DIY Stenciled Concrete Patio - Weekend Yard Work Series
The stencil I used was HUGE and I would recommend that you get the largest one you can find/afford because they make quick work of a large area like a patio! This one is about 20" x 41"! That's one massive stencil! It came rolled so I just laid it out on my dining table and it flattened right out.
Here are the rest of my supplies... Oh... and you'll also need something soft to kneel on (or knee pads)! I used a folded up towel and my knees are still sore!
I used Valspar Latex Porch & Floor Paint. I picked mine up at Lowe's and you can have it tinted to the color you choose.
I wanted mine to be a very light grey so I chose Comet Dust. I thought it would be a little better than bright white on a concrete patio. Next time I would go a little darker because it looks white still!
I also used a 4-Inch Roller Painting Kit. It was suggested that I also use spray adhesive, I tried Aleene's Repositionable Tacky Spray Adhesive. It did not work very well on concrete but I would definitely use it if you are stenciling a wall.
The first thing I did was clean the patio the day before and let it dry overnight.
I used TSP 90 Heavy Duty Cleaner. You just add a couple of tablespoons per gallon of warm water and mix it up.
I used a large push broom to scrub the patio and a small scrub brush for stubborn areas. You can really see the dirty areas in this picture when it was wet... it even looks like there were some areas of rust!
It's very hard to tell as you are scrubbing that anything is happening and TSP doesn't suds up like regular soap but it does work! It's very hard to show in pictures but once it dried I can definitely tell the difference between the part of the patio that I cleaned and the other that didn't get cleaned!
Here is a before and after.
Next, I blocked off the patio as I was working to prevent little paw prints through the wet paint!
Don't you just love my barricades!?
Then I got started! I started in the middle of the patio (next to the barricade you see above).
You don't want the foam roller to goopy with paint, I rolled mine on paper towels when I felt like I had too much. This will help prevent paint from bleeding under the stencil.
It went pretty quickly. It took me about 4 hours total to do my patio.
The stencils from Olive Leaf are SO nice! They are very sturdy, yet they bend pretty easily for areas like around steps and other obstacles.
After about an hour the stencil started to get too loaded with paint and this started to happen.
So I decided this meant break time! I hosed the stencil off in the yard and laid it out in the sunshine to dry and got a snack while I was waiting!
Then back to work!
You can see the stenciling stops right on the other side of the step over there. I only stenciled the area that is covered by my patio roof.
I love how it turned out!
I thought about filling the cracks in my patio but in the end I decided against it mostly because I thought it would draw more attention to them and I don't mind the cracks. Some people have painted the entire patio floor with a solid color before stenciling so the crack filler would serve a better purpose in that sort of application.
I think Roxanne approves! :o)
The next day I taped off the patio steps..
And painted just the fronts of them with a shade darker than the stencil paint.
Now here are a few before shots!
I sold the table and chair set on Craigslist. They really took up too much space and I've had them for over a year and they only got used ONCE! (I purchased them on Craigslist for only $15 so I wasn't out anything since I sold them for $20!!)
After the table and chairs are gone...
And after being cleaned and stenciled!
Here is a sneak peek at what I'm working on now for the next step in my boho patio makeover!
How to Stain & Stencil a Concrete Patio
Who doesn't love spending time outdoors when the weather's nice? Unfortunately, a ho-hum outdoor space can put a damper on even the sunniest of days. Get your patio summer-ready with our step-by-step instructions for cleaning, staining and stenciling a drab concrete slab to mimic the look of trendy (and expensive!) cement tile.
Prep & Clean Concrete
Trim grass along the perimeter of the patio with a weedeater, then use a pressure washer to blast away built-up dirt and gunk. A clean surface will ensure maximum paint adhesion and a longer-lasting result. No pressure washer? No problem. A stiff brush, a bucket of soapy water and some elbow grease will also do the trick. Let dry for 24 hours.
Apply Concrete Stain
Protect your patio and create a bright, clean background for your stencil with concrete stain. Solid-color concrete stain covers as well as paint but isn't slick when wet. It can also be tinted to a variety of colors, just like paint. Place painter's tape along your home's exterior where it meets the patio, then pour concrete stain (I chose white) into a paint tray. Roll on the first coat of stain with a 9-inch polyester paint roller attached to an extension handle (back saver!), then let dry (Image 1). Repeat three or four more times, letting the stain dry between each coat until the surface is opaque (Image 2). Use a trim brush to fill in around the edges.
