Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Stencil Walls and Floors


How to Stencil a Kitty Floorcloth
This cute cat-inspired floorcloth                                  showcases your stenciling skill.
This cute cat-inspired floorcloth showcases your stenciling skill.

With just the right balance of cuteness and sophistication, this gorgeous floorcloth is a showcase of stenciling at its very best.

Skill Level: Intermediate +

Time: 8 hours

Stencil Design: Download the Kitty Floorcloth as a PDF.

What You'll Need

  • Preprimed artist canvas duck fabric, 32-3/4 x 49-1/4 inches
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Painter's tape, 2-inch-wide
  • Scissors
  • Plaid FolkArt acrylic paint: Buttercup, Pink, Bright Pink
  • Accent acrylic paint: Blue Bonnet
  • DecoArt Americana acrylic paint: Hauser Light Green, Soft Black
  • Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paint: Medium Foliage Green, Bahama Purple
  • Plaid Apple Barrel Colors acrylic paint: King's Gold
  • 1-inch stencil brush
  • 1/2-inch stencil brushes, 3
  • 1/4-inch stencil brushes, 4
  • 1/8-inch stencil brushes, 3
  • Spray or brush-on acrylic varnish

Instructions

Step One: Measure and mark a 4-inch border around the edge of the canvas. Divide the area inside this border into fifteen 8-1/4-inch squares in a 3x5 grid.

Step Two: To mask off the 7 squares that will be painted yellow (refer to above project photo), unroll the painter's tape, cutting off 8-1/2-inch strips as you go. Place the lengths of tape along the lines marked on the canvas and press firmly, overlapping at the corners. At this time, mask off a 4-inch square in each corner of the border as well.

Step Three: Starting at the outside edges of each square and working inward in a smooth, circular motion, stencil these 11 squares Buttercup with a 1-inch brush.

Work inward in a smooth, circular motion.
Work inward in a smooth, circular motion.

Step Four: Position the floral stencil in the first yellow square; tape in place. Using a 1/2-inch stencil brush, stencil every other row of flowers Pink. Apply two coats for complete coverage. Stencil the remaining flowers Blue Bonnet with a 1/2-inch brush; repeat. Stencil the leaves Hauser Light Green with a 1/4-inch stencil brush. With a 1/8-inch brush, add a dab of Medium Foliage Green on the tip and base of each leaf. Repeat in all yellow squares.

Add the pink, blue, and greens to the remaining flowers and leaves.
Add the pink, blue, and greens to the remaining flowers and leaves.

Step Five: Position the circle stencil in the center of each flower, and, using a different 1/4-inch brush for each color, stencil Bright Pink on the Pink flowers and Bahama Purple on the Blue Bonnet flowers.

Stencil a circular dab of color inside each flower.
Stencil a circular dab of color inside each flower.

Step Six: Remove tape from all yellow squares.

Step Seven: Mask off the two squares to be painted purple (refer to photo). Stencil both squares Blue Bonnet with a 1/2-inch brush with the same technique used in step three.

Step Eight: Position the checkerboard stencil in the top left corner of either of these squares; stencil Bahama Purple with a 1/4-inch stencil brush. Reposition the stencil, aligning it with already-stenciled checks, and repeat. Repeat in second square; remove tape.

Step Nine: Next, mask off the border. (Mask off the four corner squares to protect them.) Stencil the border Pink with a 1/2-inch stencil brush. Position the stripe stencil so the stripes are perpendicular to the edges of the canvas. Using a 1/4-inch brush, stencil the stripes Bright Pink. Reposition the stencil all the way around the border, using the last stenciled stripe as a guide. Leave the tape in place; it will serve as 1 edge of the stripe between the border and the center of the floorcloth.

Step Ten: Place another line of tape all the way around the border 1/4 inch to the outside of the tape from step nine. Stencil this stripe Bright Pink with a 1/4-inch brush.

Stencil the stripe Bright Pink.
Stencil the stripe Bright Pink.

Step Eleven: Center the cat design stencil in a white square with the cats' heads toward the inside of the mat; tape in place. Stencil the cats Buttercup with a 1/2-inch brush. Leave stencil in place; let dry to touch. Position the checkerboard stencil over the large cat. Stencil King's Gold with a 1/4-inch brush. Repeat on the small cat.

Position the checkerboard stencil over the large cat.
Position the checkerboard stencil over the large cat.

Step Twelve: Stencil the flowers Blue Bonnet with a 1/4-inch brush; repeat. Stencil the flower stems and leaves Hauser Light Green with a 1/4-inch brush. Shade the stems and leaves with Medium Foliage Green on a 1/8-inch brush. Stencil the outside stripes of the bees King's Gold with a 1/8-inch brush and the wings, heads, body stripes, and antennae Soft Black with a 1/8-inch brush.

Step Thirteen: Center the facial feature overlays on each cat, and stencil the eyes and mouth Soft Black and the nose Bright Pink.

Step Fourteen: Repeat steps 11-13 in each white square. Let dry; remove all tape.

Step Fifteen: Position the button stencil at the corner of 1 of the squares. Stencil Bahama Purple with a 1/4-inch brush; repeat for complete coverage. Repeat button in all 4 corners of all squares.

Step Sixteen: Center the "x" stencil in each button; stencil Blue Bonnet with a 1/4-inch brush.

Create the "x" stencil in each button.
Create the "x" stencil in each button.

Step Seventeen: Follow manufacturer's instructions to seal the floorcloth with spray or brush-on acrylic varnish.

Bright Ideas

Create a riot of texture and color, or stencil a single cute motif. All or parts of this stencil would look great as framed wall art. Stencil just the cat design onto white matte board, and embellish a frame with flowers, stripes, checks, or buttons. Imagine a series of pictures hung in a row -- each with a different-color cat and a uniquely embellished frame.

Have another stencil project in mind? See:

ABOUT THE DESIGNERS

Flowers & Ivy Nook from The Robins & Willoughby Collection

Garden Butterfly Border by Nancy Tribolet

Faux Wallpaper from The Robins & Willoughby Collection

Kitty Floorcloth by Donna K. Hrkman