“What are your favourite stencil brushes?”
How to stencil, my fav supplies, how to store, how to clean, what to make, where to purchase these stencils, and more!
Here we go!
About these stencils
I carry my own stencil line of what I deem Funky Junk’s Old Sign Stencils. They are market sign themed stencils made from a durable 10 mil mylar.
I’m a 20 year sign maker by trade. So when I started creating old signs for my own home, readers desired to make the same designs. Hence… the stencils were born! So now anyone can… in minutes!
Visit the online store (we ship worldwide) or at a nearby retailer HERE.
As the creator of these stencils, I come across lots of successes and failures on what works and what doesn’t. So here’s what I love to use and why…
* This post contains some Amazon affiliate links so you can locate the same gear I love!
As with any hobby, you’ll want to stock some basics.
I suggest to gather these things up, and have them all nearby before you start. There is nothing quite like having to run alllllll the way upstairs, while juggling four invaluable stencil brushes threatening to dry up on you…
good lighting – natural light is best
a work table
a big roll of paper to protect surfaces
something to pour paint onto
something to off load paint from the brush
container of water
other specialty paint brushes
a box of plastic sand which bags (for wet paint brushes)
plastic wrap (for wet paint brushes or trays)
high density sponge roller – useful for glass
measuring tape and pencil
scissors – helpful to reduce the footprint of the outer stencil in tight areas
stencil spray adhesive – optional
paint of choice
hanging storage for stencils
shelving for supplies, and paint
How to stencil
Stencilling is actually very easy. However in order to achieve exceptional results, a little practice comes into play.
The most common issue is bleeding underneath the stencil. This is due to too much paint applied.
The key for super sharp lines is using VERY little paint. Once you load your brush, off-load most of the paint before you stencil.
1. Pour your paint onto a flat surface of choice.
2. Dip your brush into the paint, then off-load most paint onto a surface, such as a rag. Your brush should be dry-to-the-touch.
3. Position your stencil, then tap up and down on the stencil with your brush. You can also ‘swirl’ the brush if your brush is dry enough.
Learn more about How to stencil HERE
Favorite stencil brushes
A good brush can make a big difference in the outcome of your stencilling. The best way to test this one out is by trial and error.
I have come across wonderful brushes that have worn out with overuse, right down to brand new brushes constantly losing their bristles, or the brush separating from the handle.
My personal preference is slightly larger brushes if I can find them, such as 2″..
Quality features to consider:
* Tips flat or very slightly curved.
* Brush slightly flexible – not too stiff.
* Comfortable handle.
* Various sizes. I like medium and large sizes. The smaller the brush, the more work is required.
#1. The Martha Stewart brushes are super good quality, but I do find the bristles a little stiff, and short. I highly recommend Martha Stewart’s Stipple Brush HERE, however they are no longer made and hard to find.
#2. I currently use this Staalmeester wax brush #3600 (on Amazon HERE) I received from Fusion Mineral Paint, shown below. This is a big, hefty brush perfect for larger stencils or to achieve a wonderful dry-brushed look (where you do not tap). It’s gorgeous! I usually use it with no elastic band as I find the bristles stiff enough on their own.
Stencil Brush hack: Wrap an elastic band around a fatter wax brush
Before you stencil, you may desire to coat your surface first.
For this reason, I stock several different brushes.
The most important part is quality. If you get quality stuff, your work just turns out better, and the brush lasts longer.
Tip: An all synthetic brush may offer the least amount of brush strokes.
Masking tape is needed to hold your stencil in place. For that reason, a low grade is all that’s really needed.
But it also comes in handy for other things, such as painting lines. Here’s where you want more of a specialty painter’s grade tape so the paint won’t bleed underneath.
I stock both cheap and good stuff, then use accordingly.
Tip: The Martha Stewart blue tape is exceptional for no bleed lines!
Nearly any paint can be used for stencilling. But the more opaque, the less paint you will require.
What paint you chose can also depend what surface you are painting on.
However, this is where it pays to think outside the box. An old window, furniture, permanent built-ins such as stairs all work. ANYTHING can be painted. You just need to find the right kind of paint for your chosen surface.