Save your back! Attach an extension pole to your paint roller.
After three coats of stain.
Place First Stencil
Situate your stencil in the upper right-hand corner of the patio, closest to the house, and secure with painter's tape. My stencil featured 2 inches of blank space around the perimeter, so when aligned with the edge of the patio, created a crisp white border. If your stencil doesn't have this feature, tape a border around the perimeter of the patio with painter's tape before you begin.
For this project, you'll need three or four sample-size paint cans (8 ounces) from the hardware store. I used Behr Marquee interior/exterior semi-gloss paint & primer in the shades Thermal and Suede Gray. Originally, I poured the paint out into mini paint trays but found it dried too fast, so I ended up dipping my brushes directly into the small plastic sample cans instead.
Load a 1-1/2-inch stencil brush with a small amount of paint, then dab the excess onto a lint-free rag — less is more here. Starting in the center of the tile, use a straight up-and-down pouncing motion to apply paint. If stenciling with two paint colors, decide the pattern before you begin. Here, I used the stencil brush to apply blue paint to larger areas, then a small foam pouncer to fill in the finer details with gray paint (Image 2). When finished, peel back the stencil to reveal the painted pattern. Reposition it below the previously finished tile, lining up the repeat on the stencil, and smooth down the painter's tape again to secure. Continue the process in a straight line, using the edge of the patio as a guide (Image 1), then continue row after row (Image 3) until you reach the opposite end. If your stencil extends past the patio at the bottom, tape a 2-inch border along the bottom edge and stencil down to it for a clean finish.
Pro Tip: Check the back of the stencil periodically and wipe off any excess paint with a lint-free rag before repositioning.
For this project, you'll need exterior paint + primer, a good stencil brush, high-quality foam pouncers and a 16" x 16" tile stencil.
Imperfections make the final result even prettier.
Halfway done. I had to take a lot of breaks thanks to the rain.
Once you've reached the final row, you may find that your stencil doesn't fit perfectly. To remedy this, tape a 2-inch border down the edge of the patio (Image 1), then stencil as usual. When you're done stenciling the row, remove the tape to reveal a straight edge and clean white border (Image 2). Let paint dry for 24 hours.
To create a crisp, clean border, tape off the edge of the patio with painter's tape.
The end result is stunning!
Optional: Seal It
Keep your beautiful patio looking good as new for years to come with a coat of clear acrylic concrete sealer. Once the paint is fully dry, use a roller brush to apply a protective layer of sealer following manufacturer instructions. Let cure for 24 hours before re-installing patio furniture and more on the surface. Note: This step is optional.
Maintenance & Final Thoughts
To clean, blast the patio every few weeks with a water hose or use dish soap and a stiff brush to remove tough stains like bird poop, dried-on leaves, etc. (it won't chip or fade the paint). Five months later, my patio still looks like new and is holding up well under regular foot traffic, a messy toddler and weather.
Stenciling is not a perfect art. There will be many times when the stencil doesn't line up perfectly or the paint bleeds through. Embrace it! The end result is gorgeous and the imperfections make it even more so. Another thing to take into consideration is time — I spent about 12 hours total on this project, spread out over two weeks (it rained a lot those two weeks). But it was fun to have something easy to work on in the evenings while I listened to podcasts. And the best part? I totally transformed my outdoor space for about $85 — a fraction of the cost of a new concrete slab.
Stenciling your patio is an easy, inexpensive way to make a big impact on your outdoor space.
Sit & Sip in Style
Pull up a few outdoor chairs, mix up some cocktails and enjoy lazy summer evenings on your pretty new patio.
Stencil Your Patio
Who doesn't love spending time outdoors when the weather's nice? Unfortunately, a ho-hum outdoor space can put a damper on even the sunniest of days. Get your patio summer-ready with our step-by-step instructions for cleaning, staining and stenciling a drab concrete slab.
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DIY fan transforms her tired patio tiles using £7 stencil and it looks amazing
WITH summer only a matter of weeks away, now is the perfect time to give any outdoor space you have a bit of a spruce up.
