How To Reduce Bleed While Stenciling

How To Reduce Bleed While Stenciling

Hi I’m Greg from Cutting Edge Stencils and
today I want to talk to you about paint seepage or paint bleed while stenciling.
And the first thing I want to say about it is it’s part of the process. You’re
going to get some paint bleed, some seepage around the back of the stencil
that’ll give you a less-than-perfect edge. Don’t obsess over, it don’t worry
about it, but what we will do today is talk about
some techniques that will reduce the amount of paint seepage or bleed to give
you the best result possible. Let’s go! So let’s talk about the key points to
reducing bleed while stenciling. The first one would be the condition of your
walls. If you want a nice crisp sharp line while stenciling, your wall has to
be smooth. So check your preparation of your wall if you’re doing your base
coating make sure smooth you have someone else prepping it for you make
sure the wall is smooth. This way you’re going to get a nice tight crisp line. If
you have a texture finish on your walls, I would select a stencil that would be
more forgiving. That would be something organic with leaf shapes or scroll
shapes. This way if you get a little bleed you’re not going to see it anyway.
It’s about getting the design the pattern on the walls. Okay,
second thing is the proper paint sheens and the proper paints. You really want a
stencil on a flat wall. A flat sheen has a certain porosity, it’s going to absorb
your stencil paint quicker and it’s going to dry quicker, therefore not
allowing the paint to bleed underneath the stencil to give you that line that
uncrisp line. So I would recommend that you use a flat
paint on the wall and I’d also recommend a stencil with a flat paint such as Ben
Moore Ben, great paint or Folk Art acrylics. They’re dynamite. They have a flat sheen
they flash off or they dry very quickly and they’re going to stay where you put
them. When you stencil with semi-gloss or gloss paints, they have extenders in them
and they’re designed to dry slower. The problem with that is that means that the
paint has more time to drift and to seep underneath the stencil. We just know that
going into it you’re going to do a tone on tone or a sheen on sheen technique
you’re going to have a lot more possibility of bleed as you raise the
sheen up from flat to gloss. Ok the contrast of colors is another big thing.
If you have a white wall and you want to stencil it in black chances are you’re
going to see more bleed more inconsistency in your stenciling project.
If you go tone-on-tone beige on a slightly darker beige you’ll barely see
anything it’s a less dramatic look but maybe appropriate for your decor.
Okay, the last thing is proper load on the brush or roller. Biggest mistake made
in stenciling is people put too much paint on their rollers or their brushes.
You need to have a dry roller or a dry brush and when I say dry I mean
offloaded. You load your roller you offload it onto paper towels. You don’t
want a dripping roller you hit that on the wall
the paint’s got to go somewhere guess where it’s going it’s going behind the
stencil and it’s going to mess everything up. I’m going to show you
later in the video how to properly load your roller or brush. So I just want to
recap these key points. The first one is to have a smooth wall, it’s going to give
you the best result. Second one is to have a flat base coat and use a flat
stencil paint and it can be an acrylic paint that’s going to give you the
sharpest line the best result as well. The next thing is contrast of colors. If
you reduce the contrast of colors and do beige on darker beige you’re going to
get the best result. And the last thing is proper load on your brush or roller.
Not too much paint off loaded properly you’re going to build up your paint
coverage you’re going to get the best result this is how you do it. Okay we’ve
got our stencil on the wall and there are areas where the stencil sits a
little bit off the wall but I’m going to show you why that doesn’t matter. Okay
for this demo we’re using Benjamin Moore’s Ben paint, flat paint love it.
Emerald green color 594 looks like a high contrast flat on flat base coat.
We’ve got our dense foam roller this is really what we recommend you use. We’ve
got our paint so what we’re going to do here is we’re going to load our roller
evenly so you can see I’m not just running the roller
through the paint I’m actually building it up nice and evenly on the roller. Now
