Guest Room: Beginnings of a Stenciled Wall

We’re back to share what the heck we were photographing when we showed you this little sneak peek last week.

Map & Stencil

This my friends is a glimpse of the wall in our guest bedroom closet! The last time you saw the closet area in our guest/craft room, it looked like this.  Sure, the white trim and walls were a step in the right direction, but the whole space was lacking pizzaz.

Glossy White Trim

Since we’re planning on leaving the closet open as a desk area, we explored wallpaper options to make this little space pop.  We realized very quickly, however, that the wallpapers we liked the best were way out of our price range.  I also considered purchasing a stencil, but those can be pretty pricey too (and remember we’ve challenged ourselves to cut costs in this room as much as possible).

I was very influenced by the painted wallpaper Emily Jones created in her office and thought, in a closet-sized space, hand-painting the walls was definitely something I could tackle.  The only question then was, what design would I paint?

After lots of stencil and wallpaper googling, I started sketching.  I wanted the design to have curves and interest, so almost immediately the herringbone, chevron and puzzle piece designs I’d sketched were vetoed.  I liked the idea of interlocking circles, but worried that it would be tricky to fill in the overlapping sections with paint consistently.

Brainstorming1 Brainstorming2

I wanted the design to be unique, so I started doodling one of my favorite typography characters, curly brackets.  From there, the design morphed into the doodles you see in the second photo below.

Brainstorming3 Brainstorming4

When I finally drew the shape to scale and cut it out (paper snowflake style), it became…

1/4 Stencil Paper 1/2 Stencil Paper


Stencil Cut Paper

I cut out several of these shapes to see how they would fit together en masse and was really happy the result.

Previewing Design

The next step was to create a cardboard template by tracing my paper pattern onto a leftover bit of cereal box and cutting it out.

Stencil Traced Cardboard

Stencil Cut

Some people might feel the need to measure and map out the pattern on their walls when tackling a project like this.  If my wall segments had been bigger, I might have done that, but for this project I just eyeballed it.

I started my pattern in the center of the closet opening, directly above the center of the desk.  I used the desk and the shelf above as reference points as I traced the pattern onto the walls.

First Stencil Placement

Using a pencil, I traced the cardboard pattern onto the walls, leaving gaps where I couldn’t fit one whole shape (I came back and added these later).

First Tracing

Although my pattern was basically symmetrical (since I folded the paper in quarters and cut it out all at once), I still wrote the word “up” with an arrow at the top of my shape to stay as consistent as possible.

Tracing Stencil

Pretty soon, I had most of the main wall above the desk traced!

First Wall Traced

Then it was time to go back with the paper stencil to fill in the gaps where my cardboard stencil wouldn’t fit.

Paper Stencil Corner

Paper Stencil Shelf

By a VERY happy coincidence, not only did my rows of stencils start perfectly at a whole or half stencil just under the shelf, but they also ended perfectly at a whole or half stencil at the baseboard too!

Shelf Stencil Baseboard Stencil

You wouldn’t believe it, but remember the outlet we added near the bottom right hand corner of the closet? The stencil fit perfectly around our new outlet too! I couldn’t have planned the layout that well if I’d tried!

Outlet Stencil

Amazingly, all the edges and rows of stencils stayed very straight and worked out quite well on the side walls of the closet.

Right Side Stencil Traced

Up above the shelf, I started on a whole or half stencil (depending on the row I was continuing from below).  I continued filling in the gaps and, believe it or not, ended with a whole or half stencil at the ceiling too!

Stencil above Shelf

A big piece of advice if you’re taking on a project like this – turn up the tunes and welcome any company (even if its your dog napping RIGHT where you need to be standing) because it can take awhile!

Molly Helps

To be honest, I was really nervous that I’d signed myself up for too big of a project as I traced the stencil. The tracing alone took me about 3 hours (over a couple different sessions), and I was worried that going back over the lines with paint would take FOREVER. With a deep breath, I opened the paint can and started working…

Breaking Out the Paint

Curious to hear how long it took to paint this bad boy? Can’t wait to see how it turns out? Check back tomorrow for the closet stencil reveal!!

You can also see everything we’ve done in the guest room to date by clicking here.  Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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