The Easiest Way to Stencil on Wood Furniture & Signs
Don’t let your next project be ruined because of paint bleeding through your stencil. In this post, I share easy tips to show you how to stencil on wood perfectly every single time!
Imagine yourself sitting down in front of your favorite Netflix series on a Saturday afternoon for some craft time. You plan on adding a stencil to a stained family antique or even a sign made of reclaimed wood. However, you find it’s super difficult to stencil without paint bleeding through every single time. You end up frustrated and possibly ruin your project!
After LOTS of experimenting, I found the best way to ensure the paint doesn’t bleed through your stencil, giving you great results every time! But with these simple tips, you can use even the most detailed laser stencils without bleedthrough.
LET ME SHOW YOU:
- How to stencil on uneven surfaces like Barnwood
- 5 easy steps to a perfect stencil every time
- The best paint to use for stenciling on wood
- Great sources for reusable stencils
- How to prevent paint bleed on wood signs
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☑️ If you are curious or in a hurry, here is the quick link to my two top supplies for perfect stencils every time: Click Here for the Current Price of Both.
Quick Links to Information in this Post
- 1 The Easiest Way to Stencil on Wood Furniture & Signs
- 2 How to Stencil on Wood Furniture without Bleeding
- 3 The Best Way to Stencil on Wood
- 4 How to Stencil on Wood Furniture without Bleeding – Supplies:
- 5 ☑️ Best Sources for Reusable Stencils for Wood
- 6 How to Stencil on Wood Furniture – The Process:
- 7 RENOVATE YOUR FAITH: God Delights in Your Details
- 8 The Best Way to Paint With Stencils
- 9 ☑️ My All-Time Best Furniture Painting Tips & Tricks (FREE PRINTABLE)
- 10 More Posts Related to The Best Way to Paint with Stencils
- 11 Final Thoughts on The Best Way to Stencil on Wood
- 12 How to Stencil on Wood, YouTube Video:
- 13 How to Stencil on Furniture
How to Stencil on Wood Furniture without Bleeding
On my grandmother’s old dresser (see the full reveal here), I decided that I wanted to stencil lace onto the side of every drawer. My grandma was a seamstress and as I mention in the video, I specifically remember her sewing fancy lace on the hems of dresses. I even have a container of some of her old lace as a keepsake. Because of this special memory, I wanted to add a lace stencil on each drawer of her old dresser.
Can You Stencil Over Stained Wood?
Adding a stencil to stained wood is not an easy feat. For one thing, you can’t touch up mistakes with paint as you could on a painted piece of furniture or sign.
The wood on the sides of the drawers was pretty old and had minor water damage making it uneven and cracked in spots. I wanted to leave the sides of the drawers in their original state so that would mean I had to get the stencil right the first time, without any paint bleed.
What made this process a little more difficult was the fact that the stencil I chose was SO DETAILED. I think I probably picked the most ornate laser stencil in existence. Detailed laser stencils are more prone to bleedthrough, unfortunately, but fortunately, there are some easy stencil hacks to help you get great results on your next paint project!
The Best Way to Stencil on Wood
Because I tend to overdo things, I did a lot of experimenting with every stencil hack I could find. Then, when I discovered the ones that worked best, I found out which ones worked well in combination for a perfect stencil every time. I have no doubt that you will have the same success with your own project!
How to Stencil on Wood Furniture without Bleeding – Supplies:
Acrylic Paint or Latex Paint – After I blind-tested and reviewed 24 furniture paints, I recommend Benjamin Moore Advance. You can see the full results for each paint brand here: The Absolute Best Paint for Furniture You can see my favorite acrylic paint here: Acrylic Paint for Stencils
Stencils for Wood Furniture (Reusable) – Here are great options for stencils (see the current prices here). Here is a link to the lace stencil I used on the dresser.
Repositionable Stencil Spray – I highly recommend using this stencil spray (click here for the current price) as others can gunk up your stencils permanently. Ask me how I know!
Mod Podge – You can use any sheen but the matte sheen is ideal. You can find it here: Mod Podge in Matte.
