DIY Stenciled Wallpaper for $100

Hola Brujas!

In my last blog post I took you through all the steps on how I color blocked my walls. It was definitely worth the hard work and ALL that painters tape! If you missed that post click back and take a peek. I think it turned out amazing!

Now that those walls were done I stood back and looked at the rest of the open-concept Kitchen/Dining/Living Room and it looked even more unfinished than when the space was unpainted. I now had this lovely bright and cozy living room that bled into bleak whiteness. 

Boring white walls

Well, I couldn’t stand it for long so I got to thinking about concepts for the rest of the space. 

I initially thought a mural would look good on the window walls, but I ditched that idea because I couldn’t come up with a color palette that would complement the living room. I knew I needed a cool color to balance the sunset pink and yellow but every formation of a mural didn’t fully meet my expectations. 

Then I thought, Wallpaper! 

I love wallpaper.

I know it can conjure images of dense florals or intricate fox hunting scenes we’ve seen in old victorians, but wallpaper has come a long way in terms of style. I started my search for an inexpensive peel and stick kind. Since this is a rental I didn’t want to paste anything on the walls and destroy the sheetrock. The new ones are apartment friendly and can be easily removed (So I’ve been told). 

After a long search on Etsy and Amazon I found a few that I liked, mostly scandenavian minimalist prints in blue tones. After measuring the wall and doing all sorts of math to figure out square footage for how much I would need (?¿?¿?¿?), I couldn’t believe the price.

How do I Math?

The estimated cost floored me. I was looking at potentially spending $500 – $700 depending on the style! 

SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS, for WALLPAPER!!!! (Big LOL)

Based on the principles of DIY it was a clear Hell No.  

I’m a resilient person and was determined to get the look I wanted. So I made a quick pivot toward stenciling. I was going to make my own with an X-Acto knife and some vellum paper, but then I stumbled across an amazing company called Stencilit.

If you click on over to their site, the creators are a cute Scandenavian duo who design and cut beautiful wall stencils that are actually very affordable. The site has helpful instructional videos too which I was happy to watch for some guidance. They sell through Etsy, Amazon and directly from their site so purchasing was a breeze and they had the perfect pattern for my vision. 

I chose this hand drawn looking fishbone pattern. It was almost a herringbone but a little less perfect which I knew I would be ideal for stenciling considering the margin for error was likely. Isn’t it cute! Once it arrived it was project time. 

My Stencilit Stencil

Here’s how I tackled this DIY and some of the things you’re going to need:

  • Delicate Surface Painter’s Tape. I use the Scotch Brand for $8.97
  • A Flocked Paint Roller. This is pretty much your magic wand for stenciling. When you order your Stencilit stencil they’ll ask you before checkout if you would like to add a roller to your purchase. Definitely say YES. It’s $3.00 extra and totally worth it. A Flocked roller has a rounded edge that helps prevent bleeding under the stencil. It’s also covered in little fibers that keeps the roller from soaking up too much paint. 
  • Your Stencilit stencil. This is the one I used if you’re looking for this exact fishbone pattern. If you prefer to buy it from Amazon because it’s in USD and not Euro, here’s the link to that as well. It’ll run you about $55.00 with shipping and taxes. But remember it’s not $700 for wallpaper!
  • I went with BHER Flat Matte paint again. The color I used was Intercoastal Gray. I bought a gallon and only ended up using about half of it for the whole project. 

Extras:

  • Drop Cloth
  • Painting tray
  • Step Stool
  • Cleaning Spray and Paper Towels (or rag)
  • Lots of old newspaper or cardboard. You’ll need this to roll any excess paint off the flocked roller before applying it to your wall.
  • A small detailing paint brush for Chibos (Puerto Rican Spanish for paint mistakes)

Estimated total cost was about $100!!!!!!!!!!! Exciting, I know.

This project does take some time, so I would start in the morning if you can. (It’s gonna be a day honey)

Before we do anything be sure to clean your walls. I can’t stress this enough, the cleaner the walls the better application you will get. Lightly spray them with a cleaning agent and wipe them down. Make sure they’re dry before you move forward. 

Mask off the borders of your wall, baseboards and around any window ledges. Remove the electrical outlet and light switch covers and set them aside somewhere you won’t lose them. I like to tape the screws to the covers and label where they belong just so I don’t get confused later (because I will get confused). 

Now the Stencilit stencil has their logo and a hashtag cut into it. This marks the top of your stencil. I would go ahead and tape over the logo and hashtag with some painter’s tape before painting to avoid accidentally tagging your wall with their branding. Because that’s what I did and had to repaint over it. Learn from my mistakes people! 

We’re going to start at the top of your wall closest to the ceiling at a corner. I started on the right and made my way leftward. You’ll be making your way across the top of the wall for your first pass. Grab some of your tape and secure the stencil to the wall. I just taped the edges of my stencil and wedged it into the corner making sure it was straight and where I needed it to be. 

Take your flocked roller and get some paint on it. Then roll it through the ribbed portion of the painters tray for an even coverage and to get some of that paint off. 

