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Stenciling, sponging drama on the wall

Solid-colour painted walls will never go out of fashion, but these days the decision to paint can extend far beyond simply picking a hue. In addition to providing colour, painted effects, such as sponging, stenciling and trompe L'oeil, can add texture and dimension to an interior. Some of them are simple to do even if you are not particularly artistic. Others require an experienced hand. To give you an idea of what you can expect and whether you all need to call in a professional, here is an overview of the most popular painted effects.

Sponging, which involves using a sponge to apply or remove wet paint, is probably the easiest and most versatile of all the decorative paint techniques. It produces a highly textured surface that has great visual depth, which helps to disguise imperfections in walls and hide fingerprints and soil in heavily trafficked areas such as hallways and children's rooms. First select can paint colours or shades of the same hue, one for the wall background and one or more for sponging. The background colour, often a light neutral shade, can be applied to the wall straight from the can, whether it's a latex or oil-based product, but the paint that you choose for the sponging has to be thinned first. Please take some protection for your hand. Wear rubber gloves when working the paint on or off the wall.

Stenciling is simple, stylized, and charming. It has an honourable history going back as far as Pompeian villas and Early American homes in this country, and it is enjoying a wide-spread revival today. Stencils are frequently used as wall borders and accents in country-style interiors, as well as friezes in traditional decorating schemes such as Victorian. Craft and home-decorating stores have pre-cut stencils in nearly every imaginable motif, plus brushes and appropriate paints. Pre-cut stencils come with instructions for use. If commercial designs don't suit you, there are materials available for cutting your own.

The success of a stenciled design depends largely on your ability to keep the stencil straight. Pre-cut stencils should have registration marks, but you will have to make them on any hand-cut stencils. Keeping the stencil flat against the surface is also key. You will need a separate brush for each color you are using. Also be careful not to overload the brush with paint. After blotting the brush on a paper towel, work the stencil in a light dabbing motion.

Sometimes stenciling on the floor is a different conception and it is really easy. This is easier than the wall and you will never get the problem of paint running, as sometimes happen on walls. A stencil pattern border can brighten up either a wooden or a vinyl floor. We can use a few repetitive patterns for a balanced geometric effect.

Everyone has not the confidence to cut out a stencil and paint their bedroom wall. But a simple floral motif stencil is easy to paint and very effective on a traditional bedroom wall. Choose the stencil paint in your favourite calm colour.

Nazneen Haque Mimi
Interior Consultant
Journeyman E-mail: journeyman.interiors@gmail.com
Photo Credit: Journeyman Archive



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