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Published: Wednesday, 4/26/2006

Add Art To Any Room With Super Stencils

A popular way to dress up any room with color and style is with stencils. You can buy ready-made stencils at paint and wallpaper stores or decorators shops, or you can make your own for a more unique approach.

It s easy to make your own colorful stencils, using clear acetate or stencil board available at art supply or craft stores. Acetate is transparent and easy to use for designs. It s also your best bet if you want to layer a series of colors. Stencil board is more rigid, which makes it easier to hold the stencil flat against the wall.

To transfer a design to a stencil, first photocopy it, then use a copier to reduce or enlarge the pattern. It s a good idea to check your design first so if there s a pattern, you can distribute it evenly on the wall. If you re using stencil board, use removable adhesive to attach a copy of your final design to the board. Smooth it out and tape the edges, then use a utility knife to cut through both the board and the design. Finally, remove the copy. If you re using acetate, use tape to attach your pattern to the acetate and cut it out.

When you get ready to stencil, use a pencil to lightly mark the positions on the wall. With masking tape, tape the stencil to the wall at the first position you ve selected. Use a small sponge or nearly dry paintbrush to keep the paint from seeping under the stencil. Twist the bristles on the brush or use a paper towel on the sponge to remove excess paint. And be sure to use a fast-drying paint.

With the brush or sponge held perpendicular to the wall, use up-and-down motions to apply the paint from the edge of the cut-out stencils toward the center. Dragging the paint across the stencil may push paint under the cutout. When you ve finished, carefully remove the stencil and switch to a fine bristle brush to touch up any smudged areas or fill in around the edges.

Using stencils can change the appearance of any room. They are readily available at any craft store and come in just about any size and shape. So grab your brush and paint, and happy stenciling.

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