Create Faux Wallpaper Using Paint and a Stencil

Last week I posted the reveal of the guest bath in my house. Today, I want to show you how I used an all-over wall stencil to create the look of wallpaper.  I call it faux wallpaper.

Wallpaper can be pretty pricey even for a relatively small space, an all-over stencil costs around $50 and can be reused. There are so many patterns to choose from, plus the best part you get to choose whatever color you want.

All-over wall stencils are designed to help you cover large areas quickly so depending on the size of the room you may be able to get the project done in a day or even an afternoon.

My bathroom is small with an angled ceiling, a door and a window which had to be stenciled around. It took me a full day to get the job done.


The hard part for me was the fact that the ceiling is angled. 

I had to fit the stencil in each of the corner angles, plus 3 more above the door and the window in the room.  To make it easier, I started stenciling from the top of the plank wall and then up to the ceiling. For the last row along the ceiling line, I cut the stencil in half with scissors to make the process easier.  More about how I did this in the tutorial.

Note: Plank Wall On Bottom Half of Walls

I did a full plank wall in the powder room that is off my kitchen. I wrote the tutorial for that here: Easiest Way to Install a Plank Wall

Since I only went half way up the wall for the guest room bath, I capped the top plank off using a trim piece of molding. I added this trim piece after I stenciled.

How to Create Faux Wallpaper Using a Stencil

What I used:

Royal Design Studio Stencils – Pattern: Floral Fireworks All-Over Wall Stencil

Floral Fireworks All-Over Wall Stencil (Size Small)

supplies needed:

  • Royal Design Studio Stencils – Pattern: Floral Fireworks All-Over Wall Stencil (Size Small) – I got two so I could cut one up to fit easily where the angled walls meet the ceiling.
  • Fusion Mineral Paint in the color Liberty Blue
  • White base coat of paint:  Kilz Complete Coat (Satin finish) that I bought at Walmart. Color Ultra Bright White right out of the can.
  • Stencil brush
  • Paper plate
  • Paper towel
  • Painter’s tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Step ladder

You can purchase stencil brushes or foam pouncers at the craft store.  My fave is the red-handled one.  You can also use stencil rollers that can make the painting process go even faster. I do find that the rollers sometimes leave roller edge lines in large open areas of the stencil design, so I prefer using a stencil brush.

Paint the walls using satin white paint, let dry. I needed 2 coats to hide the previous color and wallpaper on the walls.

Normally I would begin at the ceiling line and work around the room and then keep moving down until I reached the floor or in my case the top of the plank wall. Instead I started at the bottom and worked up. I did this because the ceiling has angles which are hard to get into, plus if things don’t line up around the angles, I could simply fix the design by hand painting with a fine tipped paint brush.

To start, place the stencil on the least seen part of the room. I usually start in a corner, but for the bathroom, I started in the middle of the wall that would become covered by a mirror.  You do this so that when you go around the whole room and come back to the starting point, if the pattern doesn’t match up perfectly, it won’t be seen as much.  Once nice thing about using an all-over stencil like the Floral Fireworks pattern I did, you can make some mistakes and they will just blend into the design. It is very forgiving!

I placed the bottom of the stencil a little bit lower than on top of the horizontal plank wall. I wanted the actual design to look like it went behind the planks. If I placed the bottom of the stencil right on the edge, the design would be above the planks since there is excess mylar all around the design.

Place a drop cloth to protect the surrounding area. Using your measuring tape, find the center of the wall. Affix your stencil to the top and center of your wall with painter’s tape. Check to make sure that your stencil is level.

Place paint on one side of a foam paper plate. Load up your brush with paint, then remove most of the paint by off-loading (dabbing) it onto a folded piece of paper towel. This is important as you don’t want excess paint to bleed underneath the stencil. Less paint on the brush is better when it comes to stenciling.

Begin to pounce the brush over the stencil. You can lift up the corner of the stencil to make sure you’re not applying too much paint and bleeding through.

Continue to pounce or dab the brush over all the open areas of the design. Once complete, move your stencil over to the the next position.

The stencil will have registration marks that will guide you to the correct placement.  The paint was dry enough to move onto the next placement without disturbing the previous paint.

You can see in this photo how the design flows together when you move the stencil to the next position using the registration marks. When you finish the first vertical row, you will use the same registration marks, plus ones on the bottom to make sure you are lining up the pattern correctly to start the next row. I know it sounds complex, but it is very easy once you get the hang of it.

Once you come to a corner or edge, apply painters tape vertically to protect the edge on the adjacent wall from getting any paint on it.

Stenciling into the corners requires you bend the stencil and use painter’s tape to make sure it stays in place while you apply the paint.

Use one hand to make sure the stencil is flat against the wall…

…before you begin to paint with your other hand. Once done, you can remove the vertical line of tape.

Continue to go around the room until you have finished.

How to Stencil and Paint into Angled Ceilings

There may be another way to do stencil/paint into angles and tight fitting spaces, but this is what I did.

I waited to do the ceiling line row last and bought two stencils to use, one to cut up to fit into the ceiling angles or tight places. If only using one stencil, wait to do the angled parts of the wall last using one stencil that you cut to fit the areas.  I had three horizontal rows of the stencil design going around the room. Two were the completed design, the third row closest to the ceiling was not. When I did this row, I used the cut up sections of the stencil to paint the design on the wall.  If I had left the stencil full size it would have been flopping over and getting paint on the ceiling.

Before I cut the stencil, I found the registration marks and made sure I didn’t cut them off. I then cut the stencil in half and then again into smaller pieces so I could fit them into the tight angles on the wall.

I had to do some touching up both with white paint (base wall color) and the Liberty Blue. I used a fine-tipped paint brush to do this. White paint hid blue mistakes and blue paint fixed an area of the design that did not get completed.

Note:  If you have a large room, you may have to stop and clean the excess paint buildup from your stencil. I needed to do this once. The easiest way to clean it is in your bathtub.

For more stenciling tips and ideas, you may want to check out the how-to videos and tutorials on the Royal Designs Studio  website.