How to pull off free-hand stenciled wall art

Guestpost by Hannah on Aug 16th

I have been fantasizing about creating some sort of mural or crafty art on some wall of our house, and our future baby's room seemed to be the perfect place! I was dreaming up plans for a tree stencil on the nursery wall. We didn't know the sex of our baby so my husband and I agreed on a light aqua color to paint over our already purple wall.

After researching wall stencils, I realized I didn't want to pay for something I could do myself. It seemed easy enough.

So, if you're inclined to paint something on your wall, in the process of painting your walls, read on.


Step 1: Prep room or wall to paint by washing it, taping the moulding, etc.

Step 2: Draw/trace your image onto the wall. I did this freehand, using a few images I found online as my guide. A teacher friend of mine said she traced her image, put it on her projector, and then projected the image onto the wall to trace it. Brilliant.

Step 3: Tape inside the lines of your drawing. I started with the outer edges of the tree, and then filled in later. I didn't end up staying inside my lines, but I was okay with that. I taped generously, then used the X-acto knife to create curved and angled edges where I wanted them.

Step 4: Fill in the image with tape, making sure you press down the edges of the tape well to prevent paint seepage.

Step 5: Paint the wall in the color of your choice, painting over the tape. Allow time to dry. Paint another coat if necessary.

Step 6: Peel off the tape. Your image will be in the original wall color, surrounded by a new wall color.

Note: There was some paint seepage of the edges of my tree, which bothered me at first. Then I realized that no tree has straight edges and decided that it was fine.

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About Hannah

Hannah is a California native and daughter of two very DIY parents, one of them extremely crafty. She tries to do crafty projects in her spare time, which is now very limited with a newborn.