And if your patio tiles are looking a bit lacklustre, then you should take a leaf out of Tanya O'Kane's book.
The savvy DIY fan totally revamped her outdoor space using a single £7 stencil she ordered online.
Earlier this month, Tanya shared a video with the Facebook page On a Budget where she filmed her super-simple method which had BIG results.
To begin with, Tanya cleaned the tiles using Mrs Hinch's favourite Elbow Grease spray to get rid of any lingering dirt.
She then stuck the affordable stencil - which she bought from Dizzy Duck Designs - on the cement tiles and slowly brushed the white paint over it.
After evenly painting over all the gaps, Tanya carefully removed the stencil and was left with a pretty geometric print.
As Tanya decided to cover her whole patio with the one stencil, she spread the DIY job over the Easter weekend.
Proudly posting a photo of her efforts on her Instagram account, she added: "I got it done, I'm very happy with the outcome, it was worth it."
What's more, the foolproof stencils can be used all over the home, including bathroom tiles or kitchen floors.
- Midar tile Stencil, £6.98 from Dizzy Duck Designs - buy now
And needless to say, Tanya's patio has inspired hundreds of others of DIY fans to give it a go.
Replying to the Facebook video, one user wrote: "What a fab idea. Hope you have more. Feel very inspired!"
Another added: "Looks great, well done!"
For more stunning home renovations, this aspiring designer transformed her dull apartment into a “stunning” home – filled with marble floors, gold fixtures and “millennial pink” accessories.
And this mum has shown off her incredible £50 kitchen transformation for rented homes – and it WON’T lose you your deposit.
Plus this cleaner recreated her dream £5,000 kitchen for just £500 after spending hours trawling online stores for budget dupes.
If there is one DIY hack we’ve done in our home that has saved us a great deal of money, been a fairly seamless and straightforward job and has been a huge transformation it is absolutely stencilling our very worn looking patio.
The initial plans were to have decking laid over the patio but it begun to look like a larger than life task with uneven patio slabs, mounting labour/material costs and not to mention the fact neither of us had the first clue about how to lay decking.
A few suggestions over on Instagram lead me to believe that it was absolutely possible to attempt a stencil job on our patio, and hey if it turned out to be a disaster we’d stick to our original plan and just deck over it. Well, much to my surprise it turned out to be an utterly fantastic result.
We did the job over a weekend and it was fairly simple.
Preparation is key to getting this job done as easily as possible. Make sure you have everything you need beforehand.
Total Cost: under £100
Click on the names of each product for links to buy.
Firstly you’ll need a couple of days forecast of good / dry weather to make sure that it doesn’t rain whilst painting. It ended up snowing at one point during our painting stint, but we got there in the end.
Preparation is key to getting this job done as easily as possible. Make sure you have everything you need beforehand.
Firstly you’ll need to power wash or scrub the patio clean. It’s important that the paint can stick to the stone with no interference. We used a power hose six months before to clean off the green moss. During our paint prep we used a very strong bristle brush to clean any further build up. The patio had been de-weeded and thoroughly swept before we began painting. We tended to the weeds in the patio grooves but never filled in the grooves and are prepared for a lifetime of de-weeding instead. If any of your slabs are damaged or have cracks in them then tend to this before you begin painting.
We sponged on all the paint. This was our preference as we wanted a more “rustic” look for the finished result. It actually was SO quick to apply with a big sponge and the Sandtex mason paint actually still went on with a very full coverage. The paint is guaranteed to be “rainproof” within the hour, however we waited a full 24 hours before stencilling. The paint we used is guaranteed for 15 years and is weather proof. We haven’t sealed the top yet but plan to with the Wickes Paving Sealer.
We did the job in spring so it’s yet to endure a winter. We anticipate the moss will grow back over winter and hopefully the weather paint will be resistant to deep cleaning next spring. If you want to pressure wash to clean the patio after it’s painted (which I would advise against) do it on a very low setting.
The stencil was bought on Etsy by a brand called Dizzy Duck Designs. They have numerous stencil sizes available. We ordered the 45cm stencil which was 1cm bigger than our paving slabs, however it was the closest size possible. If you can, order the stencil size to be exact because it is less fiddly when applying the paint. It was super straightforward to use the stencil, even on the tiles at the edges of the patio that weren’t whole. The stencil is flexible plastic and once in position if held well, even if that meant half of the stencil hitched against the wall for fiddly corners. A smaller stencil is sent with the order too which is perfect for smaller, hard to reach tiles.
