How to Align Repeating Patterns and Overlay Stencils
In this How to Stencil Tutorial, we will explain how to easily stencil an entire wall, floor, ceiling, curtain, piece of furniture or any other large stenciling project with only one allover repeating pattern stencil template. We will also share techniques for stenciling in tight areas, such as stenciling in corners or along crown molding.
For this tutorial, we used American Acrylic paint and our Tranquil Branches Allover Wall Stencil template.
What is an Allover, Repeating Pattern Stencil?
Allover, repeating pattern stencils are used to stencil multiple repeats of the same stencil design across a broad surface area. At Oak Lane Studio, our allover stencil templates feature four small, triangular cutouts in the outer corners of the stencil template. These marks are called "Registration Marks" because they allow you to register or mark the stencil template's exact location as you stencil.
After you finish stenciling one repeat of the stencil pattern, you reposition the stencil next to the stenciled design for another repeat of the stencil pattern. The registration marks that you stenciled make it possible to precisely realign the stencil template with previously stenciled repeats, so that the same stencil pattern can be seamlessly replicated across an entire surface. With allover stencils you can repeat the same stencil pattern in any direction, up, down or to the side.
Supplies for Stenciling Repeating Patterns:
- An allover repeating, pattern stencil template
- Frog Painter's Tape
- Americana Acrylic Paint or (Chalk Paint for furniture stenciling, Fabric Painting Medium for fabric stenciling or Patio Paint for outdoor stenciling projects)
- Repositionable Spray Adhesive
- Stencil Brush and/or High Density Foam Roller*
- Carpenter's Level
How to Stencil Repeating Patterns:
Begin your stenciling project as usual by cleaning the surface you will stencil on and preparing to stencil. For more project specific instructions, visit our Stenciling Project Tutorials gallery. This How To Stencil tutorial will start off when you first position the stencil template.
How to Position the Stencil Template and Tape Registration Marks
To position the stencil on the wall, floor, fabric, furniture, ceiling, etc. we recommend using our Repositionable Adhesive Spray, which will enable you to remove and reposition the stencil after you have finished stenciling one repeat of the stencil pattern. You can also use painter's tape to hold the stencil in place (we like Frog Painter's Tape because it is very gentle and takes off less paint when you remove it) or both. Just make sure the stencil is securely affixed to the surface you will stencil until you are done stenciling.
If you are stenciling on fabric, be sure to secure the fabric to a hard surface, such as cardboard or a table. For more specific instructions see our How to Stencil on Fabric tutorial.
Place four small pieces of Frog Painter's Tape underneath the four registration marks in the corners of the stencil template (these are the small triangular cutouts). In the image below, you can see where we taped underneath the registration marks.
If you are stenciling on a wall, we recommend using a carpenter's level to position the stencil to ensure that the stencil template is evenly parallel to the floor. In the image below, you can see the green tape underneath a registration mark in the bottom right corner of the stencil template. Put a piece of tape under each registration mark.
Once the stencil is in place, tape along the outer edges of the stencil template with Frog Painter's Tape. Press all the stencil design cutout firmly into the surface beneath the stencil, making sure that no edges are sticking up.
Begin stenciling with the Dry Brush Technique (this is the best way to avoid paint bleed). Make sure to dot some paint through the registration marks so that the marks are clearly visible on the painter's tape.
How to Reposition the Stencil Template Along a Wall
Once you have finished stenciling one repeat of the stencil design it is time to reposition the stencil template. Wait until the paint has dried completely before removing the stencil template from the wall, floor, ceiling, curtain or furniture you are stenciling.
To remove the stencil, gently peel off the frog tape around the stencil edges and carefully roll the stencil template off the surface you are stenciling. Be sure to leave the four piece of tape that are stenciled with the registration marks on the surface you were just stenciling.
Now, realign the stencil two of the registration marks on one side of the design you just stenciled. You can realign the stencil above, below or to the side of the area you just stenciled, so long as the stencil is straight and even. If you are stenciling on a wall, you may want to pull out the carpenter's level again to check that the stencil template is perfectly even.
