5 Tips for Stenciling Your Stairs

Stenciling your stairs allows you to add a pop of color and interesting design to an often less-decorated area of your home. While stenciling is often considered a novice skill that anyone can do, you may need some extra advice and practice to create the perfect look in your home. These tips should help you achieve the look you are trying to get when you apply a stencil to your stair risers. 

Consider Your Design Carefully

Painting the risers of your stairs can give your room an extra pop of color and design. However, the effect can easily be overwhelming if you select an especially vibrant color or intricate stencil design. If you want a bright, contrasting color, you may want to limit your stenciling to a few of your risers instead of every step. If you want a very intricate design, you may want to choose a more muted color that will make the design blend with the rest of your stairway. You will also want to decide whether you want to paint your stairs with a base color and then stencil on top of that or stencil directly on the wood. 

Don't Skip the Prep Steps 

Most risers are already covered with a sealant, varnish, or paint. It is important to remove this material before applying your stencil. Otherwise you run the risk of your paint not adhering to the riser surface or dripping beneath the stencil. 

It can be difficult to find a comfortable position to sand risers. Because of this, you may want to invest in a power-sander for this project. It will make the prep work quick and easy. 

Another important part of prep is to fully cover the step around the riser you are painting. You should apply masking tape to the edges and create a sturdy cardboard covering that can be moved to each step that you are working on. If you are working with spray paint, you should tape down the cardboard to prevent paint from getting beneath it. 

Select Your Mode of Application 

Most stenciling is done with either spray paint or sponges. You can also purchase special stenciling brushes for your project. Spray paint tends to cover the most surface quickly and evenly. However, it does require extra effort to make sure it does not get applied to surfaces nearby. You will also want to wear a mask to prevent inhalation of the paint. 

Sponges give you a bit more control but take more time. They may also require that you apply multiple coats of paint to achieve the saturation that you desire. 

Brushes are best used for smaller stenciling projects. If you have a small area of the stencil that needs to be a different color, you may want to use a brush. Brushes are also good for touching up sprayed and sponged areas. 

Adding Multiple Colors 

When adding multiple colors it is important that you purchase the same type of paint for both colors. For example, use only acrylics or only oil based paints. Mixing paint types can cause your paint to separate. 

There are several methods for adding multiple colors. You can use a brush and carefully paint each section of the stencil with the appropriate color. This works best for stencils that do not have small, intricate designs. Alternatively, you can put tape over the areas that should be the second color, spray paint or sponge the first color, then switch the tape to cover the first color and paint the second color. Finally, you can layer colors by painting the stencil completely in one color, allowing it to dry, then shifting it and painting a second color. 

Sealing Your Design 

You will want to seal your design with a clear coat that is appropriate for the type of paint you have used, such as a varnish for acrylics. Sealing is an important step on risers because the paint can easily get scuffed by foot traffic. 

Stenciling your stairs can be a quick and simple project or an artistic masterpiece. Either way, follow these steps to achieve a lasting piece of work. Contact paint supply companies to learn more about your options.