Start in a corner and work your way out. We started in the top right hand corner of the patio and did the stencilling line by line.
You can stick down the stencil with frog tape on each paving slab, we didn’t do this and just held it down as we sponged. If you stick it down there’s no danger of the wind blowing the stencil about whilst painting, however it will double the amount of time it takes to stencil. It sounds dramatic to describe the task as back breaking but it really does take its toll especially if you want to complete it in one day. All I can say is if we weren’t in isolation I’d have booked in for a full body massage at a local spa after this days work.
The stencil did tend to get clogged up with excess paint which would seep around the edges of the stencil design and cause a bleed on a few tiles. I would recommend wiping down the stencil with a clean sponge or paper towels every so often. The paint dries very quickly, however be careful when laying the stencil down on the new tile to make sure it doesn’t brush over any wet paint and smudge the design.
QUICK STEP BY STEP:
- Your patio has been cleaned and is dry
- Apply a primer (dries very quickly)
- Roller or sponge the base paint and leave for 24 hours
- Start stencilling in one corner and work your way out
- Go slowly and methodically so you don’t smudge the paint
- Clean the stencil regularly to avoid the paint clogging on the stencil and bleeding on to the slabs
- Once dry apply a top coat sealant (optional)
- Take a step back and admire your fantastic DIY work and ENJOY your fabulous new patio!
The result is fantastic. It’s an optical illusion with the design that you can no longer see where some of our patio slabs are uneven. We are so happy with the result and cannot believe that a £100 DIY job has completely transformed our patio area. This job would look great on any patio regardless of size or space. There are so many stencil templates to choose from. So whatever your style, whether it be ornate or abstract there will be something to suit all tastes.
Things I would do differently next time:
There really isn’t that much I’d change about our process of doing it however two things that could’ve made it easier are:
- Check official weather reports beforehand and not naively go with Apple weather app which never forecasted the snow that arrived halfway through our paint job.
- Clean the stencil more often so no bleeds.
- Ask Freddie to help me before the final 4 slabs needed painting. It is SO much more motivating having two people do it. Dizzy Duck Designs do a buy one get one free on the stencils anyway so it really is a no brainer.
Enjoyed this post? Pin me for later!
How to Stencil a Concrete Patio for a Budget-Friendly Outdoor Refresh
As much as Jenna LeBlanc would have loved to retile the patio behind her Tampa home, she didn't want to buy 650-plus square feet of tiles. More in line with her budget was paint and a stencil ($71, Royal Design Studio Stencils) she had been eyeing online. So she and her husband pried up the old tiles, then prepped and painted the concrete underneath. Proper surface prep was key, Jenna says, but in the end, she had to let go of precision. "The benefit of it being an outdoor space is that it doesn't have to be perfect."
Jenna, who shares her projects on her blog Jenna Sue Design, stenciled a design to mimic Moroccan tile. The 28x28-inch stencil created a single, high-impact medallion. "There was a point a few hours in where I thought, Wow, what was I thinking?" she says. But after getting the hang of it, she cut her time from 25 minutes per medallion to 5 minutes, completing the stenciling in 27 hours over two weeks. Follow the steps below to learn how to stencil a concrete patio for a budget-friendly makeover.
What you needSours: https://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/diy-stenciled-concrete-patio/
How To Stencil an Existing Concrete Patio
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I’m not entirely sure how I got it in my mind to stencil our concrete patio to look like tile, but there it was and I couldn’t shake the idea. I also considered buying an outdoor rug, but those things are expensive and I wasn’t sure how long it would last.
After doing a ton of research on how to stencil an existent concrete patio, I selected my stencil, which was by far the hardest part because there are just so many to choose from! I ordered my Bird’s Eye Ikat Allover Wall Stencil stencil from Royal Design Studio. Once my stencil was on its way, I set off to Lowes to gather my supplies. (This post isn’t sponsored by Lowe’s. It has just evidently become my new favorite store. Homeownership – le sigh. I never thought this day would come) Our patio is around 230 square feet so you might need more paint depending on how big your patio is if you want to recreate this look.
