How to Stencil Reclaimed Wood Bohemian Wall Art

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How to Stencil Reclaimed Wood Bohemian Wall Art

Welcome to another How to Stencil DIY Project Tutorial from Oak Lane Studio. In this DIY home décor project tutorial, we will show you how to stencil wooden pallet wall art with our Boho Medallion wall painting stencil template. In this DIY stenciling tutorial we will cover basic how to stencil techniques, as well as how to stencil on wooden pallets, how to stencil DIY wall art and how to repeat stencil patterns. 

You can easily paint your own wooden pallet wall art with any stencil template or paint color(s) you like. 

Supplies for Stenciling DIY Wooden Wall Art

How to Prep Wood for Stenciling

The first thing you need to do before stenciling on wood is smooth the surface of the wood by sanding it. This is an important step for preventing paint bleed, (when paint slips beneath the stencil template and blurs the stenciled design). Crags and bumps in the wood are places where paint can snag, pool and slip beneath the stencil template, sand these away before you stencil.

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We used an electric sander to smooth our wooden board before we stenciled it, but you can also use low grit sandpaper to sand your wooden board. If you are fond of a rough, weathered wood aesthetic, don’t worry. You can easily create a weathered and aged wood look after stenciling your wall art.

Once you have sanded your wood, use a damp sponge or cloth to clean off the dust and dirt. Dust will prevent the stencil template from adhering to the wood. Wait for the wood to dry before positioning the stencil template.

Stenciling Tip:

If you don't have reclaimed wood, you can easily stain new wood to look like reclaimed wood. Learn how to make an easy DIY vinegar stain to age new wood in our How to Stencil an Aged Wood Porch Sign tutorial.

How to Prep the Stencil Template to Stencil Wall Art

In this step we will show you how to prepare the stencil template and how to center the stencil on the wooden board without measuring.

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First, spray the back of the stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive. Do this in a well ventilated area away from the wooden board you will stencil on (you only want the back of the stencil to be tacky). Hold the spray can 6-8 inches away from the stencil template, and keep your mouth closed while spraying. Wait 30 to 60 seconds for the stencil template to become tacky before positioning it on your wooden board.

DIY wooden pallet art

While you wait for the stencil to become tacky, figure out where you want to position the stencil on the wood. There are many ways you can stencil your wooden wall art. For our wooden pallet, we stenciled one medallion in the center of the board, and four partial stencil repeats on the corners of the wood for a framing effect. You can also stencil an asymmetric design and repeat your stencil pattern across the wood as many times as you like. Our wall stencil templates are designed to be reused and repeated. If you want to stencil a full repeating pattern across the entire board, see our DIY tutorial on how to stencil all-over repeating patterns.easy DIY wooden wall art project how to center the stencil template how to center the stencil template without measuring

An easy way to center the stencil template on your wooden board (without measuring) is to use a piece of string or twine to position the stencil template. Place the stencil template on one side of the wooden board, lined up with the edge of the wooden board. Run a piece of string/twine from the other edge of the wood to the stencil template, cut the string to this length. Now, fold the string in half and lay it perpendicular to one side of the wood. Position the stencil template at the end of the string.

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Place the folded string on the other side of the stencil to check that the stencil template is the same distance from the other side of the wooden pallet.

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Now, position the stencil template on the wooden board and firmly press all of the stencil design cutouts into the wood until the stencil is completely flat. Tape along the outer edges of the stencil template with Frog Painter’s Tape. This will help protect the wood around the stencil template from stray paint smudges. You are now ready to stencil your wooden wall art!

How to Stencil Wooden Wall Art

Stenciling is not the same as painting and a key difference is the amount of paint you need to stencil. Stenciling is done with a dry brush (or roller) using the "Dry Brush Technique". (And yes, we really do mean a dry brush). Stenciling with too much paint on your brush will cause paint to seep underneath the stencil template and blur the stenciled design. This is called "Paint Bleed" and is the most common mistake made when stenciling.

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Before you stencil with a brush, use the "Dot Test" to check that you have the right amount of paint on your stencil brush. If you are stenciling with a paint roller, use the "Finger Print" Test described below. 

 The Dot Test For Stenciling:

How to check that you have the right amount of paint to stencil

  1. Pour some paint on a paper plate.
  2. Swirl your stencil brush in the paint.
  3. Dab all excess paint onto a paper towel or rag. (We recommend holding a roll of paper towels in one hand and dabbing the stencil brush onto the roll).
  4. Make a dot of paint on a scrap piece of paper. Brush the dot with your finger. If the paint smudges you have too much paint for stenciling. Repeat step 2. If the paint dot doesn't smudge, you have a dry brush and are ready to stencil!