Spouncer – I especially like these spouncers(see the current price here) to use with stencils.
Clear-Coat for Wood (optional) – After lots of experimenting, this is my absolute favorite clear coat for furniture: Varathane Waterbased Polyurethane (click here for the current price).
FREE Must-Have Painting Tips for Furniture – Be sure to download my time-saving tips for painting furniture projects available in my free resource library. You can get them at the bottom of this post.
☑️ Best Sources for Reusable Stencils for Wood
- Stencils for Painting on Wood, Reusable
- Letter Stencils for Painting on Wood
- Laster Stencils for Detailed Projects
- Lace Stencil Used on the Navy Dresser
How to Stencil on Wood Furniture – The Process:
Here is a full step-by-step video showing from start to finish:
Step 1: How to Stencil on Old Barn Wood – Surface Prep
Barn wood, pallet wood, and reclaimed wood are usually very uneven with prominent grain marks or cracks. This rustic look is great but it makes it really hard to stencil on uneven wood without the paint bleeding.
For this reason, you want to prep the surface before you start painting to ensure as few uneven areas as possible when it is time to paint.
When to Sand before Stenciling on Wood (Optional)
If you are adding a stencil to a painted sign or painted furniture piece, be sure to sand before the first coat of paint. (This will also work for new raw wood but not stained wood). Sanding will ensure the wood surface is already as even as possible and the paint can’t bleed through any cracks. Sanding is so easy and I would be lost without my electric stander (when the price goes under $19, you are getting a great deal!). To find out how easy it is to sand signs and furniture, click here: How to Sand in Less Than 5 Minutes.
When to Use Clear Coat Before Stenciling on Wood (Optional)
For paint projects where you want to stencil straight onto barn wood or raw wood, it helps to add a clear coat. Like the dresser drawers on my Grandma’s old dresser, I wanted to leave the sides in their completely natural state. So for that reason, I didn’t want to sand the sides of the drawers.
I brushed on my favorite clear coat (see why here) before stenciling for two reasons. For one thing, it will fill in uneven areas in the wood where paint could bleed through. Also, it seals the wood so that if I do have some bleedthrough, I can easily wipe it off of the clear-coated wood surface. This step is totally optional but if you can’t sand, you can protect the wood while avoiding stencil bleed with this polyurethane: Varathane Water-Based Clear Coat (click here for the current price).
Step 2: How to Prevent Bleeding with Wood Signs & Furniture with Spray Adhesive
To temporarily attach your stencil to the wood surface, you want to use a spray adhesive. But not all spray adhesives are created equally. Initially, I used one that worked great at first but when I reused my stencil, the spray gunked up my stencil and I couldn’t remove it even with mineral spirits.
So, using the right stencil adhesive will ensure that your stencil sticks to the surface and you can reuse the stencil over and over. My favorite is this one: Repositional Stencil Adhesive (see the current price here).
When you are ready to place your stencil on the wood, spray a light coat of spray onto the underside of the stencil keeping the can about 12 inches away. Be sure to spray your stencil over the sink or a trash bag as I do in the video.
Step 3: Applying the Stencil on Wood or Furniture
Place the sprayed stencil on your wood surface. I like to press down in the middle and then wipe towards the outside of the stencil to make sure it is nice and flush so no paint can bleed underneath.
Step 4: How to Stencil on Wood with Mod Podge
The best way to stencil on wood always involves mod podge! The mod podge creates a barrier between the edges of the stencil and the paint and since it dries completely clear you can’t see it. It keeps paint from seeping under the stencil.
Use a brush to apply a few thin layers of mod podge. You’ll notice in the video that I brush lightly but in all possible directions to get mod podge in any cracks and crevices that might be hiding under the stencil.
Let the mod podge layer dry for at least 40 minutes. You can also use a hairdryer to help it dry faster but honestly, I had better results with letting the mod podge air dry. (This step also works well on stenciling curtains).
Step 5 – How to Paint on Wood (Without Bleeding!)
What Paint Should You Use to Stencil on Wood?