I will say that I am so happy with the results. It looks better than I could have even imaged in my head, and it was worth the effort. We have gotten so many compliments on it too! My mother-in-law even asked me where I got the tile, and she was shocked when I told her it was stenciled. I will be sharing later the furniture and decor we added to complete the look. What started as an old existing concrete patio with very little character, has transformed into a little oasis that we love hanging out on and having friends over to enjoy with us!
How To Stencil an Existing Concrete Patio
Valspar Fast Prep
Valspar Porch, Floor & Patio – Satin/Base 2: 1 gallon + 1 pint of base paint
Valspar Porch, Floor & Patio – Satin/Base 4: 1 pint of accent stencil color
2 gallons of Valspar Protective Sealer
2 Valspar paint rollers: Textured walls, concrete & decks
Mini-foam roller with paint tray
Stiff large paint brush
Painter’s Tape (optional)
How To Stencil an Existing Concrete Patio:
Step 1: Clean off your concrete. There are a couple ways to do this. I used the jet setting on my garden hose, but you can use a power washer. While the concrete is still wet, apply the concrete cleaner with a watering can then swish it around with a stiff broom. You want to make sure it gets into all the little grooves of the concrete. Rinse with a hose. Let completely dry for a day.
Step 2: Apply your base coat color. We used Valspar Porch, Floor & Patio paint in “New Concrete.” This was a light grey color that instantly brightened the space. Stir paint with wooden paint stir stick then pour a small amount into your paint tray. I applied the paint with a foam roller with an extender attached. Simply start at one end of your patio then work backwards. Let dry for an entire day. I also had a stiff large paint brush handy to get into some of the deep ridges of our patio. We didn’t tape off our patio because we have plans to paint our exposed foundation later, but if you don’t want paint on your house definitely apply painters tape onto the side of your house from the crease to a few inches up to ensure paint only goes onto your patio!
Step 3: This is by far the most time consuming set, so prepare yourself. Align your stencil in one corner of your patio. You can use painters tape to secure it to the ground if you are using a large stencil. Stir paint with a wooden stir stick then pour your second accent color of paint into the mini-foam roller paint tray. Don’t fill it too full. I used Valspar Porch, Floor & Patio paint in “Midnight Blue” as my accent color. Roll roller into paint then do a few rolls into the top part of the tray to remove excess paint, finally do a light roll against a stack of paper towels. The key to stenciling is having just enough paint on your roller to give you a nice coat of color but not seep under the stencil. Finally gently roll paint over the stencil until all the spaces are covered. I did my paint a little unevenly because that was the look I was going for. For a more opaque look, do a second light coat. Carefully remove the stencil and position it into the next spot. Most stencils will have guides to help you. Once you are at the end of your patio, go back to the end you started at, move one row over with the help of the guides and repeat the process.
The hardest parts of my patio were working around my pillars and two grounding wires. For the pillars, I maneuvered the stencil to be able to get as mush of the pattern down with the roller. Then any spot that wasn’t reached, I went back in with a small paint brush and hand drew the pattern. I saved the grounding wires for last, as I decided to snip two small cuts into my stencil to help in lay flatter against the ground to be able to use the roller.
Step 4: After your hard work stenciling, relax as you let the paint dry for a day. Once the paint is dry, put on some clean white socks, and go around and do any touchups with a small paint brush. Wait a few hours to let the touchups dry, then apply the sealer.
Step 5: Apply the sealer. Pour sealer into your cleaned out paint tray or new tray. Work in the same way you applied your base coat starting at one end of your patio and working backwards. Use a new foam roller to ensure it is 100% clean.
Big things to note: do not leave your stencil set with wet paint, if you do when you go to move the stencil it will rip the base coat up too.
How To Stencil an Existing Concrete Patio
Filed Under: DIY, homeSours: https://plaidandpaleo.com/2019/07/how-to-stencil-an-existing-concrete-patio.html
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Stenciled Patio Makeover Tutorial
If you’ve been following my weeks-long stenciling saga on my Instagram stories, the day we’ve all been waiting for is FINALLY here! It’s the most thorough patio stenciling tutorial I could possibly deliver, so enjoy…
Here’s what you’ll need:
Our story goes deeper than just stenciling, though. It begins in a world of a patio partially covered in mismatched brown and white giraffe tile.
