A Room Makeover Guide for French Fleur de Lis Armoire Stencils

Give furniture a timeless look with a reverse tone-on-tone stencil pattern. Produce an elegant effect by stenciling in reverse with ivory paint over a tan background. Rather than filling in an open stencil with paint, use shape cut-outs to mask off designs. Apply paint over shapes, then remove cutouts to reveal design. Several sizes of fleur-de-lis, a traditional symbol of French royalty that resembles a stylized iris or lily, make a strikingly simple statement when used with this technique.

Reverse-Stencil Armoire

1. Using a small foam roller, base-coat your armoire or furniture piece with Wilmington Tan paint. Let dry.

2. Our stencil shapes came in a pack of 10 assorted sizes. We used them to create a matching balanced arrangement of large and small shapes on each pair of armoire doors (see photo, opposite page). Purchase two stencil kits so you have enough shapes to lay out a whole panel at once. Photocopy stencils and cut out shapes to help plan design layout. Arrange shapes on armoire doors, taping in place. Make sure arrangement is balanced on both doors by checking placement with a yardstick level. Mark shape placement lightly with a pencil.

3. Use painters tape to edge borders, and cover areas of the furniture you wish to protect from paint splatter. (We painted the armoire doors' beveled edges with ivory to frame the center areas. We also painted the edges of the armoire top with ivory.)

4. Spray adhesive onto backs of cutouts (see photo A). You should be able to reposition a cutout several times before reapplying adhesive. Replace photocopies with cutouts.

5. Secure cutouts to cabinet in desired locations (see photo B).

6. Pour a small amount of ivory paint onto a foam plate. Dip the bristle tips
of a 2" paintbrush into the ivory and brush off most of the paint on plate edge. To dry brush, sweep bristle tips over stencil in a diagonal pattern (see photo C). Let dry. Practice dry brush technique on a scrap board before working on the furniture piece.

7. Repeat dry brushing process on each door panel.

8. Dry brush ivory paint over masked borders and frames.

9. Remove shape cutouts and tape (see photo D). After paint dries, apply matte sealer to protect finish.


  • Armoire or other large furniture piece
  • Small foam roller
  • Benjamin Moore flat latex paint in Wilmington Tan and Hepplewhite Ivory
  • Fleur de Lis Faux Finishing Silhouettes
  • Yardstick level
  • Painters tape
  • Stencil Adhesive Spray
  • 2" paintbrush
  • Foam plate
  • Matte Sealer

Project Courtesy of: Country Sampler DECORATING IDEAS DECORATE WITH PAINT January 2005 Issue PHOTOGRAPHY Brian Nightengale PROJECT AND STYLING Marge Jackson TEXT Lisa Sloan