDATED: previously incorrectly identified paint color as Pewter Mug) and avoided the added expense of white paint! (Although if I remember correctly we had to buy another sample before the week was over).

We sprayed the stencil over an old sheet on the floor my apartment (which was good, because the adhesive never washed out) and stuck it up on the wall… UH OH.

Surprise! It turns out, that the stencil is designed for a white wall. Meaning, that if we used white paint for our stencil…we would end up with navy blue trees. Yikes. Mom and I talked it over, thought about repainting the wall white, and then decided it would be easier to stick up the stencil, trace it out with chalk, and go from there.

We had to make due with a yellow colored pencil as chalk and Frog Tape really didn’t go all that well together. The Frog Tape came to rescue when we decided to tape off all the tree trunks in vertical lines, paint those with a roller,  and then stencil in the tree detail overtop of them. See below:

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Then Mom (hence “Saved by Mama”) free-handed all of the branches and twigs that we traced out earlier. Clearly, this whole project was more of an undertaking than we planned.

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Finally, we brought the stencil back out and actually used it as originally intended – for STENCILING! I matched up all the knots of the vertically taped out trees and went to work on the details that make this stencil so interesting. We couldn’t use the roller as suggested in the instructions, so we used a blotting technique with some stenciling brushes we purchased after Plan B was in effect.

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At the end of the day we were birdless, but the trees were DONE! The birds had to be added in individually – and we just didn’t feel smart enough for any more major decisions that day. Enough is enough! (Oh, but we managed to add a simple kitchen light fixture too!)

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Update: We added in a handful of birds a few months later, but ultimately decided they detracted from the beauty of the trees. I painted over all but the single turquoise bird on the top left.

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Now that it’s all over. I’m really proud of all the hard work Mom and I put into this wall. It really helps to draw the eye up and away from our unsightly cabinets and countertops. It makes for a great conversation piece too – since it requires a story about the near disaster of “almost-blue” trees. Best of all I still have the stencil so I can use it again if and when we move (with a white background OF COURSE!).

3 thoughts on “Stencil drama: Saved by Mama

  1. Pingback: Bettering the Bedroom | Tickled in NYC

  2. Pingback: Bippity Boppity…Bookshelf | Tickled in NYC

  3. Pingback: Nap Time Paint Job | Tickled in NYC

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