Stenciling Techniques for Avoiding and Correcting Mistakes

I put together a few stenciling techniques for those little mishaps because I know ... It Happens!

You took all the precautions in preparation for painting your stencil and still you have paint where it shouldn’t be. Well, I've compiled a few tips for correcting those mishaps and a few hints for avoiding them. And don't miss the video near the bottom of this page.

Dog Stencil Portrait from

Having too much paint on the brush is the most common mistake. Your first hint of this will be that paint is seeping under the edges of the stencil causing smudges. It can be as major as having the paint seep far enough under the stencil to have connected the openings on your surface or as minor as making your lines not as crisp as they can be. Remember, stenciling uses a dry brush technique. Blot any extra paint on a paper towel until you get a light powdery effect when touching your surface. Deeper color is achieved with more coats of paint with enough drying time in between.

Stencil Shifting is the second most common mistake. This will produce a double or a ghost image. This is happening because your stencil is moving while you are applying paint. Try these methods to correct the problem and increase or change your method of securing the stencil to the surface.

For either of these situations, first try to wipe of the excess paint with a damp cloth. If the paint has covered a tight spot like a corner or a thin bridge, wrap the damp cloth around the handle end of a paint brush and try using this to remove the unwanted paint. If you are working on a solid surface like a wall or a piece of furniture, you can use a cleaning solution like Simple Green on the damp cloth.

If you are not able to remove the unwanted paint as described above, then let the paint dry thoroughly and use an artist’s brush to paint over it with the background color.

Finally, if the smudges are just too much to fix with either method described above, then let the paint dry thoroughly and repaint the whole area with the background color so that you can start over from scratch.

Moving on…Secure your stencil firmly to the surface and dab out the extra paint from your brush.

If you need some great stenciling techniques for securing your stencil to the surface, check out our section on Craft Stenciling Tools for Professional Results. There are more ways to secure a stencil besides masking tape.

Well, that’s the beauty of paint. If it doesn’t come out right you can just wipe it out with a fresh coat of background color and start over! I hope these stenciling techniques for correcting mishaps was helpful to you.

Happy Stenciling!


Stencil Books from

P.S. If you're looking for Stencil Pattern Books in Print (like these) then visit our Printer's Book Shop for a large variety of stencil collections. These books are easy to follow and come with complete instructions. You'll find all of the stencil designs used as samples throughout this site.

Of course, if you want stencil designs that you can print from your computer right now, go to the Stencils Catalog!

Well, here's the video I promised you with a few hints and tips for the basics. Enjoy!

Would you like to build a web site like this one and turn a passion into a business? Well, if I did it, you can too. Don't think that you have to be a web designer and know all about computer codes and complicated html stuff. I didn't. With Solo Build It! it's easy and they have the tools in place to help you build pages and teach you how to create a successful web site. Want more information? Just click on Powered by Solo Build It! and watch a cool video that will explain everything. I know you'll get excited like I did.

Return to Home Page from Stenciling Techniques for Avoiding and Correcting Mistakes.

Return to Advanced Tips from Stenciling Techniques for Avoiding and Correcting Mistakes.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

New! Comments

Please share your ideas and any variations to this project you have!

Learning anything is so much easier when you can watch it being done in live motion. So, don't miss the very informative Art Videos that will step you through the many processes of using stencils to create art.

If it's Free Stencils you are looking for you'll find more than you can imagine here. It's my mission to get you motivated to creating art with stencils so I've created all the most popular stencil designs but some rare designs too (like Toile Stencils) and they're all Free!

For art supplies, books and much more please visit our Affiliates below.

Up to 80% off art and craft supplies!

Save up to 75% on Art Supplies! has a dedicated department for stencil supplies. Here you'll find stencil films, paints, books and tools plus and extensive selection of applicators including brushes and sponges.

Free Shipping

In these times, we're always looking for a bargain. CreateForLess has a good selection of plastic palettes for you to choose. Plus you'll find Delta Ceramacoat and DecoArt Paints, stencil brushes and applicators, a few pre-cut stencil designs, and many other items on your stencil supplies checklist.

Crafts & Supplies at! carries a variety of high quality acrylic paints, great for stenciling. You'll find brands like Delta Ceramacoat, Folk Art, Americana and DecoArt. They also provide paint applicators and many other arts and crafts and stencil supplies.

If it's pre-cut stencil designs that you are looking for, then may I suggest Stencil Ease. They have decorative, alphabet and industrial designs or they can custom make one for you. You'll also find Americana Acrylic Paints and other stencil supplies.