Realign two registration marks on one side of the stencil template with two registration marks on one side of the pattern you just stenciled. Place the two triangular marks in the stencil template directly over the two triangular registration marks you stenciled onto the Frog Painter's Tape. Once you are sure the two stencil patterns are aligned properly, press the stencil template firmly into the surface you will stencil.
Again, put piece of Frog Tape underneath the other two registration marks and tape the outer edges of the stencil template.
You will not need to respray the stencil every time you reposition it. The stencil should stay sticky after the first spray. If the stencil loses some of its tackiness, it could be because dust and debris have collected on top of the adhesive. Use a damp cloth to remove the dust from the back of the stencil (sticky side) and the wall. If the stencil still does not stick, you can respray it.
(You can see the pieces of green tape where we marked and aligned the stencil as we moved it along the wall using the registration marks on the stencil).
Continue to stencil, remove the stencil and realign the registration marks until you have stenciled the entire wall, floor, ceiling, curtain or furniture that you are stenciling on.
How to Stencil in Wall Corners
When stenciling a wall, stenciling the corners and edges can be a bit tricky. To stencil a corner, start by putting frog painter's tape along the side of the wall opposite the one you will stencil first. This tape will prevent any paint smudges from getting on the side of the corner you are not stenciling.
(Here we pushed and bent the stencil into the corner. If you look closely you can see where the painter's tape is, on the corner opposite the one we will stencil).
Push the stencil as far into the corner as you can, making sure that it is completely flat against the wall. If there is not enough space to stencil a full repeat of the stencil pattern, you can bend the stencil into the corner. Just make sure that the registration marks align properly.
Stencil one side of the corner as you stenciled the rest of the wall. When the paint has completely dried, remove the stencil and the Frog Painter's Tape you place along the other side of the wall. Tape along the side of the wall you just stenciled, and reposition the stencil along the opposite side of the corner. Repeat step 3 until you have stenciled along both sides of the corner.
How to Stencil Along Crown Molding
Stenciling along crown molding, or along the top or bottom of a wall is another place that can be a bit tricky.
To stencil along the top or bottom of a wall, begin by taping off just beneath or above where you want to stencil with Frog Painter's Tape to prevent accidentally paint smudging in places you do not want paint.
The top and bottom edges of the wall is another place you might not have room for a full repeat of the stencil pattern. Again, just like when you stenciled the corners, you can bend the stencil to fit into this smaller space. You do not need to crease the stencil when you bend it, but do make sure that the stencil is full flat against the wall where you will be applying paint.
(It may be easier to stencil the edges with a stencil brush).
Once you are finished, remove the painter's tape very gently, to keep any paint from coming off with the tape.
And that is how you stencil large areas with allover, repeating pattern stencils! For more DIY home décor stencil project tutorials check out our Stencil Project Tutorials page or our Stenciling Blog. Happy Stenciling!
Larger home décor stenciling projects, such as wall stenciling, floor or ceiling stenciling, curtain stenciling, border stenciling and furniture stenciling, can seem like an intimidating amount of work. Big stenciling projects are actually much easier than you might expect, and of course loads of fun!
Even if you are stenciling across a broad surface area (i.e. a wall, floor, ceiling, patio, curtains or furniture), you only need one stencil template to stencil the entire surface. Allover, Repeating Pattern Stencils make it easy to replicate the same stencil design across a wall, floor, ceiling, or curtain and transform large home décor stenciling projects into easy, budget-friendly DIY home improvements that anyone can do.
*A note on our stenciling supplies:
If you are stenciling with a painter roller we strongly recommend using a High Density Foam Roller. As we explained in our post "How to Stencil without Paint Bleed", the key to stenciling applying paint in many thin layers. Stenciling with too much paint will cause paint to bleed under the stencil template and blur the stenciled design. High Density Foam Rollers absorb less paint than regular paint rollers and are better for stenciling.