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Stenciling With Plaster


This wonderful stenciling technique will personality and depth to walls, pottery, and planters

Stenciling has gone well beyond crafters tables and straight onto walls, jars, planters, and concrete pavers. The technique is simple; all that is required is a heavy-duty template and a few ideas. The finished project is a raised stencil design - either subtle or bold and layered.

Pre-mixed joint compound, is the most common product used for stenciling. It is durable and able to withstand some abuse. For outdoor projects, stucco and concrete are better suited to enduring the elements. These products are available at your local home improvement store.

Stencils are available at most hobby stores, but many of these are not thick enough to make enough of an impression. On-line stores may carry thicker templates.You can make your own with sheets of acetate, if you find a pattern you like and are handy with a craft knife. You should find plenty of free patterns as well.

One of the reasons we like stenciling with plaster is that it can cover up flaws on walls. If we have an "oops" that is contained to a smallish area, then it is so easy to place a stencil over it that matches the decor. Of course, it would look a little odd to have only one; usually we create one or two complementary stencils and add a few more on the walls in strategic places for good measure.

You can add a raised pattern to just about any object: wood products, ceramics, concrete planters and birdbaths, and bricks or pavers. If you're using joint compound for slippery objects, the experts recommend adding white craft glue for increased adhesion. Ratios will vary - depending on whom you ask - you should always experiment on a practice piece first. Start with 1 tablespoon of glue per 1 ½ cup of compound.

You will also need a trowel or putty knife, masking tape or painter's tape, and spray-on adhesive (make sure it is labeled "repositionable").

Spray adhesive on the stencil's back side per manufacturer's instructions. Place it on the wall or other object. You may still want to add tape in any stubborn places and along the edges. With your trowel, fill in with the joint compound. At this point, you can smooth it level with the stencil for a subtle design or give it a little extra height for more of a raised effect.

Carefully remove the stencil. If you find any rough edges, smooth them with a wet, gloved finger. If you make a mistake, it's easy to start again; just remove your handiwork, clean the stencil and start over.

Allow to dry for at least 24 hours before painting. You can paint the stenciled plaster the same color as the wall or add a secondary color. If you're working on pottery, water the paint down and sponge it on. Add a second color for depth and aging.

This is the basic technique for stenciling with plaster. You'll soon become a master at raised stencil crafting.

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