How to Stencil a Wall So the Paint Doesn't Bleed Through

Use a stencil and paint to create a bold accent wall in just five easy steps.

Trendy wallpaper styles with bold colors and geometric patterns are stunning in entryways and living rooms, but they'll cost you. You can, however, create the same dynamic look with a stencil and paint for much less money. BHG Style and Designer Director, Jessica Thomas, used the Better Homes & Gardens Color of the Year, Canyon Ridge, as the foundation for this welcoming stenciled wall. "This color is earthy and grounding like a desert landscape," says Thomas. The stencil pattern uses a warm off-white paint called Sun Bleached. Swap in cobalt blue for white to create an energetic entry, or mossy green for a more serene earthy vibe.

wavy wallpaper clay and cobalt entry table area
Carson Downing

How to Stencil a Wall

Supplies Needed

  • Stencil
  • Paint in two colors (Better Homes & Gardens Interior Paint colors in Canyon Ridge and Sun Bleached)
  • Paint roller
  • Paint tray
  • Stencil paint brush
  • Painter's Tape
  • Level
  • Paper towels

Step-by-Step Directions

"The stencil wall was inspired by trending graphic wallpaper, but by using paint and stencil you can customize it to your specifications and decor," Jessica says. Here's how you stencil a wall to recreate the look of this project.

Step 1: Paint Wall

Start by painting the wall with a solid color. We used BHG's 2023 Color of the Year, Canyon Ridge, for this project. Once dry, apply a second coat and let it dry completely before applying the stencil.

Buy It: Better Homes & Gardens Interior Paint, in Canyon Ridge ($32, Walmart)

Step 2: Place Stencil

Place and secure the wall stencil (we used Sound Waves from Royal Design Studio) with painter's tape. Start the first repeat at the top center of your feature wall. Use a level to make sure the wall stencil is straight.

Step 3: Add Paint

Load a stencil brush or paint roller with the paint color of your choice, we went with BHG's Sun Bleached ($26, Walmart). Offload the excess paint from the brush or roller onto a paper towel. You can do this by wiping the brush with the towel or rolling off the excess. This offloading technique helps ensure the paint is evenly dispersed onto the roller or brush. You want to use minimal paint to prevent the paint from bleeding under the stencil. Stencil the design with the brush or roller using light to medium pressure.

Buy It: Better Homes & Gardens Interior Paint, in Sun Bleached ($26, Walmart)

Step 4: Reposition the Stencil

Remove the wall stencil and reposition it for the next repeat.

Editor's note: If there aren't built-in registration marks on the wall stencil to easily align it, use a pencil to mark the spot where you want to align the stencil each time.

Step 5: Repeat Stenciling

Continue to reposition and stencil across the wall. Save the corners or doorways that you need to work around for last. Allow the paint to dry. Touch up as needed.

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