DIY Furniture Stenciling

DIY Furniture Stenciling

This was one of my favorite Makeover Projects. I was asked to feature these projects on an episode of KSL’s Studio5 with Brooke Walker. I have loved the opportunities I’ve had to be on her show!


Anyway, I have fallen in love with stenciling…I can’t stop stenciling my house! Someone needs to stop me.

But I have a few great ways to achieve the stencil look without having to spend a lot of money AND in ways that allow you to be a little more unique.
When I started with my first stenciling project, the idea came from my desire to have a Moroccan top dresser. I didn’t want to spend money on wall paper. I didn’t trust vinyl. It was too big to use scrap paper to modge podge. And I didn’t want to go out and buy a stencil…yet.
I ended up using fondant cutters I already had and you can see what I did under my post for my

I also used another fondant cutter I had for a Time-Out stool for my kids. Mean mom right? Hey, at least I try to make discipline cute. Someone should give me points for that.
Here are the basic steps that you can see featured on the Studio5 segment, as well as on my DIY Dresser Stenciling post.

1. Paint your surface in latex, acrylic or spray paint and allow to FULLY dry.
2. Start in the middle by tracing around your cutter/object with pencil…as lightly as you can. Continue this side by side and up & down until you’ve achieved your desired pattern.
3. Go back over these lines with a paint marker. You can find them in varies sizes at your local craft store like JoAnns & Michaels. I find that for bigger projects where you need thicker more paint like lines (like the dresser), the real liquid paint markers are best. The widest ones. For smaller projects like this stool, I used a solid paint marker. It’s almost like the consistency of lipstick. You can use a thinner liquid paint marker…it really just comes down to preference. Obviously the “solid” versions aren’t as messy to deal with.
4. After this has dried, go back over it with a couple coats of Modge Podge to seal it and give it a nice shiny finish. This is what makes it look professional as opposed to “drawn on”.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this, people. You can use cookie cutters, cups, DVD cases…the possibilities are endless. Anything you can find in your home to trace and make a pattern out of can become a new piece of furniture or even a stenciled wall instead of spending loads on wallpaper.
I apologize for the terrible lighting in this picture. I do a lot of my projects and blogging at night when the littles are in bed so the lighting isn’t the best. I’m trying to work on that! But you get the idea. The biggest difference here is that this is actually more of a dark emerald green but it looks turquoise in the picture.
 Next, I tackled a few projects with an actual stencil. Let me tell you, stencils for smaller projects are not as expensive as you think. I ordered my first set on It’s a Martha Stewart set. It was $13 for a set of 3 sheets with several different stencils on it.
But later, I discovered DARLING stencils at the craft store. JoAnns actually. They carry some really trendy and modern designs that you could go crazy with! All around $5 too.
Stenciled Nightstand/End Table
My next project was a blast. Who can afford high end designer furniture…not me, that’s for sure. How about less than $20?? Count me in.
I picked up this sweet thang at our local thrift store for $10. What?? I love the D.I. End of story.
Here’s the before shot.
(Also featured on Studio 5)
 We gave it a healthy sanding and then I debated whether I would paint it or spray it and my laziness got the best of me so I spray painted. It took 2 bottles for about 2-3 coats. SOOO worth not having to dig into the crevices with a paintbrush. I chose yellow and white to compliment my front room.
 Here comes the fun.
Rule #1-DON’T be intimidated. Worst case scenario, you can hurry and wipe off a scrooge while it’s still wet. Even worse…you can always paint over it and try again. But you shouldn’t get that far.
Rule #2-Plan how you want your pattern to go on your piece. Don’t just start whereever…lay it out and think it through so you don’t cause yourself pain later.
Rule #3-Spray the back of your stencil with Photo Adhesive (you can find these near the glue in the craft store). This holds the stencil still and keeps paint from leaking underneath. It also helps to use tape on the edges to help hold it in place.
Rule #4-Whether you choose to use a sponge dipper or a mini sponge roller, make sure that you dab the excess paint off onto a paper towel before you apply it to your piece. Too much paint will result in leaking under the stencil. Too little paint won’t show up. You’ll get the hang of it. Practice on a piece of cardboard first.
Rule #5- Gentle, gentle my friends. The lighter you touch the sponge to your piece the better.
Last, make sure to let the paint dry before removing and moving on to the next section.
If you’re really impatient or short on time, there is another option. It’s just slightly tedious and annoying. You can remove the stencil right after you finish a section, wash it in the sink (careful to not bend), and then carefully wedge it flat between a towel and dry it. You can then move on to the next section. This works, I actually did it for this piece…BUT after washing & drying 10 times it gets annoying.

And here’s the finished project. I also took some sand paper to all the edges. You know how I love to distress. Adorable, right? My plan is to find some great thrifted Wing Back chairs to make over and wedge this lovely in between them. She has a bright future folks. And she was only $10.

 Here are the Martha Stewart Stencils I mentioned above. They came in one pack for $13 on
Here is a Chevron stencil I purchased for under $5 at JoAnns.
 I used the Chevron stencil on a frame in the project below. This will be featured in another post once it’s completed with photos and a little more modge podging. But it’s also another FABULOUS thrift makeover. I can’t wait to share how the whole piece cost $11.
I really hope that this post encourages and inspires even the most frugal of crafters out there to get creative. To realize that you can have unique and brag-worthy items in your home that don’t cost a fortune. One of my favorite things to do is reuse old items I already have. Items that are outdated or maybe that I’m just sick of. Use what you have. Give something old a new life. Pinch those pennies and look like a top trender!


  1. says

    No Lie, Jessica, We are crafting twins. I seriously have the EXACT stencils and use them all the time. The Martha ones and the Chevron one. How cool is that. I love to see all your cute ideas. Thanks for sharing.

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