here is the key right here the offload of the roller on the paper towels. So you
load your roller you go to your paper towels you offload the excess a couple
passes now you’ve got a nice relatively dry looking roller. This is where you
want to be. Too much pay on your roller it’s going to bleed. Even where the
stencil sits a little bit off the wall the roller will push the stencil in
place, so don’t worry about it. So we’re going to start rolling and you can see
the paint goes on the stencil first then it goes in the holes second. Don’t worry
about that. This way it’s supposed to be. Don’t push
too hard you’ll push paint underneath the edge of the stencil and get your
bleed. You can see I’m building it up slowly. Stencil is sitting slightly off
the wall roller pushes it right down don’t worry about it.
What we’ll do is we’ll just take a peek do a little reveal here and see what
we’ve got. You can see very nice, tight a very
little bit of bleed. Again it’s part of the stenciling. You’re not going to see
it through two feet away it looks great. I’ll show you how to do it with a brush.
A brush is going to give you a better result, although it’s going to take you a
year to the wall. It’s why we really recommend that you use these dense foam
rollers. Got our stencil brush here. Again when you load your stencil brush just
put it on the tip put it on the tip of the brush swirling motion works very
well. Then swirl it and remove excess on your paper towel this way you’re not
flooding the stencil with paint. Come up and straight in
you can pounce you’ll get a very tight line. You can also lightly swirl not a
lot of pressure lately swirl the paint and you can get a very tight stencil
print. Now I can use my brush tweak up some light areas here. Sometimes you may
need your fingers to hold the stencil in place if you’re working around a door
jamb or door molding. But again, from a few feet away you will never see any of
this. It’s really more about getting the color and the texture in the room and
not having to strip wallpaper later. Let’s pull this down. Looks great. a little area where we’ve
got a little bit of paint bleed. Again, the big picture that would never matter
but what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna take a baby white and I’m just going to
detail that swipe it. So you can correct it with a baby wipe or you can touch it
up with your base coat color, which I’ll demo. And we use a little liner brush, we sell
these at Cutting Edge Stencils and you’re gonna reserve however have some
of your base coat paint handy, and then you’re just going to come in and just do
a quick little touch-up on any bleed. That’s getting a little crazy but if you
have excessive bleed or you had a texture wall it might be a solution for
you. Okay so I’ve got our base coat color
Navajo white. Take my liner brush a little bit of paint. I always like to
evenly distribute the paint on the brush. You could even thin that out a little
bit if you’d like. This is called paletteing the brush. Now I have my paint on
here and I’ll come right into my little bleed area and just quickly and
painlessly touch that up. It’s really not necessary but at the end of a project
what we tend to do is just do a quick look at the wall and if there are some
areas that bother you or your eye goes to these areas of bleed just take the 15
minutes run through the project and just knock those areas back. Let me tell you
why time you put your furniture back in the room you’re never going to see this
32nd of an inch bleed. In some cases you may want to use spray
adhesive. If I was doing a ceiling or an area where the stencil had potential to
fall down ,I would use a little bit of spray adhesive. You mist this on the
back of your stencil in a well-ventilated area and let it dry for
a couple of minutes. This way it’ll prevent any of the adhesive from
transferring to the wall and it will give you a little extra edge and help to
hold the stencil in place. So instead of just having tape you got a little spray
adhesive around the whole piece. Really works quite well on the ceilings. If your
stencil is sitting a little bit off the wall, your roller will push it flat. So
it’s that easy! Just follow those simple steps to get a great result like we got
here today and reduce the amount of bleed on your next stencil project. Don’t
forget to stop in at and check out the other
great videos we have on how to stencil. Thanks a lot and have a great day!

