November 15, 2012

The Stencil That Wasn’t Meant To Be

There she blows.

Confession. Thank the lord this project is over. I’ve never been so frustrated in my life. DIY-ing is honestly something that I love 99% of the time. I like getting my hands dirty. I like working through road blocks. Solving problems. You know, doing-it-yourself. Count me in. Except sewing. Forget you sewing machine. We’re through. #itsnotmeitsyou

Anyway… I’m here to help out you fine folks, keep ya updated as we transform our house, share our story, and most importantly – lay our design failures right out on the table so you guys don’t find yourselves in the same situation. Who would of though stenciling would be on that list?

We’re finding ourselves a bit exhausted with all the major renovations we’ve blown through the past few months, the kitchen, the bathroom, the living room. So, I thought to myself “Hey self, lets do a small project while we recuperate. Something fun! Let’s stencil!”. This is where that fun ended. And before I even get into the details, let me just point out that this entire bad experience is purely my fault, not that of the stencil company. I was dealt some man gene that discourages me from reading directions (sorry men, ha) and this time it hit me hard.

Be warned – this tutorial turned into a short story. 

So here I am, stencil ordered, delivered, paint in hand, and entire pamphlet of directions in the other room . Here’s a quick peak at my supply list.

We purchased Royal Design Studio’s Casablanca Trellis Moroccan Stencil for those of you looking to join the fun. As far as color goes, I started with a paint sample of Behr Ultra’s Bold Avocado, but where the color ended I couldn’t tell you. I threw in a few splashes of white and a few more of another shade of green I had on hand. It turned out close to Ben Moore’s Kiwi.

Before beginning the stenciling process I made sure to tape down the paper as well as the stencil to the paper. It was fairly easy to get everything nice and level since the paper ended up being the same size as the stencil itself. One for the win pile. I also want to add a few details about the paper. My dad works for a family owned printing company and was able to provide me with three sheets of some awesome over-sized paper, but if you’re looking for some of your own I know Hobby Lobby carries large sizes.

 My first attempt at stenciling I used a foam brush. Don’t do that. It takes forever and it’s impossible to keep the paint consistency the same throughout, which results in a lot of bleeding beneath the stencil. One piece of paper down, lots of clean up, and ready to go again.

Attempt number two, I tried out the foam roller. My logic was this: The first attempt failed because it was inconsistent so I’ll just load the roller up with paint and get a nice solid finish. Knock it out in one roll, right?  Yea. You know how when spray painting, I always emphasize 20 thin coats is better than one thick? That goes for stenciling too. I even tried to touch up the areas that bled, but the paper was a brighter white than any paint I had on hand. Two pieces of paper down, lots of clean, and ready to go again.

Better get this right Jess, it’s your last piece. I thought long and hard about this round. The perfect solution: I would first paint the entire piece of paper in a bright white paint and THEN I would stencil. This way if and when the paint worked it’s way under the stencil again, I would just touch up with matching white paint. I thought I was so smart. Really, I did. More bleeding paint (sorry I keep using the word bleeding, it’s starting to gross me out too) and a half hour of touching up later I was ready to throw everything in the garbage. And by “ready to” I mean I literally took all three stenciled papers and tossed them straight in the garbage.

This is where it really got fun. I’m out of paper, so I head to Hobby Lobby to buy some paper of my own. Jokes on you, Hobby Lobby is closed on Sunday. Don’t waste your time going anywhere else, I did that for you. No one sells paper this big (23″x35″ by the way). So I call up my Dad, please bring me more paper I fudged up.

A few days later and I get my second chance. Only it’s Zoey’s birthday weekend and we’re getting ready for partytime. I stash the new sheets of paper, all rolled up, in the creepy back room of our house that hasn’t been touched since move in day. Pretty sure it’s never actually been shown in blog world, but it’s part of the addition project, come spring time. So, partytime is over and I make my way into that room and there she is. Rolled up paper, stomped and smashed to the floor. Are. You. Kidding. Me. I’m not saying I was p-oed, but don’t come back to my house whoever you were. I kid, I kid. Accidents happen. Apparently a lot this week.

Dadddd. I need more paper. Don’t disown me as your daughter. Now I’m starting to think this project wasn’t meant to be.  Which of course, gives me even more motivation to kick it in the rear. A few days later and the paper arrives via Dad of awesomeness (real words people). I unroll it onto the dining room table and add a few books to flatten it out. Meanwhile, I’m working at my computer. Type, type, click, click. And then I hear water running. I’m home alone. Why is there water running? I turn around to find my sweet little kitty (on the table?) beside a vase that has been knocked over. A vase filled with water. On top of the paper. I really love my cat. She likes to push buttons. Like waking a sleeping baby in the middle of the night because her cat food is only half full. That’s serious love you guys.

I jet to the paper and instantly start trying to recover it with towels. Forget the hardwood floors soaked in water, MY PAPER. Long story short, yes I know, by no means is this story short, I was able to save two bottom sheets and my cat is still alive. Success.

Now… can we please get to the actual stencil? Geez, you guys don’t shut up.

By this time, it had occurred to me that with only two pieces of paper left (I wasn’t about to ask for more) maybe the directions would have some insight. I know, I’m an idiot. Directions? Cray, cray. Check this out. Submerge roller in paint, roll excess paint onto a paper towel, and begin. Mind blown. It worked.

Back up. We decided to stencil paper and frame it, as opposed to stenciling the wall itself, because we are all too familiar with how often I like to “switch things up” around here. A framed option that can easily be switched out with something else just made more sense than having to repaint if we change our minds down the road. We swung through Lowe’s and picked up a few pieces of wood casing to make the frame. After a few cuts and some brad nails it was ready for a coat of paint. The casing was already white so it only took a single coat to cover any wood filler.

