Start by gathering your equipment...

We're using one of our Stencil MiNiS (Chickens), a stencil brush, some chalk paint, and a little low tack stencil tape for this quick starter demo.

How to stencil - gathering basic stenciling equipment ready to begin

The stencil

Choose a design you like and a size that's appropriate for your project. Here you can see a selection of some of our new Stencil MiNiS, tiny stencil designs suitable for all small stenciling projects, craft and furniture painting.

Star stencils and stencil minis from The Stencil Studio Ltd - How to stencil tutorial - Stenciling basics

Stencils come in many sizes and designs and may be cut from various types of material including card, plastic or metal. We design and laser cut all of our stencils from durable and reusable 190 micron Mylar plastic which is fully washable. Stencils should always be stored flat for future use.

We have loads of stencils to choose from ranging in size from XS(A5) S(A4) M(A3) and L(A2) up to XL(A1), we suggest starting small if you haven't tried stenciling before. If upcyling is your thing Stencil MiNiS may be perfect for adding a stenciled border or embelishment detail. For bigger projects choose a larger format stencil like our Large & Extra Large stencils. These larger stencils are great for adding detail to a feature wall or creating an all-over pattern similar to wallpaper. Stencils offer more creative scope than wall stickers, allowing you to paint them any colour you like, reuse them and add pattern to almost any surface including fabric, furniture and floors.

Keeping the stencil static

To ensure the stencil stays in place whilst painting it's best to secure with low tack stencil tape or spraymount.

There's a host of products on the market..

Stencil tape - How to stencil Tutorial from The Stencil Studio Ltd - Stenciling basics

Top Tip - if you can't get your hands on low tack tape just remove some of the stick from masking tape by applying the tape to some fabric (like your jeans) before sticking the stencil in place.

Spraymount is a repositionable aerosol adhesive and is available from art shops, diy & craft stores, just follow the instructions on the can to apply a thin layer of glue to the reverse of the stencil.


Any type of paint can be used to apply the stencil to your chosen surface, just use the most appropriate paint for the job in hand. Remember that the thicker the paint, the better the results. Thinner paint has a tendancy to seep behind the stencil causing blotches and bleeding. For most wall and furniture projects we've found that acrylic paints and chalk paints work really well giving good even coverage.

Stencil paint - acrylic paints for stenciling - How to stencil Tutorial from The Stencil Studio Ltd

Applying the paint

You could use stencil brushes, pieces of sponge, foam rollers or even fabric to apply the paint. Our preferred method with smaller projects is a stencil brush. Stencil brushes have a flat end and are designed to be used at a 90 degree angle to the stencil, this ensures minimum paint bleed and a sharp finish to your stenciling.

Stencil brushes come in a variety of sizes. Choose brush size according to stencil size and one brush for each colour you choose to use.

Stencil brushes - How to stencil tutorial from The Stencil Studio Ltd - Stenciling basics

Other useful things

A paper plate and some kitchen towel or scraps of paper for decanting paint and prepping the brush.

Ready to go?

We're stenciling onto a piece of paper for this demo but the technique is exactly the same for walls, fabric, furniture and any other surface you fancy!

How to stencil tutorial from The Stencil Studio Ltd - Getting ready to stencil

Start by sticking the stencil in place.

Just use a few small pieces of tape around the edge of the stencil to hold it in place whilst you paint. You could just hold the stencil with your free hand but it's important not to let the stencil move at all.

How to stencil tutorial from The Stencil Studio Ltd - sticking the stencil in place

Pour a little paint onto a paper plate.

You'll be surprised at how little paint you're going to need! Load the very end of the brush with some paint - then...

Getting ready to paint with a stencil - pour a little paint onto a paper plate and load your stencil brush - How to stencil tutorial

..remove most of the paint!

Simply blot and swirl the brush onto another part of the plate or some kitchen towel to distribute the paint evenly on the bristles and remove excess paint from the brush. You're aiming for a virtually dry brush here.

remove some of the paint from the stencil brush before you begin painting the stencil. Basic techniques and tips for great stenciling from The Stencil Studio Ltd


Begin stenciling

Apply the brush to the stencil in a dabbing or swirling motion. A bit like a Woodpecker! Keep the brush upright and at 90 degrees to the stencil at all times.

Start stenciling the stencil - How to stencil tutorial - basic stenciling techniques

Pay particular attention to the edges of each hole in the stencil. There are lots of cool shading techniques which we'll cover another day but to start with just concentrate on filling in all the cut parts of the stencil. Only reload the stencil brush when no more paint is available.

Use a 'woodpecker' stabbing motion to apply paint to the stencil - How to stencil tutorials from The Stencil Studio Ltd - Basics of stenciling

Stenciling basics - how to stencil tutorials from The Stencil Studio Ltd

If you fancy adding another colour, go for it. To keep colours separate use another stencil brush and wait for the first colour to dry, but, if it's a blended look you're going for you could try adding a second colour whilst the first paint colour is still tacky and blending by overlapping with the second.

Remove the stencil

Once you've finished painting the stencil it's time for the big reveal! Just peel the stencil away and voila, you're an artist!!

The big reveal - stenciling techniques from The Stencil Studio Ltd - How to stencil tutorial

Top Tip - Remove the stencil before paint dries, especially if the paint is quite thick. There is a danger of peeling paint from your stencilled surface if you allow a film of paint to dry across the stencil!

The finished results - stenciling tutorial from The Stencil Studio - close up of a stencilled chicken

How simple was that! You should be left with a nice crisp stencilled image.

Now you know how easy it is to stencil you can start to see the possibilies. Be as creative as you like, mixing and matching designs, applying stencils in all sorts of patterns, using any colour/s you like and applying paint using various techniques.

stencilled chickens - How to stencil tutorial - the basics of stenciling from The Stencil Studio Ltd

So what are you waiting for? Take a look at some stencils and get stenciling...




Back to the top