63 thoughts on “How To Reduce Bleed While Stenciling

  1. Greg, Do you have a tutorial teaching how to use one stencil design overlapped in a repeated fashion accross a large wall. I like this but am clueless. Do you have a retail store someplace also? GracieRhae, Ut.

  2. Hi Gracie, Check out our video "How to Stencil a Feature Wall". That will show how the repeat and registration works. It's easy! We sell online mostly. Don't think we have a retailer near you.Good Luck!

  3. thank you very much….the first time when I did my walls, i did it with a simple sponge which I used for washing my plates and with simple base code colour, and it actually worked, but took to much time from me…now I'm going to do my bedroom the way you show….:*

  4. I am now living for a while in Jordan "middle east" and would like to buy some your stencils for my new house. do you ship overseas? 

  5. Thanks for the great tips. Helped a lot. Just wondering how big do some of the stencils get? I have a gooseneck trailer I painted last year and looks nice. I would love to put a nice stencil design on top of that. Just most of the stencil I've seen are kinds small and I worry about being a newbie and removing and having to move it over and over again ever couple of feet.

  6. I think the spray adhesive is going to do the trick for me. I'm trying to do a stencil on 2 doors of a kitchen cabinet to give an etched glass look to the 2 panes. I have had to wash it off twice, and still get bleed underneath. Glass is unforgiving, and looks awful when you get that under bleed happening.

  7. Great video and very informative, exactly what I was looking for after my first try with stenciling.  Will ck out the site for certain. Thanks!

  8. Thank you. Lots of bleeding on my first project. I think I am using the wrong paint.  Can you ever just redo an area you screw up on or does that a bigger mess to fix?

  9. Did you take the stencil off the wall while the paint was still dry?  And, did you use the baby wipe on wet or dry paint?

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  11. Wow. So much great information in 10 mins! I want to make the wall opposite from the TV an accent wall. I was really surprised at how great the colour green is—might use it and the heck with tone on tone! Hehe. Cheers, from Toronto.

  12. Extremely helpful! I'm a first time DIY furniture finisher and I wanted to add a stencil to the top of my white table. I feel a little more confident I can do it now!

  13. Thank you so much! My dad painted my walls pink and green. He did it with a sprayer or airbrush because I wanted them to fade into eachother (pink on the bottom with green on top). Since he did that my walls are pretty textured and difficult to use stencils on. This video really helped. I'm doing quotes and art designs on my walls. To anyone who is doing something similar I would recommend acrylic paint. If you mess up you can easily wipe it off with water. Very convenient.

  14. Excellent tutorial, Greg Swisher! Speaking from experience, your tips will prevent a lot of frustration. I would only add that if someone hasn't stenciled before, first try it on paper.

  15. Very helpful video, Greg! Where did you get that stencil? Also, do you have any videos on how to ensure proper patterning when repeating the stencil across the wall?

  16. I usually use the same color paint as the wall and paint over my stencil very lightly 1st, wait till it drays usually only a couple minutes then go over the stencil again in the paint color I want my stencil and there is NO BLEEDING through at all.

  17. Any Tips on how to stencil on Shiplap? What kind of paint is better for stained ShipLap – Chalk Paint or some other? Any prep work necessary?

  18. Thank you for this video, but I have a quick question. I make my own designs and and turn them into stencils but the only thing I have to paint with is Krylon spray paint cans and Design Master spray paint cans. Would that be good enough or would that not look as good?

  19. Great video!
    But I still have 2 questions..
    1. Do I have to apply the stencil adhesive every time before I place it on the wall or just once?

    2. I think that I would feel more comfortable using a foam pouncer for such project. Do you think it will work and what paint should I use? 🙂


  20. My walls are not smooth, there are textured. I love to use the athena allover stencil, I am in love with it, I am not a big fan of tree branches as you suggested. Any advice how to get the best results or should I just skip it?. I like to use similar designs for all my rooms.

  21. When giving advice and tips it can be off-putting when you speak to your audience in a demeaning manner, making people feel stupid; as if they should already know the information you are presenting.

  22. Hi, I want to stencil my dresser top, should that bleed, since its not upright? Secondly, how do i know how much paint i need to load off the brush/roller?

  23. you avoid bleeding by first bleeding the stencil with your base color. by going over the stencil first you fill in all the holes where Ur paint would bleed. then go over with color you intend to use you can do this while taping for amazingly straight lines.

  24. Thank you!! The first try it bleed horribly and then after watching your video I immediately went out to buy a roller just like yours and the results were perfect… so thank you so much!

  25. These tutorials are great and I wanna thank you very much. They don't address any kind of eco-friendly habits such as don't use plastic plates or paper towels. Use reusable household items such as cookie trays or plates. The paint comes right off. and when you off load the paint you can do it onto a piece of rustic wood to reuse for another project or offload it back on to the plate where the paint is. Less wasted paint. And use a towel instead of a paper towel that can be washed and reused.

  26. yasss folk art! I did a double wall acrylic mural with folk art & its cheap @walmart! Like he said it does dry fast so spray paint lightly with water every once in a while if used to do murals defiently if you blend!

  27. I am a beginner to this, so just wanted to say thank you so much for this clear and helpful video. No distracting music graphics. Just helpful advice. I can stencil with confidence now.

  28. Cutting Edge Stencils has the BEST, high-quality stencils that can be used on any surface! Check out all of our easy to use stencils here:

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