We’ll never know what was going through the minds of the people who thought this was a great idea.
In February we began the process of removing the offending tiles, and luckily since they weren’t installed properly, they came up without a fight.
Underneath the surface was what I assumed to be mold and mildew after who knows how many Florida summers.
But then, upon closer inspection, we realized that nope, this was in fact, green paint.
Power washing quickly commenced, revealing not just one layer of paint, but two… the always in-style, neon and emerald green.
More hues of pink and purple were slowly uncovered, revealing a colorful and curious past life. Oh, if this patio could talk.
A full afternoon of pressure washing was as good as it was going to get, and we called it a night.
Step 1: Prep the surface
I can’t stress enough how important this first step is. If your concrete is not properly prepped, any painted finish will not last. If you’re stenciling directly on unpainted concrete, you’ll have much better luck in the long run!
Unfortunately for us, we had to address the multiple layers of cracked and flaking paint that were no match for the pressure washer.
I used a putty knife and did my best to scrape it all up…
But the loose paint was everywhere, very stubborn and I could only do so much by hand on a 650+ sq ft patio. I knew the concrete paint would also be thick enough to cover up and eliminate most of the smaller flakes. Fortunately, this isn’t an interior surface that has to be 100% perfect!
There were also multiple cracks that needed to be filled, and I picked up this concrete crack seal to do the job.
It worked beautifully and was instant gratification! I love this stuff.
With the cracks sealed and old paint scraped off as much as possible, it was time to paint the surface.
Step 2: Paint the base layer (optional)
If you’re stenciling directly over the existing surface, you can skip this step.
I did a TON of research on this (and I mean hours) trying to find the best option. It had to be durable, long lasting, affordable, easy to use/apply, and the right color. I scoured Amazon and the big box stores, reading every word and photo of every customer review. I was leaning toward a couple options on Amazon, but the color options were very limited and the gray read as a blue-gray (not a fan).
Eventually I landed on this Behr Concrete & Garage floor paint, after finding that it was available in a ton of Behr colors (other manufacturers take note!)
I ordered two gallons in Battleship Gray, which is a very neutral light/medium gray without those pesky blue undertones (go custom and don’t get their off the shelf Slate Gray unless you like the blue-gray).
I started by cutting in around the edges with a good short angled brush (you’ll have to excuse the lighting in some of these photos)…
Then rolled out the center with a nap roller made for textured surfaces.
After snapping the first roller handle in half, I realized that this job wasn’t going to be quite as easy as I thought due to the uneven surface. In order to fully cover, I had to completely soak the roller in paint and reapply every few feet.
Worried that I’d run out of paint, I used as little as possible, rolling over the surface multiple times with more pressure. It was a tiring job that took up most of the day (the sun out in full force didn’t help either.). Here’s how far one gallon went:
By the end I realized I wouldn’t have enough, and ended up with this much to go on the side of the house:
I’m definitely a fan of this paint though. It easily covered in one coat and dried within minutes. The color is nice too, no blue tint at all (don’t let the early morning light and poor iphone 6 white balance sensor fool you):
Step 3: Let the stenciling begin
Okay, NOW for the fun part! I ordered my stencil months ago, after spotting it at Royal Stencils… how gorgeous is their Mandala Fusion stencil?
It reminded me of tile, which was the look I wanted, and it’s available in a 26×26″ size, making it perfect for larger spaces like walls and floors. I’ve used Royal Stencils in the past (twice, actually) and even posted a blog and video tutorial if you need a guide for stenciling walls.
Stenciling a concrete patio, however, is a slightly different beast so keep reading to see how I did it:
The good news is that if you’ve ever stenciled a wall before—this is EASIER! For a few reasons:
- On the ground you don’t have gravity working against you
- Textured surfaces hide all the small imperfections
- It’s outdoors, so it’s not held to the same standards of perfection of an interior space!
All of these reasons should take the pressure off and make it a much more enjoyable experience. Even though this took me 27 hours, it was easy breezy compared to my past wall stenciling experiences.
Now that you have your supplies ready to go, the biggest decision you have to make is where to start. On a wall, you just have to make sure it’s level.
