Interior Painting

Stencil painting

Instructions - Pattern painting

Stencil painting is a simple way of conjuring up pleasing effects and adding a touch of colour to your interior design scheme. With stencils, you can replace pictures or other furnishing details with individual decorations, borders or impressive wall-size murals.

Before stencilling

Fill any holes and cracks before painting the wall with a suitable colour and allow to dry.

The smoother the surface, the better the stencil painting result will be. Stencil painting can also be done on clean, dry walls that have already been painted previously.

Plan the pattern layout thoroughly before starting work. Think how you would like the stencils to appear on the wall. Consider whether you are going to use just one stencil, or a combination of stencils.

Plan the work sequence if you intend painting several colours on top of each other. Plan the layout to avoid problems in the corners. With symmetrically repetitive patterns, it pays to measure the layout exactly, whereas individual stencils can be freely applied just by looking.

Painting a symmetrically repetitive pattern

Stencil instructions 01Make stencil positioning marks to ensure that the pattern is even. Measure the distance between the positioning marks, and mark lightly with a pencil at the corresponding points on the wall.

Move the stencil to the next position and align it with the marks made for the previous pattern. If you are making a continuous horizontal or vertical pattern, use a plumb line or spirit level to align the stencils exactly.

You can also use an indelible felt-tip pen to draw part of a continuous pattern on stencilling film. This makes it easy to align the following stencil.

Make a small test application

Before applying the stencil a wall, test it first on cardboard or paper. When stencil painting, it pays to use paint sparingly to prevent the paint from spreading under the edges of the stencil, thus ensuring that the pattern edges do not smear.

Use a foam stippling brush for stencil painting. You can make your own by twisting expanded plastic into a stippler and fastening it with masking tape. You can also buy foam stencilling brushes from DIY stores.

Stencil painting

Stencil instructions 02

Stencil instructions 03

Use masking tape to fix the stencil along all its outside edges.

You can also use sticker glue or spray adhesive to fasten the stencil. They leave no marks on the wall and make it easier to keep even larger stencils in place.

Ensure that the area to be painted is free from glue.

It is better to use too little paint than too much.

After dipping the foam stippling brush in paint, remove any excess paint by dabbing it on a piece of cardboard for instance, so that the brush makes wispy images.
If you use too much paint, it may seep under the stencil edges and smudge the image.

Gently press the foam brush within the stencil image. Proceed carefully and calmly to prevent the stencil film from peeling away from the wall.

Repeat the process if the coat of paint appears to be too thin or if you want to add another colour on top of the previous one. Thin coats of paint dry quickly and allow you to apply a second coat just a few minutes later.

Carefully remove the stencil

After painting, gently remove the stencil and place it in the next position for painting.

Clean the stencil frequently

Stencil instructions 05Scrub the stencil with a rough brush or scouring brush from time to time in warm water. A clean stencil ensures that the pattern edges will not smudge. Dry the stencil with a kitchen roll or towel before use.

After painting, it is easy to clean the stencil before the paint has dried completely. Soak the stencil in Tikkurila Pensselipesu (Tool Cleaner) if the paint has already dried and refuses to come off easily.


You can work considerably quicker if you have two identical stencils since you can continue working or clean one stencil while the previous image is drying.

Brighten up the pattern

Stencil instructions 06

For a more vivid pattern, use several colours to paint the same pattern. You can apply a new colour once the previous one has dried, or paint wet on wet for a softer finish.

Add depth and life to surfaces by combining several images and colours, or by placing the stencils in layers that partly overlap each other.

Toying with gloss effects

You can create stencil effects not only by varying the colours, but also by using different gloss grades of the same colour. For example, patterns can be made by applying semi-gloss Feelings Extra Durable on top of high-gloss Feelings Interior Paint. For sharper contrasts, use transparent glossy Kiva Furniture Lacquer for stencil images on wall surfaces finished with Feelings Interior Paint.

There should be a sufficiently large difference between the grades of gloss to make the effect properly visible. Lighting, spotlights, or natural light streaming in through a window also highlight the different degrees of gloss.

Unlimited possibilities

Stencil painting offers unlimited possibilities. Use stencils to cover an entire wall with special effects or to paint a border along it. Place the stencils at random or symmetrically as you wish.

Remember that walls are not the only places you can brighten up with stencil painting. Paint charming motifs on tables, doors, the mailbox....

When painting with stencils, remember to select a durable paint for objects subject to hard wear and tear.