We considered leaving the front of the frame open, but I was really into the idea of putting the stencil on display. Making it appear a little more fancy? The glossy glass front made just the difference. It’s actually a plexiglass piece that we had cut down to size (they’ll do it for free right in the store) and it’s simply glued to the wood frame. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

We used painter’s tape to secure the print to the plexiglass and a leftover hanging Ikea hanging kit to secure the entire piece to the wall. And since this piece hangs over our future banquette area, an area that we hope will get a lot of use from the kiddos, we threw on a few command strips for extra security as well. In case you’re new around here, that awkward missed paint spot below the stencil is going to be the home of a banquette/ bench seat area. We’re hoping to make it feel a lot like a restaraunt booth, so the back of the seat with come up to just below the counter height.

Would we do this again… hmm. Lets just say I’ve learned my lesson as far as reading directions goes. We love the extra pop of green in the room, it really ties all the accessories on the shelf together!

PS – If you haven’t already, make sure you enter the $50 gift card to Kari Machal Design Giveaway! The deadline is 10pm EST today! 

Ok, your turn. What do you guys think? And since I’m burnt out on talking about stenciling.. Have you guys seen Homeland? Whoa. That show is amazing. We don’t get Showtime, so we bought the first season on DVD. I heard it was great, but not staying up until 1am every night cramming in episodes great. Anyone else DIYing art these days? Any setbacks like us? 

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32 thoughts on “The Stencil That Wasn’t Meant To Be

  1. Rebecca @ the lil house that could

    Oh man, you had me at Homeland! Obsessed with that show, so so good. We started watching after Dexter last year and I look forward to it more than Dexter now!

    And I feel your stencil pain, I stenciled my son’s closet while 40 weeks pregnant. Thankfully I read the directions first :)

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Oh, stenciling at 40 weeks pregnant is so daring! We’ve been contemplating stenciling Zoey’s closet, and now I’m even more afraid to start it. I guess it’s time to jump on the Dexter bandwagon. Everyone keeps talking about how awesome it is!

      Jessie

      Reply
  2. Kate

    Thank you for this post…I have been putting off a stenciling project for 5 months (4 large canvases to hang up in an open to the second story foyer) because frankly I am intimidated by it. But, you made me realize 2 things, it’ll come out ok if I follow the directions and there is NO WAY if it bleeds that anyone will be able to tell from the height I’m going to hang them so it won’t matter anyway! So fear aleviated, now to commit to a stencil and color…

    Also, I feel you on the vindictive cat front. After refusing to pet and snuggle my cat at 5:30am after being up with my baby for an hour he tried to revenge eat a pair of my socks. It’s a good thing he’s cute that fuzzy little…

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      At least you have the distance thing going for you! We knew that if there were imperfections people would basically be on top of it and notice. Good luck with yours! And here’s hoping our cats get there acts together, haha :)

      Jessie

      Reply
  3. Kelly McK

    Jessie that looks great! The green trellis (one of my fav patterns!) really ties in with the green glass on the open shelves and your runner! I’m sorry you had so much trouble getting there, but it made for a funny read :)

    Reply
  4. Jules

    Where did you get your light fixture from that’s above your dining room table? I love it and I’ve looked for something similar on google but no luck.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      The dining light is from Kichler. Not sure of the name, but googling “Kichler drum pendant” should bring it up. Hope this helps!

      Jessie

      Reply
  5. bvoboril

    Glad you finally got it finished! Feels like such an accomplishment now, right?! :) HATE that Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays. The closest one to us is like 30 minutes away anyway.
    Rehabbing an old stool right now and nothing is going right…it’s becoming clear I am the world’s worst spray painter. Hope to post the finished product to http://www.preparingforpeanut.com soon! And Homeland is the best show ever.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Haha, hang in there! I think I ruined three or four perfectly good pieces before I started to get the spray painting under control. It’s definitely not something I learned overnight :)

      Jessie

      Reply
  6. Alicia

    It looks great! Sorry it was such a pain to put together though. The secret to stenciling is definitely removing the excess paint. Foam pouncers are also great applicators for small projects.

    My DIY kryptonite is sewing! I can’t even sew a button!

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Haha, well you’re right there with me then. I’m ashamed to say that Ricky actually does any button sewing around here.

      Jessie

      Reply
  7. Jennifer

    Although I am sad this project probably made you borderline crazy can I just say I am happy to finally see someone else to whom stenciling didn’t come easy for?! I have no idea how people manage to stencil a whole room!! In the end though your project came out great. Perhaps inspired me to pull out the stencil again……..maybe.

    Reply
  8. R.M.

    I’m planning to do some stenciling this weekend – and your story was hysterical! It’s good to know these insanely frustrating things happen to everybody. And, yes, HOMELAND is great! The second season moves really quickly. I’ve been shocked at the end of every episode so far. Best thing on tv right now.

    Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Thanks R.M.

      We’re so ready for this season to be over so we can pick it up on DVD! Definitely one of our favs right now :)

      Jessie

      Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      We bought some but never actually ended up using it. I think it’d be great if you’re doing a vertical surface, like a wall. They recommend 3M’s 77 spray adhesive.

      Jessie

      Reply
    1. Jessie R. Post author

      Hahaha, exactly like kids. Although, I think my kids drive me a little crazier than projects to be honest 😉

      Jessie

      Reply
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  10. colette

    Lol. You are funny. I just found your blog and I will certainly be coming back for more. Your persistance paid off… the stencil art looks great.

    Reply
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