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How to Stencil Kids' Decor

How to Stencil a Noah's Ark Toy Chest

The Noah's Ark Toy Chest is colorful and useful, too.
The Noah's Ark Toy Chest is colorful and useful, too.

Spruce up a toy box with these Noah's Ark stencils. The animals and bright colors look terrific in any playroom.

Skill level: Intermediate


Time: 6-8 hours

Stencil Design: Download the Noah's Ark Toy Chest as a PDF.

What You'll Need

  • Wooden toy chest
  • Fine-grade sandpaper
  • All-purpose sealer
  • 2-inch foam brushes, 4
  • Flat or semi-gloss white latex paint
  • 1-inch flat brush
  • Painter's tape
  • Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paint: Periwinkle
  • Plaid FolkArt acrylic paint: Midnight, Fresh Foliage, Camel, Lemon Custard, Lipstick Red, Coffee Bean, True Blue, Evergreen, Wicker White, Yellow Ochre
  • 5/8-inch stencil brushes, 2
  • 1/2-inch stencil brushes, 5
  • 3/8-inch stencil brushes, 3
  • Index card
  • Black fine-point permanent marker
  • Artist's brush
  • Satin-finish spray varnish


Step One: Prepare the wood for painting by lightly sanding it with fine-grade sandpaper, applying a thick, even coat of sealer with a foam brush, and applying a white basecoat with the flat brush. Let dry.

Step Two: Mask off a 3/4-inch border along the top of the front and sides of the toy box, and mask off a 3/4-inch border along the front and side edges of the lid as well. (Leave tape in place until step 18.) Using a foam brush, paint the lid and the molding above the base of the box Periwinkle. Paint the base of the box and the front edge of the lid Midnight.

Step Three: To create a horizon line, apply painter's tape in an irregular, bumpy line across the middle of the box, carrying the line all the way around the box onto both sides as well as the front. The irregularities in the line will give the illusion of slight hills and valleys. Press firmly on the edges of the tape so paint does not seep underneath.

Using a foam brush, paint the box above the line Periwinkle. Let dry; remove tape. Re-mask above the horizon line, and paint the area below the tape Fresh Foliage.

Step Four: Center stencil A on the front of the toy box; mark registration points. Stencil the ark, the giraffe, and Noah's face Camel. Stencil the dove Lemon Custard, and stencil Noah's robe Lipstick Red. Mask the left side of the ark with an index card held perpendicular to the roof, and lightly shade along the vertical edge with Coffee Bean to add dimension.

Stencil the ark, the giraffe, and Noah with the same color.
Stencil the ark, the giraffe, and Noah with the same color.

Step Five: Align stencil B. Stencil the hull True Blue, using two coats if needed for complete coverage. Stencil all windows and the lower roof Midnight. Stencil the top roof Lipstick Red, the olive branch Evergreen, the giraffe's spots and facial features Coffee Bean, Noah's beard and the whites of his eyes Wicker White, and Noah's hands Camel.

Step Six: Use a black permanent marker to dot a pupil in both of Noah's eyes and to dot a tiny eye on the dove.

Step Seven: Position Noah's staff in his hand with the end resting on the hull of the ark; stencil Coffee Bean.

Step Eight: Center the large porthole stencil on the hull of the ark; mark registration points. Stencil Lipstick Red. Reposition the stencil an inch away on both sides and repeat, creating three portholes.

Stencil the portholes with red and black.
Stencil the portholes with red and black.

Step Nine: Align the small porthole stencil. Stencil the inside of the portholes Midnight, using 2 coats for complete coverage. Repeat for all portholes.

Step Ten: Position lions stencil to the right of the ark; mark registration points. Stencil Camel, and add Coffee Bean shading around the edges of the male lion's face. Let dry.

Step Eleven: Align the lion overlay, and stencil the mane and female lion's back leg and face Camel. Shade around the outer edges of the mane with Coffee Bean, and stencil tail, lioness's facial features, and line details Coffee Bean as well.

Step Twelve: With stencil still in place, cover the lion's mane with its dropout. Stencil the facial features Coffee Bean.

Step Thirteen: Use an artist's brush and Coffee Bean to freehand the lion's whiskers.

Step Fourteen: Position large giraffe stencil to the left of the ark with face almost touching small giraffe's face; mark registration points. Stencil Camel. Remove stencil. Align the giraffe overlay; stencil all details Coffee Bean.

Step Fifteen: Position alligator stencil at bottom right of ark; mark registration points. Stencil Evergreen. Align alligator overlay; stencil face details Coffee Bean.

Step Sixteen: Repeat steps 10-15 to stencil a few animals on the side panels of the toy chest. We suggest two lions and two alligators on the right panel, and two gators and the large giraffe on the left.

Step Seventeen: Once the ark and animals are complete, position the grass tuft stencil as desired around the landscape; stencil Evergreen. Position the two cloud stencils randomly throughout the sky; stencil Wicker White. Apply two coats for complete coverage.

Step Eighteen: Remove tape from step two. Working on one corner of the top of the toy chest at a time, place a square from the border stencil in each corner, and stencil True Blue. Stencil Yellow Ochre squares onto the white borders. Repeat around all borders.

Personalize the top of the toy chest.
Personalize the top of the toy chest.

Step Nineteen: To protect your work, mist the entire chest with at least three coats of satin-finish spray varnish, letting dry between coats.

In the next section, get on track to learn how to stencil a Toy Train Table.

Want to find another stencil project? See: