Working with Stencils

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I finally decided that it was time to tackle the mess that is my work space.  There was so much crap on and around my desk that it was hard to get anything done on my computer.  Even blogging had become a chore because I had to move so much just to be able to get on my computer.  The desk had become a breeding ground for junk and I wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Oh, how embarrassing!  This is what I was dealing with before.  Definitely hard to work with, don't you think?
Oh, how embarrassing! I cleaned it up a bit before taking the picture, but I hope you still get the idea. Definitely hard to work with, don’t you think?

After seeing Camila’s magazine holder makeover on the Blog Strut last week, I thought that I could do something similar to help with my desk organization.  I even went out to Michael’s and bought some really cute scrapbook paper to do my own twist on her project.  But after I thought about it I realized I wanted to do something different.  I just didn’t know what my different was.

I’ve found that asking for ideas on my Facebook page is always a great way to go when I have no ideas for my projects.  Everyone had great ideas.  There were suggestions of spray paint, doilies, stencils and more.  I had been leaning towards stenciling after I scrapped my original plan and was more than happy to go along with that idea.  The problem was, I had never used a stencil in my life and I wasn’t sure how to go about it.

Stenciled Magazine and Pencil Holder from Crafty Wife

I decided on a rose stencil and champagne colored acrylic paint (both from Martha Stewart) to decorate my magazine and pencil holders from The Container Store.  I was really excited to get home and get started because this was uncharted territory for me.  And who doesn’t love trying new things every once in a while?

Honestly?  I ran into some problems with the stencil.  Even after reading all the directions on the back of the package I still seemed to mess it up.

  • Leakage.  There were a lot of spots on the magazine holder where paint had seeped through.
  • Sometimes, even with tape, the stencil still moved when I was painting.
  • Folding the stencil over the sides was a pain in the ass.  And it caused a lot of leakage.
  • Some of my roses didn’t necessarily look like roses when I was done.

But even though it was a sometimes difficult and painful process…..I have to say, I’m really loving the end result.

Stenciled Magazine and Pencil Holder from Crafty Wife

I’m already feeling more organized and less cluttered.  It’s a great feeling!

Looking back on the project, I realized there are a few things I could have done differently:

  1. Be patient.  I was always too quick to take the stencil off before the paint was dry.  I’m pretty sure that’s why most of my flowers aren’t perfect.
  2. Test out the stencil.  Maybe, since this was my first time, I should have tested the stencil out on paper to get the hang of it before doing anything permanent.
  3. Use very little paint.  A friend pointed out that less is more when it comes to this.  Boy was she right!  Using too much paint is another reason my flowers are imperfect in certain areas.

What are your feelings on stencils?  Love them or hate them?  I think I’ll tackle another project like this at some point, but I’m going to need some great pointers before I start!  Do you have any tips for a stencil newbie?


    1. Thank you! I am always inspired by others creativity. 🙂 Without them, I’d never come up with half of the stuff I create!

  1. I’ve learned my lessons with stencils the hard way! They are not as easy as they look. I think the most important thing is to dab (short tapping strokes) on the paint (with an almost dry brush) so it doesn’t leak. I do clean up any spills with fingernail polish remover (very lightly) on a q-tip when it does happen. Yours turned out just lovely, the color you chose is very pretty. What a cute little office area you have!!

    1. Those are such a great tips! Thank you! I never imagined using stencils to be so hard, and I was really surprised when I used it for the first time. Thank you so much for the kind words, I am really loving how my little office space is turning out. After three years it’s finally coming together! 🙂

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