On a floor, it usually means aligning your first row to one edge/wall. The problem with the wall around my patio was that it wasn’t straight or parallel with the house, so the pattern would have ran at a slight angle. I don’t think it would have been too noticeable, but instead I chose to start at one of the concrete expansion joints, which were all nice and straight.
It didn’t really matter where along this line I started, but I roughly measured out to both ends to ensure I wouldn’t be left with a tiny sliver on either side (spoiler alert: you’ll probably still end up with those)
Once I was happy with the positioning, I taped the stencil down with painters tape and dabbed my brush into the paint. I ordered this extra large stencil brush (also from Royal Studios) which gives much more control and better coverage.
After lightly dipping the edge of the brush, you have to offload it by swirling it onto a paper towel to remove any excess paint. There should be no wet/dripping paint on the bristles, as it can cause bleed through underneath the stencil.
It’s a good idea to do a practice run first before your first stencil to get the hang of the proper technique. Not surprisingly, I had some bleed through on my first stencil and quickly had to clean it up with wet q-tips.
It’s also important to decide the look you want beforehand—do you want fully opaque color with crisp edges? Or more of a subtle sheer pattern with some variation? If you add too much paint to any part of the stencil, you’re pretty much stuck with that level of coverage because it will be very noticeable next to all the lighter stencils. Decide what you want first, and then stay consistent (you can always go back and add more paint!)
I started out on the cautious side, using very light coats to avoid bleed through, resulting in a semi-opaque finish. I noticed that the paint tends to dry lighter, so I began using a bit more coverage to help combat the inevitable fading from the sun.
Once you’re happy with the first stencil, simply peel it off and reposition it so the pattern overlaps on the edge. It’s important to be precise with this as a little deviation can add up over multiple stencils. There was no waiting time in between for me as the paint dried right away.
From there it was simply rinse and repeat. The brush worked very well, but faced with days of work ahead of me, I tried a roller brush just to see if it would be faster.
NOPE. It just doesn’t cover over highly textured surfaces, especially uneven ones with gaping crevices like mine. If you have a super smooth concrete finish give it a shot as it will save you hours, but the brush was my only option.
You’d think that with such an uneven surface where the stencil can’t lay flat, there’d be paint going everywhere and the shapes wouldn’t stay intact—but you’d be surprised. These stencils are very forgiving, and pretty much fool proof on a surface like this that hides all the imperfections.
When you reach a wall, the process is quite simple. Cover the edge with painters tape, push the stencil down with one hand, and press the brush into the corner.
When the stencil needs to wrap around multiple angles, you just do one edge at a time using the same technique.
Looks a bit daunting but it’s really easy. A smaller brush helps (I could only wedge mine into a corner so far) but it doesn’t need to be perfect (again, because this is an outdoor space!)
On Day 1 I put in six hours and was exhausted. The Florida sun and being four months pregnant didn’t help, either.
By the way, I bought these knee pads thinking they’d be necessary but stopped using them after the first day. It’s much easier sitting on a towel closer to the ground than kneeling over!
Step 4: Clean your stencil
At the end of Day 1 was time to clean the stencil, and here’s where things went wrong. I remember this being the most frustrating part of the process years ago when I stenciled last, but this time around it was even worse—perhaps because of the epoxy paint? I tried soaking the stencil in the tub using scalding hot water and dish soap, and scrubbing with every means that I could—repeating this process several times over 24 hours. Some of the paint came off, but a lot of it wouldn’t budge.
Lucas and I took turns cleaning, and by the next day I was so frustrated that I ended up bending and ripping it in a couple spots. Oops! Fortunately, even with my abuse, and the stencil no longer lying flat, there was no difference in the results.
Step 5: Rinse + Repeat
The following day I clocked in another six hours, and made some great progress. By this point it was taking me around 15 minutes per stencil.
One tool I found incredibly helpful was a leaf blower. Since our patio is exposed to the elements and it’s pollen season here, the trees are constantly dropping gifts and sweeping a patio this large is very energy consuming and inefficient. With the leaf blower, I’d tackle a couple stencils at a time then simply blow off any dirt/tree droppings as I went (I’m a big fan of my Black+Decker, it’s lightweight and easy to use)
With that said, I have to mention again that the wonderful thing about stenciling outdoors is that your surface does not have to be super clean! There’s no way to avoid dirt and bits of nature blowing underneath the stencil at all times, and you would never notice the difference anyway.