Paint I use:
Fusion Mineral Paint – click for website
Find on Amazon HERE
– requires little to no prep work
– built in top coat
– great indoors and out
– matte finish
– very durable
– use it for coating out pieces and stencilling
– exceptional for stencilling raw wood for indoors or out. May need 2 coats if stencilling on a dark surface.
* Fusion is sold via retailers. Check with a local one near you HERE for my stencils, and MANY other great supplies listed in this post.
Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint – click for website
Find on Amazon HERE
– comes in powder form you mix with water
– can achieve chippy textures
– exceptional for raw wood – it soaks in
– coating out pieces
* MMSMP is sold via retailers. Check with a local one near you HERE for MANY other great supplies listed in this post.
Acrylic craft paint – any good name brand will do
– offers exceptional opaqueness for all tones of stencilling
Fusion Mineral Paint with a high density foam brush
Fusion Mineral Paint
acrylic craft paint
Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint – excellent for raw wood
Fusion Mineral Paint
acrylic craft paint
Honestly? I don’t clean my stencils.
I use to when I first started stencilling. I’d diligently run to the sink, and start rubbing the paint off before the paint dried on permanently.
But I soon found the stencils were at high risk for damage, and I could never get them completely clean for photography reasons anyway.
So now I let them be. I run my finger against the cut edges to remove any build up, then let them dry.
However I am sharing below some tips by those that do clean their stencils regularly. This is suggested if they get heavy use such as for repeated workshop use.
Cleaning tips: (tried and true methods by those that clean)
* After stenciling, soak the stencil in hot water until there’s time to clean.
* Spray Simple Green on the stencil, then gently rub off the paint as the solution starts to work.
* No sink nearby? Wipe the paint off with baby wipes for a quick fix.
Photography Tip: I stock 2 of each stencil. I keep one in new condition for before shots, then use the 2nd one for my projects. A great tip for those that resell stencils, or host workshops.
Spray adhesive – yes or no?
I personally don’t use stencil adhesive any longer. But I sure did when I first started! And it single handedly saved my work!
When I first started stencilling, I had trouble getting the lines looking super crisp. For this reason, I’d spray a light coat of spray adhesive on the back of the stencil, allow it to tack up a bit, then stencil.
The adhesive makes it so little to no paint bleed occurs so crisp lines are achieved.
But with a little practice over time, you will not require the adhesive. The key is using a super dry to the touch paint loaded brush.
Pros: It works well!
Cons: Spray adhesive leaves a glue texture on the underside of the stencil. Hello lint catcher…
My suggestion: – Practice so you don’t need it.
How to use spray adhesive:
* Lightly mist the underside of the stencil.
* Allow it to sit for a few minutes to tack up.
Leave the adhesive intact after the fact, but do hang the stencil up to avoid lint accumulation. The adhesive will eventually become dry to the touch.
Stencil storage ideas
Over time, I’ve created various ways to store my own stencils.
I like them hanging in full view so they inspire me to play and are within easy grasp.
Here are a few ways I’ve stored stencils myself… and I’m sure I’m not done finding even MORE new ways as my collection grows!
Check out the cool wooden racks I found on Amazon below… swoon!
Paint and brush storage ideas
One of my fav things to do is to come up with creative ways to store my gear. Repurposing junk to store junk is my fav challenge!
Here are a few of my favourite storage methods to date:
Where to buy these stencils
A quick online search will have you finding virtually any kind of stencil imaginable.
My own stencils are designed around vintage antique old market signs and iconic patterns. You can purchase them by:
Visiting my online store HERE
or finding a local retailer near you HERE
Stencil project ideas
Due to having my own line of stencils, many of my projects showcase unique ways to use them.
Visit blogger’s creations using the stencils on Pinterest HERE
Whether you are a novice, or professional, one that resells the stencils, or creates merchandise to sell with them, there is now a place for everyone to play!
Join our Facebook group, What I made with Old Sign Stencils, so you can share YOUR creations with us!
Hope to see you there! 🙂
If you wish to stay current with my newest stencil designs or repurposed projects, there are several ways to do so…
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Whew. That was some post. I think I got it all.
But if you have any questions on stencilling at all, feel free to leave them in comments below. I will answer them, and possibly even add an FAQ to this post if needed.
Thanks for your visit, and happy old sign stencilling! 🙂