The "Finger Print" test is used to check that you have the right amount of paint to stencil with a paint roller. We highly recommend stenciling with a High Density Foam Roller because it will absorb less paint and is less likely to cause paint bleed. To stencil your wall art with a foam paint roller, roll the foam roller in your paint, and roll off as much excess paint as you can on the painting tray or some cardboard. Then, press your finger into the foam roller, if paint wells up around your finger you have too much paint for stenciling. Continue rolling out excess paint until you have a dry roller. 

Once you have a dry brush or roller you are ready to stencil your wooden pallet!

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Begin by swirling or stippling paint into the stencil template cutouts (brush strokes are not used for stenciling). At first it may seem that the paint color is too faint. That is normal, resist the urge to immediately add more paint to your brush or roller. With stenciling, color will gradually accumulate in many thin layers of paint. 3 to 4 coats of paint is normal, but you might need more depending on the paint you are using.

As you stencil, you can lift up the corner of the stencil template to see how the color is coming along. Because you are applying color in multiple faint coats of paint, you can choose how saturated you want the color to be. If you prefer a subtle design, stencil fewer layers of paint. If you want a vibrant pop of color, stencil more layers for a bolder look. You can even create an ombre effect by stenciling more layers of paint in one area.

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When you are satisfied with the color, wait for the paint to dry completely before gently peeling the stencil template and the frog tape off your wooden pallet.

How to Reposition the Stencil Template on the Wooden Pallet

You can repeat the stencil design as many times as you like on your wooden pallet.

You don't need to respray the stencil template with Repositionable Spray Adhesive every time you reposition it. If the stencil template starts to lose its stickiness, it is probably because dust and dirt have collected on the back of the stencil template and are covering the adhesive. Use a slightly damp cloth to clean the back of the stencil template and it should become tacky again.

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Position the stencil template as you did before, and stencil each repeat with the dry brush technique. If you want to align your repeated stencil patterns, or stencil the same pattern all over your wooden pallet, see our blog post on how to stencil all-over repeating patterns

Once you have repeated the stencil design in all 4 corners your wall art is complete! Mount it to your wall by attaching frame wire to the back of the wooden pallet, or try leaning it against the wall in an empty corner.

How to Seal the Stenciled Wall Art (Optional)

If you are going to put your stenciled wooden pallet outside, we recommend sealing the paint with an acrylic sealer. This will protect the wood and the stenciled design from weathering. 

To seal the wood, spray the wooden pallet with either Americana Matte Finish Acrylic Sealer (for a matte look) or Americana Gloss Finish Acrylic Sealer for a shiny, polished wood finish. 

How to Clean the Stencil Template

Last step! Our stencils are washable and reusable! But they do require a little care to keep their fresh appearance. After you finish stenciling, always wash and dry your stencil, paint brushes and paint rollers to keep them fresh and reusable. 

For this DIY stenciling project, we stenciled with water-based acrylic paint which is exceptionally easy to clean off of stencil templates. To clean the stencil template, first soak it in hot water for five minutes, this will loosen any paint that has dried on the stencil. Then wipe away all the remaining paint with a cloth and store the stencil template for future DIY stenciling projects. Read our How to Clean Stencils FAQ for more details on how to clean stencils.

Watch our How to Stencil Reclaimed Wood Boho Wall Art Video Tutorial:

This How to Stencil Wooden Pallet Wall Art DIY project tutorial is a fun, easy and budget friendly DIY home décor project. You can stencil reclaimed wooden pallets or paint any reclaimed wood surface to create a lovely, DIY upcycled wood décor. This is a really easy, budget-friendly DIY home décor hack and for learning how to paint wooden pallets. 

Painted wooden pallets are incredibly versatile home décor accents. Whether you want to hang reclaimed wooden pallet wall art in your home, or paint a reclaimed wooden pallet headboard (DIY headboard painting project hack!), there are so many ways you can upgrade your home with stenciled wooden pallets.

Learn more about how to stencil your home and create beautiful home décor in whatever style you like. Visit our Stenciling Blog, or Video Gallery for how to stencil tutorials and projects tips. Browse our home décor stenciling projects Photo Gallery for ideas and inspiration on how to use stencil templates to decorate your home.

Shop our beautiful selection of DIY home décor stencil templates today!

Send us a picture of your DIY home décor stenciling projects or share your DIY stenciling projects with us on social media! We love to see stencils in action.