It seems like alphabet stencils have come a long way. 20 years ago, or “back in the day”, you’d see curbs stenciled, or tables and chairs at the local auditorium or school stenciled with the name of the location. The really cool people used stencil letters even on garage sale signs – now those were the sales you didn’t want to miss!
Now, people use alphabet stencils everywhere! When you pull in to the mechanic’s garage for an oil change, you’ll see “Oil Change Station” stenciled over the bay. No understated sign for them!
Ok, show of hands – how many times have you seen the words “Live, Love, Laugh” on the walls of a friend’s house or a store, done in stencil letters? At any given time, you can probably think of at least 3 places with these words displayed prominently!
And why is that? Maybe it comes from the self-help era, when people would post notes to themselves to “think positive” or “believe”. Where ever it comes from, the use of alphabet stencils has virtually revolutionized home décor. People now are able to stylishly add their child’s name to the nursery wall, or their favorite sports team logo to the walls of the man-cave.
Stencil letters are actually very easy to use. You can purchase a temporary adhesive spray that leaves no residue. Just spray the back of the stencil and attach it to the wall stencils for painting where you want to paint the letter. It will stay up there just fine! Once you’ve stenciled the letter onto the wall, the stencil will peel off of the wall just fine. You can even reuse the spray adhesive several times per application!
When you stencil, remember that you don’t have to have perfectly filled in letters every time. Adhere your stencil to the wall, and then use a stencil brush to “pounce” the paint onto the wall. The stencil brush is flat across the bristles. You dip the end of the brush in paint, and then with quick poking movements you apply the paint to the wall. You have to go back and get more paint quite often, because you’re not brushing it on like you usually do when you paint a wall.
Stencil letters look really nice when you allow some of the base paint from the wall to show through. As you pounce the stencil brush on the wall, the paint will get lighter. It’s ok to let that happen – it adds to the depth and style of the letters.
If you want a really solid letter with straight, crisp lines, it will take a little more work. Adhere the stencil letters to the wall, then take a 1” paint brush and gently paint around the inside edges of the alphabet stencil, where the letters are. This will help seal the edge so there’s no bleeding underneath the stencil. Then, once that has had a chance to set up, go back and paint the inside of the letters, keeping the paint inside the alphabet stencils.