Sweet Stencils for Home Accessories

Blue lamp
DIY designer Matthew Mead spruces up furniture and home accessories with simple stencils and a paint palette dripping with pretty pastels.

Pretty in Pink

It's easy to get your beauty sleep when your head is resting against this stenciled headboard. Matthew painted the entire headboard soft pink. When it was dry, he taped a cherry blossom stencil to the headboard with masking tape and filled in the pattern with ivory paint. To give the design dimension, he added shadowing and highlights.

Tip: Lightly dab a darker shade of your stencil color along one inside edge of the stencil. When dry, dab a lighter shade along the opposite inside edge.

Stencil Secrets

Materials matter. Use a foam pouncer or a specialty stencil brush with a flat tip and dense bristles for large areas. Standard artist's or painter's brushes work well for touching up edges at the end of the process.

Easy does it. Don't overload your brush or foam pouncer with too much paint. Lightly dab the pouncer onto the surface of the paint.

Blot off any excess paint on a paper towel or newspaper. The brush or pouncer should be nearly dry. A dry brush or pouncer prevents paint from seeping under the stencil, which leaves behind messy edges.

Circular logic. Apply paint using a pouncing motion -- gentle up-and-down dabbing -- within the lines of the stencil. Work in a circular motion, beginning in the center.

Clean sweep. If your project or pattern requires repeat use of the stencil, wipe excess paint off between applications.

Yellow, I Love You

Channel your inner artist to whip up a masterpiece for your wall. Arrange various-size crafts store acrylic frames on a large work surface, such as a floor or table. Trace around each frame on a sheet of scrapbooking paper in a pretty pattern or color, and cut out each shape. Lay the cut pieces in the same configuration as your frames. Arrange your stencil on the paper pieces. Fill in the stencil with your base color. To create the look of blooms basking in the sun, follow the shadowing and highlighting Tip on Slide 1. When dry, place the papers in their corresponding frames and arrange on the wall to create a pieced-together collage.

Hip to Be Square

Give a drab dresser a geometric makeover that will turn heads. Apply primer and let dry. Then brush a few coats of blue paint on the dresser frame and light gray paint on the drawer fronts. When dry, measure the drawers to determine the number and placement of your stenciled squares. Make your own stencils from painter's tape by cutting the lengths necessary to create squares in your desired size. Adhere the tape stencils to the dry drawer fronts. Coat the drawers with the blue paint used on the frame. Remove stencils when the paint is still tacky.

Picnic Perfect

Dress a plain wooden picnic table in bright, sunny stripes. Prime, then base-coat paint the table in your desired color. When dry, measure and tape off stripes with painter's tape. You don't have to stick to the straight and narrow. Matthew painted diminishing stripes along the table. Once you've determined your design, paint inside the tape lines. Remove tape just before paint dries (it should still be tacky) to reveal fine lines.

New Blue Hue

Matthew made over a clear, hollow lamp (easy to find at retail stores) by cutting a piece of white paper to fit inside the cylinder base. Then he cut sticky notes into different-size rectangles and stuck them to the sheet of paper for a stenciled look. Next, Matthew curved the paper into a cylinder shape, taped the seam, and slid it into the lamp base. Switch out the insert with different colors and designs to reflect your evolving style.

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