I bought my stencil on Esty from Olive Leaf Stencils. It came in a tube and was rolled up inside. So, the first thing I did was to lay it out flat with some heavy books on it. You want your stencil to be flat before you start painting. Once it has been flattened out (no longer wants to curl up) you are ready to begin!
1. Gather your supplies. After reading the very helpful, detailed instructions that came with the stencil, I decided that I would use a foam roller, Elmer's spray adhesive, Frog tape, and a pencil. The base color on the wall is Waverly's Cafe Cream. I chose Cooled Lava by Valspar for the stencil.
2. Start in a top corner (left or right really makes no difference). Lightly spray with Elmer's (very lightly) and give it a minute to dry a little before sticking it to the wall. Then tape it up with Frog tape. You will only need to spray it about 4 to 5 times. You don't need to spray it every time you move it over.
3. Roll your foam roller through the paint and then roll off the paint on some paper towels. You want the roller to be pretty dry when you use it on your stencil.
4. Then with your fairly dry roller go over the stencil. Depending on the color you choose you may have to apply 2 to 3 coats. This is where the patience comes in as you wait for it to dry between coats.
5. Then before you take the stencil down to move it over grab your pencil and mark a little dot in the corner marks on your stencil. Most wall stencils have little notches in the corners where you can make a little pencil dot in order to line your stencil up as you move it across the wall.
6. You don't have to wait until the paint is totally dry before you move your stencil over. You just need the paint to not be really wet still. Once it is semi-dry you can move it over and line up the notches where you marked with a pencil.
7. Then repeat all the way across the wall.
8. When you get to the end move your stencil down and over to the next row. And repeat all the way across.
9. With an all over pattern like the one I used, the corners and the top are a teensy bit tricky. Luckily by the time you get to them you'll have a little more experience under your belt. I did the corners first then went up to the top after. For the corners use the pencil dots to line things up and push your stencil into the corners as best as you can then tape. Roll in very lightly as far into the corner as you can get. You may even want to use a stenciling paint brush to get in the corners a little better.
10. For the top I actually cut my stencil to make it easier to work with. You don't have to do this. I like easy, so I did. It can be taped back together and reused with no problem so it seemed like a no brainer to me.
When you're done do a happy dance and pat yourself on the back! You deserve it! I have to say that when it comes to bleed through, I did have a tiny bit of it. It isn't noticeable at all. Mainly because of the nature of an Ikat pattern. Just one more reason why I love this stencil. An Ikat has blurred edges anyway, so any bleed through I did get looks like it's supposed to be that way :) I'd have to say for that reason alone that this particular pattern is a good choice for a beginner!
So that's my stenciling-for-the-first-time experience. I'm in love with the results and really kind of blown away at how easy it was. If you've never stenciled before I hope my experience encourages you to give it a try! Makes such a big difference in a room for little money, little work, and maybe a little patience :)
For more info on why I changed my mind and stenciled the wall rather than the ceiling as was originally planned check here.
Happy Stenciling and Happy Weekend!