June 11, 2013

My Stenciled Curtains

Check it out... I finished a project-- and during summer! 

 If you've ever wanted to know how to stencil on fabric... here's the low-down:

I used the Indian Paisley Damask Stencil from Royal Design Studio Stencils. I knew I wanted to use this one and talked about that here. The stencil is pretty huge and the mylar that it's made from is super thick which makes it easy to move from place to place. (A thin stencil that large would have been difficult to line up the pattern correctly.)

I got lucky and scored these curtains from a friend who didn't want them anymore. They are 100% cotton and I believe cotton twill. They are pretty thick, which I think it's important. I had planned on using a drop cloth, (as seen here, here and here), but the drop cloth that I bought was a beige color, and I couldn't find a white or off-white one at Lowes or Home Depot.

I just used matte latex paint from Sherwin Williams. I think you can get special fabric paint that washes, but let's face it, I'm not going to wash my curtains. NOTE: the colors appear darker on the fabric. For reference, I chose Seaworthy, and you can see it looks almost dark navy. The paint is a bit stiff, but I don't plan on snuggling my curtains, so no problem.

Let's just start by saying read the instructions. Don't lose the instructions. Instructions are good. And helpful. And can save you a lot of time. In my case approximately 2 1/2 hours. 

I did a practice run with a roller (a thick fluffy one), a foam flat bottom round 'brush' (not really a brush at all.) When I used the thick fluffy roller, it bled through the stencil and made the image all puffy and distorted, so instead I used the flat bottom foam thing. Which worked fine, but took FOREVER. 3 1/2 hours to be exact-- that was just for one panel. It was tedious and boring, and I'm impatient, so seemed extra horrible. The next day I got smart, and went to the store to look for different tools. I found a small foam roller, and that made all the difference. I flew through the other panel in less than one hour!

Couple things to note: it can be messy. I got paint under the stencil, and when I went to move the stencil around, it left trails of paint. Also, where the hem is, the design got globby. I also didn't do a perfect job of keeping the fabric taut, so sometimes the pattern didn't match up. Did any of this matter in the end? Absolutely not. I thought I was screwed at first when I got paint smeared all over the second time I laid the stencil down, but as I kept going you just didn't even notice it. And I am one to notice these things. When people say "you don't even notice it, I'm usually thinking-- I see it. I notice it. But there's some kind of magic that happens with the pattern, and you don't notice the mistakes. 

The day after I finished, I found the instructions and sure enough, it says very clearly-- FOAM ROLLER. And all kinds of other helpful hints. 

In the end, YES-- this was a good and successful DIY and would have been even better had I read the instructions and saved some time (and my back!) I will definitely be stenciling something again, and think doing walls will be even easier than fabric.

Oh--- and if you want to try a stencil project on your own, stay tuned! A GIVEAWAY is coming!

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