Stencil a repeat pattern

Painting a stencilled pattern on a wall using one of our single motif stencils ( in this case our stag stencil )  cost effective way to make a big difference to a room. Doing your own D.I.Y decorating and stenciling your own feature wall is a fun and exciting way to experiment with colour and pattern. It is also the best way to add personality and style with out having to commit to decorating the whole room. 

There are two basic ways to produce an allover pattern effect. The 1st is a motif repeated in a straight lines across and down and the 2nd is where the motif is staggered like a brickwork.

               Example of straight line repeats                              Example of staggered repeats



Materials you will need:

  • A stencil/ or 2 to make the job quicker
  • Repositionable Spray Mount
  • blue low tack decorators tape
  • Light colored water soluble pencil or chalk
  • Spirit level
  • Metal Ruler or stiff strong cardboard
  • Paint - acrylic/emulsion
  • Dense foam roller A.K.A Gloss roller and stencil brush
  • Kitchen roll

Think about the wall you will be stenciling and how best to stencil it

A blank wall that has no obstacles to stencil around like a door or radiator is going to be easiest and quickest to stencil and is also more suited as a feature wall, so that is what we will base this tutorial on, but you can use the flexible stencil to paint around obstacles if necessary.

We will be starting our first repeat in the top left hand corner and working our way across in rows from left to right. This will mean that the complete stag motif will run along the top of the wall and down the left side of the wall and we won't have to worry about stenciling into the corners in these areas. If you want to have the motif cut off at the top, bottom, and sides for a more 'total wallpaper' look then place your first repeat so you know the design will be cut off at the top by the ceiling or picture rail. Think about the wall you want to stencil and how best to approach it. You may also want to start your first repeat in another area of the wall perhaps down the side of a door to avoid having to stencil into the side of the door frame.


Place your first stencil repeat

Spray a thin mist of repositionable spray mount on the back of the stencil or use pieces of low tack tape to place your stencil in the top left corner of the wall. Tear off 8 strips of low tack decorators tape about 3 inches long and mark the corners in right angles. (Fig 1) You may find it helpful to mark dashed straight vertical line down the wall on the right side of the stencil and also a line running horizontally across the wall using the bottom of the stencil. This would further ensure good alignment of the top and side row to work out from. 

Fig 1


Use the masking tape crosses to line up all your repeats

Move the stencil over to the right and line up the stencils left corners with the masking tape crosses you have made and mark the right corners with the masking tape in the same way. Carry on horizontally and vertically until you have a complete row across and down the wall mapped out. (Fig 2) Then repeat this over the whole wall until you have marked out the entire wall with tape. (Fig 3)

Fig 2                                                                                                       Fig 3


Finish mapping out your wall and get ready to paint your stencilled pattern

If things don't line up perfectly when mapping out the wall, don't panic! There is bound to be some inaccuracies. The thing to remember is that when the allover pattern is complete your eye will NOT notice! 

Now you are happy with your marked out wall you can start painting the stencils on the walls. As this is a large project we would recommend using a dense foam roller to paint each stencil. To learn how to do this please view our How to page on painting stencils with a roller


Start stenciling your wall

As the stencil placements have all been plotted out you can skip about if you want to or paint in methodical rows. Paint all the repeats that don't require you to paint into the corners and do these areas last. Your wall will now look like this Fig 4

Fig 4


How to tackle stenciling into corners 

Firstly run a strip of tape down the entire length of the adjoining wall to mask it so you don't paint on it. Line up the stencil as usual. Use pieces of low tack tape to position the stencil into the corner but leave it flapping free where it hits the other wall. Paint as much as you can with your roller pushing it into the corner. Then use your metal ruler, piece of thin stiff cardboard or your fingers to push the stencil into the corner. Use your stencil brush to finish off. In the same way mask off along the skirting board and tackle the bottom in the same way. You can now remove all the pieces of tape and rub or wipe off the water soluble pencil or chalk lines. 

This is what your finished wall will look like:



You can adapt this straight line repeat pattern to create a spaced out staggered pattern by missing out every other repeat. (Fig 6) You could also change the direction of each row by turning your stencil over and painting the reverse side to create more interest within the pattern (Fig 7)...we would highly recommend to save you time in cleaning the stencil to buy a second stencil for this use.

Fig 6                                                                                                                      Fig 7


Mark out your top row of stencil repeats:

Start off the project as in the previous tutorial. Align your stencil in the top left corner and using your spirit level and pencil mark a light, dashed straight vertical line down the wall on the right side of the stencil and also a line running horizontally across the wall using the bottom of the stencil. 
 Map out using your stencil and tape the complete the top row of repeats. (Fig 9)

Fig 9

2nd straggered row of stencil repeats:

On the next line down what we want to do is shift the stencil half a repeat over to the right. To do this Measure the width of your stencil sheet and draw a mark using on the top and bottom of the stencil half way across. Then line it up with the middle of the tape that divides the top row of repeats as in (Fig 10) and mark the corners of the stencil with tape. This is going to be your staggered row.

Fig 10

Finish mapping out this 2nd row of repeats and you will also find it useful to number the tape 1 & 2 so you can clearly differentiate between the two rows (Fig 11) If you want to at this point you can also use your spirit level to add a straight vertical dashed pencil line down the wall to have a straight line reference for the staggered row.

Fig 11

3rd row of stencil repeats:

For the next row down position the stencil as shown in Fig 12 and mark the bottom 2 corners with tape. Then move it vertically down and repeat across the whole row and mark the tape with a number 1.

Fig 12

4th row of stencil repeats:

For the next row down repeat the previous step and position the stencil as shown in Fig 13
 and mark the bottom 2 corners with tape. Then move it vertically down and repeat across the whole row and mark the tape with a number 2.

Fig 13

That's the wall all mapped out. So to recap: on the top row you stencil in position 1 , the 2nd row in position 2, the 3rd row in position 1 again and 4th row back to position 2. Fig 14 shows the wall after it has been painted with the numbered tape marks left on.

Fig 14

Hopefully now you feel more confident to try it for yourself and create your own wallpaper pattern effect. Use this as a guide to help you. There other methods of marking up your wall which you may want to do if your require more spacing between your repeats.  Great results can even be achieved by simply placing your stencil by eye... so it doesn't have to be a methodical exercise. Remember that some misalignments of the repeats will not be noticed when the pattern is complete, so have fun and paint your own unique stenciled feature wall!