I can’t even count how many ants snuck their way into the stencil and were met with the brush of death. A moment of silence, please, for all the insects who perished in the Stencil Massacre of 2019. Their lives were not taken in vain.
By the end of Day 2 (another 6 hour stretch) it was time to clean the stencil once again, but this time I came prepared after researching my options online. Krud Kutter Latex Paint remover was one of the most recommended products I found, though I was still skeptical based on the traumatic experience of the last cleaning session…
We saturated both sides of the stencil and let it sit in a garbage bag overnight…
And miraculously woke up to this:
Peeling paint everywhere! It easily slid right off the plastic and we were able to take it all up with a brush in minutes. I will NEVER stencil without this stuff again.
Over the next couple weeks, I squeezed in stencil session whenever I could, which was only in the early morning/late evening or periods of intermittent cloudiness, because working in the summer sun in Florida will basically kill a pregnant woman in minutes.
Fortunately, I also had it down to a science by the end, and was clocking in at around 5 minutes per stencil. If there’s a stenciling Olympics, sign me up.
I found that the fastest method is to saturate the brush, very lightly offload (or sometimes not at all), and repeatedly stipple the brush rather than swirl it around. This creates a thicker layer of paint without any bleeding, and you don’t need to go over the same area 2-3 times for decent coverage.
The edges may not be quite as crisp this way, but it’s really not noticeable at all, especially on a rough concrete surface.
Another tip—try not to go over the ‘registration mark’ areas that have already been painted. If your stencil is misaligned with the previous design even a little, you’ll get this ghosting effect which is probably the most noticeable mistake you can make.
I was pretty cautious about this and managed to avoid it for the most part, but again these flaws tend to disappear when you look at the full picture.
The very last row was a milestone moment. My stenciling obligations had finally come to an end, and I felt like a part of my life had been restored.
But it wasn’t over yet!
Step 6: Seal
Originally I wasn’t planning on sealing it, thinking that since this was special concrete paint, it would have no problem holding up to what it was designed to do. Several hours into this project and I thought there’s NO way I’m ever redoing this so I set out to find the best sealer out there. After thoroughly reading through all the reviews, I landed on the Seal Krete Clear Seal:
And ater days of rain and tree droppings, I realized how necessary a sealer was…
There are lots of dips and low areas in the patio where water would pool and sit for nearly a day, leaving behind stains from the pollen:
Before sealing, I gently scrubbed the affected areas with dish soap to remove the stains…
The paint wore off if I scrubbed too hard (yet another reason to seal) but eventually it cleaned up:
After the problem areas were addressed and the entire patio washed clean, it was time to seal.
I was worried this would be as long and arduous of a process as the gray paint application, but it couldn’t have been easier.
The paint glided across the surface like butter, and it was hard to tell the areas I had already covered. I used a super thick coating to ensure full coverage (you can see the brush marks from the roller in the photo above). In the right light, you could tell by a subtle sheen.
I used a brush to cut in around the edges (not necessary, but I wanted to be extra thorough).
The paint claims only 150-300 square feet of coverage per can, but I found it to be MUCH more. I covered the entire surface (over 600 square feet) with a very thick coating with less than 2/3 a can.
Only one coat is needed but few hours later I came back with another coat, even thicker this time because I am taking ZERO chances.
The sealer has a satin finish which is only visible in the sun…
You can see the sheen from this direction:
The sealer has only been on for a few days, but it rained last night and this morning there was no pooling of water and no stains anywhere to be found. So far so good!
Now that the hardest part is over, it’s time to really transform this backyard with landscaping, lighting and furniture!
Still a long way to go back here, but I think stenciling was sure worth a couple weeks and approximately $250 to go from this…
Four months of this belly to go!
Pssst… I posted a vlog this morning with lots of updates on our new build, so make sure to give it a watch to see what else has been keeping us busy over these past few weeks!
This weekend we’ll be focusing on the front porch (once again) and hopefully finishing it once and for all! As always, you can follow all the action over on my Instagram stories 🙂
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