How to Stencil with Allover Pattern Stencils

Posted July 26 2011
Stenciling with allover patterns, such as damask stencil patterns, lattice-work and scrollwork are a great addition to any room. The repeated pattern will actually make a small room seem larger. Unlike wallpaper, stenciled allover patterns are inexpensive, can be done in custom colors and can also be done using techniques that yield a wonderful "painterly" effect.  
allover pattern stencil corsini damask

Working with allover pattern stencils in a room

If you are wrapping the stencil design around a room, meaning that the pattern will be placed on all four walls, find the vertical center point of the most dominant wall and begin with the pattern centered on that, working out to and through each corner.  Your pattern will then end equally at both dominant corners.  Each pattern will work a little differently, but I prefer to begin the pattern at the top of the wall and let it end however it ends up at the bottom, since most of it will be covered by furniture.
If you are wrapping the design completely around the walls, how do you get it to end perfectly?  You probably can'­t and will pull your hair out trying.  It is an allover pattern just like wallpaper.  There has to be a seam somewhere, so put it in the least obvious spot that has limited wall space.  For most rooms, this is where you enter the room.  Continue the design uninterrupted around the room, going both directions from the center starting point and wrapping each corner.  When you end both directions at the least dominant corner, there will be a limited amount of wall space above the door so if the design doesn'­t match up in THAT corner (which is the least dominant corner of the room), it will be hardly noticeable. Each room will present a different scenario, so think about it and plan ahead before you start.
Keeping it straight and in place

Damask stencil elegancia
You will want to work with a large, plastic bubble level and check the levelness of the pattern each time you move it (or every other one at least), by holding the level along one of the vertical or horizontal edges.  Use a light misting of re-positionable stencil spray adhesive  in addition to tape to keep the stencil flush with the wall and secure.  Because these are bigger, weaker stencils (meaning that they have more areas cut from them and have many bridges and delicate bendable, edges), the spray adhesive is quite helpful.
Working through corners, ceiling, etc.
Re-positionable stencil spray adhesive  really helps here, because it allows you to push the stencil into the corner or ceiling line and make it secure to the wall.  For corners, remember that you can only do one wall surface at a time.  As you come to the corner, push the stencil first on to the wall you are working on, into the corner, allowing it to hang free from the opposite wall.  Complete your stenciling and wrap the stencil into the corner, pressing in to the other wall surface as you release the stencil from the wall you have just done.  You canít have the stencil secured to both walls at the same time it just won't work! The same goes for ceiling and molding edges.  The spray adhesive will hold the stencil securely to the wall surface, right into the corner edge.  
Matching up repeats
Pattern stencils chain link
 
Our allover pattern stencils have the repeat registration cut into the mylar. Various key elements of the design are cut through on the repeat so that you simply line them up over your previous stenciling, allowing for easy and perfect registration. Simply continue stenciling in the unpainted areas.

Caring for stencils

Some of the larger stencils with intricate designs that have many pointy edges and delicate bridges (areas of mylar between the design elements), will be damaged more by trying to scrub them than not.  If you use glazes for the stenciling you will have much less buildup on the stencils than if you stencil with heavy, undiluted paint and the residue will be very easy to remove. The easiest way to clean a large, production-sized stencil is to lay it flat on a table on heavy plastic and use a damp scrubby sponge or terry towel to clean gently. I haven't found it necessary to clean the adhesive off the back of the stencil.  Some residue will remain, but most will wear off through use. Simply place on a large sheet of heavy plastic, roll, and store. Never allow your stencil to be folded or bent!