Think back. Waaaaaay back….. to the time when crayons and coloring books rocked your world. Were you a free spirited renegade who tightly gripped the stub of a broken crayon in your chubby little fist and scribbled energetically back and forth across the pages of your coloring book, paying ZERO attention to the lines or even to the fact that grass is NOT purple!? Or, did you keep all of your crayons color-coded and sharpened so you could apply the most appropriate color perfectly between the outlines of that drawing of a playful puppy?
So, you can probably guess which category I fall into??? Yep, I was that first-born, color-only-between-the-lines-type-person. And yes, I STILL AM. Which is probably why I have been deeply obsessed with stenciling for 30 years now. Stencils have definite edges, stencils have defined outlines, but guess what? I’ve found a way to combine the best of best of both world (definitive outlines AND energetic scribbling) all in one fabulous stencil how-to package and stencil with chalk pens.
Basecoat: It’s ALWAYS best to begin a wall stencil project with a fresh coat of paint, and for this technique I recommend either a good quality latex paint in a flat finish or Chalkboard Paint (if you like that look!). Since we stock and sell Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan on our Royal Design Studio website, I used that here: 2 coats of the Chalk Paint® color Graphite. Whatever paint you use, be sure to allow it to dry for at least 2-3 days before
Stenciling Supplies: Stencil of your choice (my choice was the Large Phoebe’s Tulip allover floral stencil from Royal Design Studio), Chalk Ink Wet Wipe Markers (I used Grape Jelly and Green Tea), and colored pencils and/or General’s Pastel Chalk Pencils in similar colors to the Chalk Ink colors.
Miscellaneous Supplies: Painter’s Tape, Damp Rag, Clear Acrylic Spray Coating (Krylon UV-Resistant Clear used here) Modern Master Dead Flat Varnish, Flocked Foam Roller/Tray
ONE: So, YES, this technique is a super easy as it looks! Truly, all you need to do for the first steps to stencil with Chalk Pens is trace in the outlines of the stencil. The hardest part may be deciding on what color to use. Naturally, “I” used green for the leaves and purple for the tulips but feel free to be a renegade here….
TWO: Trace each element in the stencil pattern in the color of choice before moving the allover pattern stencil. You can see that the stencil has built-in registration areas so it’s easy to align the stencil perfectly to repeat it.
PAUSE + CONSIDER: Now you MAY want to stop here with just then outlines, because it already looks pretty cool! Naw…..keep going. You really want to do that scribbling, don’t you?
THREE: Use Colored Pencils or Pastel Chalk Pencils to color in the design elements. I wanted to use two different colors in the leaves, so ended up using a Chalk Pencil in a lighter green and a Colored Pencil in a darker green. Play with your scribble/strokes going in different angles to mix it up a bit.
CHALK PEN STENCILING TIPS:
Like I said, this is SUPER easy, but I do have a few nuggets of stencil wisdom to share…
- Prime the Chalk Pens by pushing down on the tip on a piece of scrap paper. Once that fresh Chalk Ink starts flowing though, draw a few short lines on your scrap paper to remove the excess-otherwise you may find it bleeding under your stencil.
- Oops! Make a mistake?? Don’t sweat it! Simply wipe it off with a damp cloth and start over.
- The Chalk Pen ink dries very quickly but the pastel pencils CAN smear a bit if you continually drag your hand over it so work left to right if your right-handed and just the opposite if you’re a lefty like me!
FINISHING TOUCH! The Chalk Pen is pretty permanent (as in, very hard to remove) when dry, but the colored and pastel pencil lines will come off a bit when wiped with a damp rag or sponge. If you want to protect this finish for the long term you will need to seal it.
You can use a spray varnish, such as Krylon’s UV-Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating. Just be sure to have plenty of ventilation and protect surrounding against overspray. A better option would be to use a flat water-based varnish, such as Modern Masters Dead Flat Varnish, and roll it on gently with a flocked velour roller. NOTE: Both these options will slightly darken the colored and pastel pencil areas, so go heavier with these and/or use lighter colors. The effect is MUCH less noticeable over lighter colored backgrounds as an option to the black.
So, where else besides walls could you stencil with Chalk Pens? How about a wide picture frame, gift wrapping paper, curtains in a child’s room, or even a piece of furniture. Let us know what you think in the comments below!