Next take your paint-loaded roller and roll it onto your newspaper or cardboard until there’s a very light amount of paint when you roll. A good rule of thumb is Less is More when it comes to stenciling. 

In clean even strokes roll the paint onto the stencil. Use enough force to get the paint on it but not too much that you’re pushing into the stencil. A “light force,” if you will. Do this for the entire portion of the wall the stencil covers making sure to roll over the areas that aren’t saturated enough.

You can peel the stencil back a little to check your progress or to make sure your paint isn’t bleeding underneath. If it is, you might have too much paint on the roller and you should stop and take a few passes at that newspaper again to remove some of the excess. Remember you can always touch up with a detailer brush later.

When you’re satisfied that you have full coverage peel the stencil off carefully and take a look at what you’ve done. It’s satisfying isn’t it? 

Stencilit stencils are designed to interlock with the pattern. So to continue the next section take the stencil and place over the last row of designs, finding the alignment. I was worried that placing the stencil on top of the wet painted portions would smudge the paint. I found that this was not the case. If you’re using the right amount of paint (very little), it dries super fast and you won’t have any bleeding or smearing while aligning the stencil. But if you’re like me you won’t trust that at first and wait a little while before trying the next section. This fear will be overcome by your desperate need to finish once your arm is aching and you just want it to be done. (Mark my words)

Continue across the entire top length of the wall repeating these steps. 

When you’ve gotten all the way across the wall, go back to where you started and continue below. Once again align the stencil with the already painted portion and proceed. 

At around the midway point I noticed that I couldn’t seem to get good coverage on the wall. I was really confused because things had been going so smoothly up until this point. Once I assessed what was happening I realized the issue. 

After having painted over and over onto the stencil the paint had built up in a thick layer. This made it hard for the roller to reach through the stencil and make contact with the wall. So I took my stencil into the bathtub and rinsed it off. 

This made me nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get the paint off easily and damage the stencil. Luckily, this wasn’t the case. The paint rubbed off seamlessly and the stencil is pretty sturdy. After about 5 minutes of cleaning it was brand new, not a fleck of paint on it. I took a hand towel and dried it really well and went back to the living room. The stencil worked like a charm and I had solved that little application issue.

Note in the above pic that I avoided the areas around the window sills and near the baseboard. This was intentional. I wanted to get all the flat surfaces painted first. I knew I was going to have to bend the stencil to fit certain areas which was going to be difficult (Impossible?). So to avoid creating creases and dents in the stencil I chose to tackle the largest surface areas first. 

Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures while I was bending the stencil to fit the awkward areas. But here’s what I did. I aligned the stencil on the flat surface and pushed it into the corners of the window sill and baseboard as snugly as it would go. Holding it in place I taped it as flat as I could and attacked it with the roller as quickly as possible. It would have been much easier with a second set of hands but Kyle was “busy,” so I made due. (Love you Kyle) 

The result wasn’t exact, but since my design is pretty simple and not so perfectly geometric I was able to hand paint the lines that I couldn’t reach with the stencil. 

These were the hardest bits of the process and there were times when I thought I’d ruin this entire wall right at the end. So, despite how tired I was by this point I tried to maintain precision and pushed through. 

The sun set right as I finished. (This always happens to me). But it was so worth it. It’s the “wallpaper” of my dreams!

See Kyle enjoying my hard work? Also note the pineapple sippy cup that is my well deserved cocktail (I spill so I need lids)

Here’s a look at the space the next morning. 

Focus on the wall, not Wynona’s crate 

We still don’t have our dining table or couch btw. For DIY and painting purposes, I’m kind of glad the big pieces of furniture aren’t here yet. It would have been a pain to move them around and set things back where they belong. But man do I want my couch!

But we did get new chairs! We bought these cute mid century chairs on Amazon. They’re sold in sets of 2 for $132 and we got 4 totalling to $264. If you’ve ever had to purchase chairs you know this is a steal. They’re made from real rubber wood not MDF board which is ultimately why I chose them, and they match the stenciled wallpaper so well! 

Here’s a few more pics of the finished wall

Meet Cindy the Yucca Tree

This Yucca Tree was a gift from my best friend Clarissa. She’s amazing and a super smart shopper! She got this baby at Plantvine and they shipped it directly to me. The tree is just spectacular. We call her Cindy, because every plant needs a name right? The big sherbert colored pot I purchased from Peach and Pebble. Honestly it was so much nicer than I expected. It has a drainage hole which is great for not overwatering your plants and it’s HEAVY. Because I didn’t think the plant was tall enough (LOL) I also bought a mid century bamboo planter stand from Rainbleland. It expands to 12 inches wide and you can flip it to change the height. They even sent me a sweet little thank you note.

 I think Cindy really brings some natural life into the room. 

Thanks for reading Brujas and be sure to visit my blog again for more DIY tips and tricks. 

If you have any questions on this project or any of my other ones, feel free to comment below and I’ll be happy to answer!

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2 comments

  1. I love this blog Richard!!! I haven’t finished reading everything but plan to. So informative and entertaining. Thank you!! Laura M

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