Stenciling is an inexpensive avocation that requires but a few important basic stencil tools and supplies to ensure a successful result.
Good quality stencil brushes are the most important tools that you will need and use. Royal Design Studio
offers a complete line of Signature Stencil Brushes
made to Melanie Royals' exacting specifications. These quality brushes are densely packed with long, soft, natural bristles. The sizes range from 3/8" up to 1", and indicate the width of the brush head.
It is preferable to have a selection of brush sizes available for your project, and have a separate brush available for each color to be used. The size of brush to be used depends largely on the size of the areas that you are painting.
Large brushes, because they will hold more paint and will go farther, are used effectively for stenciling solid or allover patterns, and larger design elements such as pots and architectural features. Smaller brushes are necessary for stenciling in smaller areas, particularly when you are trying to control the application of paint in small areas for detailed shading.
The second most important element for successful stenciling is the use of a good quality paper towel. I have been using Bounty for 16 years with great success, and highly recommend it. The stenciling technique I use requires a very dry brush, meaning that you are required to off-load most of the paint you will load on the brush before beginning. Cheap paper towels will not absorb the paint well, leaving most of it on the brush. Also a very firm pressure and circular motion is used for off-loading and inexpensive paper towels tend to merely shred.
Painter's Tape is the best tape available for holding stencils securely. It is more expensive than brown tape, but holds it's tack well, and will not mar most surfaces by pulling up the base coat. For very delicate surfaces, easily damaged, or newly painted surfaces, you may want to use a very low tack tape, such as Kleenedge Safe Release White Tape.
For most applications, tape is sufficient to hold the stencil in place. I like to just place tape at each top corner of the stencil, allowing me to lift the stencil often, to check registration, and get a clear view of how the print is developing.
Re-Positionable Spray Adhesive
Stencil Spray Adhesive is useful for some applications, especially where it is important for the stencil to be held fully and securely to the surface. I always use it when working on ceilings, curved surfaces (such as on furniture), and for securing large, weaker stencils, that don't lay flat easily. It is also great for securing stencil patterns when working designs through corners, because it holds the stencil in place snugly (one wall at a time).
Measuring and Marking Tools
Bubble levels and Grid Rulers are very useful for determining and marking proper design placement. Look for a lightweight plastic level with ruler markings on the side. The plastic won't mar the wall surface like metal will.
When marking pencil lines, use a soft lead pencil with a very light touch. Don't make dark marks that will be almost impossible to fully erase. A good alternative is to use a watercolor pencil in a soft neutral gray color, which will be removable by simply wiping with a damp cloth.
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