DIY’ing stencil style

We’ve been updating our trim throughout the house to make it more craftsman-like, which left us with a bunch of left over flat 1″x 4″ pine boards (read = free).  I was browsing at one of my favorite blogs, when I discovered this.  Isn’t it amazing?

I plan to do one similar to what Ashley did for our master bedroom, but we’re not quite ready to undertake that room yet.  Still working on the office, which I’ll post about later.  So, I decided to try to make one for an outdoor installation on the side of our shed.  I’ve always admired gardeners who could incorporate art into the garden and have been trying to come up with ways to do that myself.  This seemed like the perfect project to start with.   After ordering and receiving the stencil ($24) from Royal Design Studio I was ready to begin.

I measured the area on the side of the shed to determine that I wanted an approximate 2 foot x 4 foot art piece.  I then measured and cut 13 boards to the approximate length and width.  I sandwiched in some leftover 1″x2″ boards between the leftover 1″x4″ boards we had left over from the trim replacement, just to mix things up.  To attach each board to one another, my husband, Nolan, showed me how to use something called a “pocket jig”, which looks like this:

This is the pocket jig I used for this project.

The way it works is that it allows you to drill a hole into the wood at an angle in order to use screws to attach one piece to the next.  The result is a sturdier project with no screws poking out anywhere.  I was quite impressed with the final result. 

Pocket jig detail

Nolan trimed one of the sides of the project for me with the table saw since my original cuts weren’t exactly *perfect*!  Once that was done, I went to town on sanding the front side of it.

Getting ready to sand

For staining, I opted to use Cabot’s Penetrating Wood Stain (oil based) in Red Mahogany since it was something we already owned.

Cabot’s Wood Stain in Red Mahogany

I let the piece dry outdoors (in a sheltered spot) for two days before stenciling it.  I opted to bring the project onto my kitchen floor, where it was air conditioned, during a recent heat wave.

Ready for stenciling

For the paint, I went with an interior latex paint (yes, I said “interior”, I’ll explain later) since we had it leftover from when we painted our new trim.  It’s Sherwin Williams “Neutral Ground”, which is a nice off-white.

I used blue painters tape to secure the stencil to the project and then proceeded to use a foam brush (14 for $1.00 at Michaels on sale!) to apply the paint.   I found that “less is more” in terms of the amount of paint to put on the brush.  If you have to, practice on a scrap piece of cardboard or wood ahead of time to get the feel of it.  The great thing about using the stencils from Royal Design Studio was that they have built in registration marks, which allow you to evenly space each section with ease.  Honestly, I’m not sure the project would be successful without them!

Stenciling in progress

I’m not going to lie, the stenciling took the better part of a day to complete!  However, the process became increasingly more satisfying with each completed section.

Close-up of stenciling

Once the entire piece was stenciled, I went back and applied an outdoor grade clear lacquer (Rustoleum) to seal in the indoor latex paint I used for the stencil.

To attach the project to the shed, I located the studs (via a studfinder, of course) and then created a homemade version of a “french cleat”.  Basically, it’s one piece of wood cut at a 45 degree angle lengthwise and then attach one of the pieces to the “wall” with the “V” facing upwards.  The other piece gets attached the opposite way on the object being hung. Slide the two pieces together and you will have an interlocking mount.  It’s cheap and easy enough to do and is strong enough to hold this project securely.

French Cleat detail

Here’s the final piece installed to the shed…

Rustic and pretty garden art!

I’m loving the fact that it’s an unexpected surprise in the garden.  Most of all, I’m loving the fact that it cost me less than $25 to make!  What do you think?

Feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions you may have below!  Thanks for reading!


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2 Responses to DIY’ing stencil style

  1. MINDY! Rock on with your bad self and your awesome blog! Love it! Can’t wait to see what you do with your hyper fusion heart thingy! ;} I’m so curious. Love and great job! ;}

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