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Good Old Fashioned Porch-Stenciling Party!

I ascribe to the Grace Adler philosophy — everything does sound like more fun if you add “Good Old Fashioned” at the beginning and “Party” at the end!

So, lets raise the roof while we get our stencil on!!!

No? Will not attend? Damn.

I guess I’ll have to party alone… wouldn’t be the first time… ;->

Here’s our freshly-painted porch.

If you don’t remember how we got here, click here.

Ready? Cool.

Great space, but needs some definition. Most people would add a rug. We are not most people.

Here are our problems with porch rugs:

They’re expensive.


They get dirty.

They slide around.

They’re expensive.


We trip on them.

They’re expensive.


We like unexpected touches.

They’re expensive.

So… we decided to go another way.

Since we had about half a quart of leftover Rustoleum redwood paint — the accent color we used on the rest of the porch — we hopped on board the stenciling train.

I grabbed a pack of plain stencil pages from the craft store for $4, then broke out my blue sharpie, ruler & box cutter. (Would have used a pen knife, but couldn’t find one, so… meh. My design is super simple, so I’m not too worried about it.)

Then I measured & marked for my cuts.

I’m trying to replicate a simple jute rug, so I measured the width of each floorboard, then chose my measurements to fit that space. My stencils ended up being 4×4 inches square. That way, each square will fit nicely on one plank with no overlapping into the cracks between the floorboards.

As for the pattern itself, I chose a series of straight lines 1/4-inch-thick each, with a 1/2-inch line in the center.

I only cut two, because I figure I can only paint with one at a time anyway. (But I like to have a spare.) I suppose I could have cut a bunch of them & tape them into position before starting my paint job, thereby allowing my Good Old Fashioned Stenciling Party rock a little faster… but, meh. It sounds like a lot of work. I’m just gonna go one square at a time.

But before I go all crazy, I needed to give Dan a visual. It makes him far less nervous if he can get SOME idea of how the finished project will look.

Plus, by “chalking” my stencil first, I could make sure we like the size & placement before we start, as well as making sure that the border is wide enough. (If it’s not, our stencils could look crowded into it, too sparse inside it, and/or overlap each other or the border.)

So I loosely sketched out the corners, then used my stencils to draw in the pattern on a few areas to make sure everything “fit”…

In so doing, I realized I wanted to make it bigger than I originally thought I would…

Tip: Look before you leap: Whenever possible, find a way to “sketch out” what you want to accomplish in the actual project area before diving headlong into a project. 

The modification was simple — I just wiped off the chalk “corners” with a wet rag & moved them to where we like them.

Of course, before veering off course, I grabbed Dan for a quick nod of approval…

He thought the idea was “aces”

So, I started taping in the border.

The paint will need to dry overnight before I can get safely inside it to fill in the stencil portion, but just seeing it all taped off got me excited again.

Johnny, play me something with a bouncy beat!!!

Taping off is definitely my least favorite part of painting, especially when I’m doing some kind of border effect. I never feel like I can get a straight line or a sharp corner. After 30 years of doing this, these are the best tips I’ve come up with for taping:

1) Start with the corners: Fold the end of your tape over to create as straight a line as possible.

Then place the corners, holding them in place with more tiny tape anchors. (The more heavily you tape, the harder it will be to peel off.)

2) Do the fold over trick again, and stick the straight edge right along the straight edge of your “placed” corner tape. Straightness in this step is critical.

3) Once your tape is anchored, gently roll out a length of tape approximately 1/3 the total distance of the space you need to tape. Make sure the tape is pulling straight & taut. A roll of tape started this way will, by nature, unroll in a perfectly straight line. It is the person doing the taping that causes it to go askew by pulling/adhering it unevenly.

Once you’ve pulled a nice, straight length of tape, slowly lower it toward your surface and adhere it lightly. Then check for twisty or crinkled spots in the tape. If it’s anything less than perfectly flat once adhered, pull it back up slowly and gently & try, try again.

Tip: Trust the straight-flatness of the tape as your gauge. Do not try to create a straight line by following an edge on your surface. Your eyes will deceive you. I don’t know why, but they will. It’s DIY Murphy’s Law.

Also, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, use painter’s tape. Masking tape IS NOT “just as good” — it will mess your sh*t up. Painter’s tape is specifically designed to come off easily. Masking tape is not. You’ve been warned.

Once we were taped in & good to go, I just hit the area between the tape with my paint…

making sure to get in those cracks.

Then, before the paint had a chance to dry, I carefully peeled up the tape.

And viola!


That was yesterday. I’ve now allowed it to dry overnight, so once I get this post up, I’m headed out to start filling in the stencil part — I’ll get an update post up tonight 🙂



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2 thoughts on “Good Old Fashioned Porch-Stenciling Party!

  1. This is genius. Never thought of stenciling a porch before.

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