Scared of Stenciling

As I mentioned last week, I’m planning to refinish a big ol’ wood media cabinet for my office. Though we did buy it used, it wasn’t all that cheap, and I’m kind of terrified to ruin it. I should have started it this weekend, but a) I’m afraid, and b) I spent the majority of the weekend attending and then recovering from Music Midtown.

So, as I wait for the courage, I’m thinking more about what I’d like to do to it. Originally, I thought about adding O’verlays to the doors, but I’d have to get a custom size, and that’d be more than I’d like to spend. The other option is a stencil, but stencils are intimidating. I was never good with them as a child, and I wouldn’t expect to have any stenciling skills nowadays.

But when I saw this image today, the inspiration just hit me and I felt like I had to stencil this mother.

via Marcus Design

How pretty is that gold design? I love the way the semicircles mimic the demilune shape. I started thinking about my Cricut, which is a cutting machine that I spent a pretty penny on for my wedding. I spent extra to get the largest one available at the time, but never ended using its full cutting area of 12″x24″. You know what that giant cutting area is great for? … Making big stencils. I can do this.

I wanted a fairly simple design that would reflect the boxy shape of the cabinet. And luckily, one of my favorite designs just so happens to be overlapping squares. Have you guys seen my blog’s background? Yeah – that one.

I’ve wanted these West Elm chairs for ages. (I’m watching you, Craigslist!)

via Style at Home

I found a similar wall stencil on Etsy.

from royaldesignstencils

And I feel pretty confident that the design is well-suited to cabinet doors, based on this credenza from my new favorite dream store.

from Room Service

I dove right in and made some squares in Illustrator, and then imported it into my Cricut software, Sure Cuts A Lot. It looks pretty promising, I think!

I’ll just hook my Cricut up to my computer, load in some posterboard, and hit “Cut,” then I’m in business. I’m feeling pretty good about this, but I rarely take action without creating some sort of mock-up. You know what that means, y’all. Bust out the excellent Photoshop skills again!

God, I’m talented. By the way, it has been hinted that my genius mock-ups look more like a product of MS Paint than Photoshop. Well, friends, you are wrong. I work on a Mac. I don’t have MS Paint. So there.

Before I take a paintbrush to my cabinet, of course, I’ll definitely need to practice stenciling somewhere else. I’m thinking about making something with metallic gold chevron, like this amazing tray that the beautiful Sylvie of silver lining pinned a couple weeks ago.

from up in the air somewhere

Thoughts, friends? Does anyone know if stenciling is hard for naturally sloppy and impatient people? Got any great stenciling tutorials to share? Help a sister out!

EDIT: Perfect timing! Young House Love just posted a fantastic stenciling tutorial – complete with video – this morning! Thank you, blog gods.


  • thanks, cutie, for the sweet shout out! and i might have to hire you for some stencil tutorials so we can both make our own chevron trays…. 🙂

    • If I can figure this out, I’ll definitely put up a tutorial! Unless, of course, I totally copy someone else, in which case … I’ll link to it? Heheh. 🙂

  • Have you thought about using gold foil/leaf? I’m afraid of overspray whenever I spraypaint something. And acrylics might not have that “Bam! I’m SHINY!” quality you seem to be looking for. And P.S. those west elm chairs have a knock off plan on Ana White’s website, got anybody handy in your life??

    • I’m using liquid leaf on another project right now, but it’s kind of watery, so I’m afraid it would leak underneath the stencil. Is it possible to stencil with actual gold leaf?? How would one do that? That would be cool!
      Also … OMG to the knock off West Elm chairs! I actually begged Brad to get a Kreg Jig after I saw one of your posts about it, but he hasn’t done it yet. Do you think that’s a tough plan??

  • Hi! I just read your comment on Things That Sparkle. Thank you. I got my pencil holder from Target. Yup, that Target.



    • AH! That has got to be one of my very favorite answers to “where did you get … ?” questions! Thanks for getting back to me — you can probably see from this post why I love it so much. 🙂

  • I love this pattern, I want the West Elm day bed with this pattern. I’m awful at stenciling. I’ve only tried once and use painter’s tape, but the paint leeked through. If you want to use painters tape for it, I heard froggy tape is better than the blue kind.

  • I adore the gold circular stencil! I’m toying with stenciling the wall behind our headboard in our Master, but I just can’t pull the trigger.

  • Cher

    Stenciling has gotten my attention, too! Check out Designamour for the most awesome stenciling you will ever see. Find the part about going to Marrakesh to stencil. Amazing!!
    Good luck! It’s fun and it’s hard to quit once you start! Thus your comment about stenciling til the wee hours!

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