For my grandmother’s dresser, I used latex paint in Benjamin Moore Hale Navy because that’s what I used to paint the rest of the dresser and I wanted it to match exactly.
You can also use acrylic paint as both work well. For my favorite acrylic paint, click here.
How to Stencil on Wood with Latex Paint
Instead of a brush, be sure to use a spouncer (see the current price here) for the paint. Dip the spouncer in paint and then wipe off the excess. You want to paint on a light coat by using up and down motions as I do in the video. Keep adding a little paint at a time until all the stencil holes are painted. Make sure there isn’t extra paint just sitting on the surface.
How to Stencil Furniture with Chalk Paint
If you are wanting to use chalk paint for your stencil, be sure to use a good clear coat or wax on top of the stencil. As I described in my post, Why I Stopped Using Chalk Paint On Furniture, you will need to protect the chalk paint somehow. That’s especially the case if you are stenciling on a furniture piece that might get some wear and tear.
Do You Let Paint Dry Before Removing Stencil?
Now it’s time to remove the stencil and it’s best to do this before the paint dries. Carefully lift the stencil from one end to another. Since the paint is still wet, it will be easy to fix any bleed-through, although you shouldn’t have any. Pulling up the stencil before the paint dries is also the best way to keep the paint from peeling with stencils.
If you have any white areas, that is just mod podge that has not dried. You can let it dry or dry it with a hairdryer to speed up the process.
How to Fix Stencil Bleed on Wood
With this process, you shouldn’t have to fix stencil mistakes but if you do, they can easily be removed. Dip a q-tip in water and dab the area that has bled through. The wet paint should come right up!
Let the paint dry according to the instructions on the can or bottle.
DON’T FORGET TO TAKE A PICTURE!
Now that you are done, I’d love to see how it turned out! ❤️ Post your before and after photos here!
RENOVATE YOUR FAITH: God Delights in Your Details
For more spiritual encouragement, click here for the rest of my Renovate Your Faith Posts.
The Best Way to Paint With Stencils
I love the way the stencils turned out on my grandmother’s dresser. I especially like how they line up when all of the drawers are pulled out. It serves as such a sweet reminder of my grandmother and her love for sewing. To read more about my grandmother and what she stood for, you can click here: Why You Struggle to Rest (And What to Do About It)
How to Stencil on Wood Signs
You can use the same process for wood signs, whether the wood is painted or on raw wood. Remember to sand first or use a clear coat to fill any cracks in repurposed wood.
Free Printable Stencils for Wood Signs
Here is how to make your own stencil for wood signs and this method doesn’t require paint at all! You can read the full tutorial on how to make any wording stencil as well as an easy way to ensure there is no bleed-through. Download the free template and see the instructions here: How to Make Wood Signs The Easy Way
To see my best tips for painting with dark colors, click here: Benjamin Moore Hale Navy Dresser Makeover.
☑️ My All-Time Best Furniture Painting Tips & Tricks (FREE PRINTABLE)
Don’t forget to download the FREE step-by-step printable checklist that shows you the exact process I’ve used on dozens of furniture pieces while saving you time and money!
You can see how to make fabric drawer liners that are paper-like, scented, and stain-resistant here: The Easy Way to Make Fabric Drawer Liners
More Posts Related to The Best Way to Paint with Stencils
Final Thoughts on The Best Way to Stencil on Wood
With these tips, you can prevent paint from bleeding through your stencil, no matter how detailed! These hacks are super helpful especially when you are painting on uneven surfaces like Barnwood, repurposed wood, or vintage furniture. These tips on how to stencil wood will ensure your project turns out perfect every time!
I love to hear your thoughts and questions! Scroll down to leave a comment and I WILL reply! ❤️
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How to Stencil on Wood, YouTube Video:
How to Stencil on Furniture
Welcome to Renovated Faith, where I share about DIY projects, my faith and everything in between! When I’m not spending time with my family, you will find me redoing furniture in the garage or watering plants in my greenhouse. This blog is about transformation. Anyone can renovate a house but only God can transform our hearts!