We Lived Happily Ever After: DIY Free Hand Wall Stencil

Friday, July 5, 2013

DIY Free Hand Wall Stencil

I don't have the luxury of an endless budget to spend on decorating, unfortunately. So fancy $60 stencils are not on the priority list. But that doesn't mean that I have to sacrifice on the design I want... it just takes a little more elbow grease! 

I had a very strict budget for this bathroom, and as you can tell... it needed lots of love!  

The method I am about to share isn't for everyone (perfectionists, read no further!)

The pattern won't be as pristine as using an actual stencil, but with lots of patience and determination, you can get it to look just as great. 

What I love about this method is that you can get away with this amazing look for just the cost of paint ($20 in my case)

The paint colors we used were from the BEHR brand from Home Depot:

Dolphin Fin (in Flat)
Silver Drop (in High Gloss)

The Flat Color was the base color of the wall, and the High Gloss was the stenciled part. Also, we stayed in the same color family, skipping the color on the card in-between the Dolphin Fin and the Silver Drop. At first I was really scared the color wouldn't pop enough, but I LOVE the end result. 

To use this stencil as a pattern, copy and paste it into a word document, adjust size as desired, and print on a card-stock paper (the thicker and more durable the paper is the better it will be for using to trace the pattern on your wall)

Use a level to start your tracing off on the right foot. I recommend starting on either the edge of the top or bottom of your feature wall.

You will have to make sure you space each "stencil piece" evenly in width and in placement on the wall. We left about an inch in-between each stencil. 

TIP: DRAW LIGHTLY!!! Your eraser will thank me! Or even better, as a lovely reader suggested, use CHALK! Then it will be super easy to erase with a wet cloth! 

Once you are done with the fist row, go down to the next row and fill in the alternating blank spaces.

After FINALLY finishing drawing your pattern on now you can get to the fun part: PAINTING! 

Only, after the first row your hands start to cramp.... seriously. Get the help of someone who you have blackmail level material on. ;)

Because you are doing this free hand, try to use a sharp angled brush to get the sharpest lines possible.

Even though this technique is time consuming, the result is gorgeous and you will have so much fun seeing the transformation. It's very rewarding.  

All erasers in the house prepare to be used!

After your paint has completely dried, you can erase any pencil markings left showing on the wall. We found that it was easier to touch up paint over stubborn pencil lines. 

So that's how I did the $20 walls in my $100 Bathroom Remodel. 

To see how I transformed the old yucky laminate countertops 
into this gorgeous granite look-a-like for under $25, go here.

This stencil method isn't PERFECT, but I think the feature wall looks great!


  1. very clever, its beautiful well done

  2. this is gorgeous! i really cannot believe you did this all by hand!!

    cynthia @ scotchandpaprikash.com

  3. Thanks Cynthia! I am so happy with the end result! :)

  4. absolutely love your stencil. I do not see a link for the countertop. Can you please send it to me kellster17@aol.com. thank you so much I would really appreciate it

  5. oh my god, and i thought that was just wallpaper then i followed the link from the countertop and here i am. that is awesome..u did a great job.

  6. That's a fabulous look - it must have been hard work - but worth the effort.

    Paula x x x

  7. wow wow wow..im at a loss for words..absolutely GORGEOUS!! ive been on the hunt for a free template for cushion covers and you have officially made my day..thank you so much for the inspiration.. your bathroom looks like it should be featured in a magazine...love the work xoxo - nicole

    1. Thank you Nicole! Your comment was so sweet and really made my day! Have fun! <3

  8. I love your color choices :-) I'm going to try this but I'm going to use chalk to outline the shape, then I can just wipe it off with a damp cloth after the paint dries!

    1. Awesome idea! I'm so going to put that tip in the post! XO