5th Grade Makeup Project

I recently decided the corner of my office needed some color. The white walls were glaring at me, but I couldn’t hang an expensive piece of artwork there. I needed to paint something myself.

…And since we’ve determined that painting is not one of my fortes, I decided to try a stenciling project.

…However, in addition to my lack of painting skills, I should also admit that I’ve always had some anxiety related to stenciling. It is one of the few D’s I remember receiving in school.

I was in fifth grade, and I’d never received a D before, never mind in Art class. What’s up with that?! Apparently I didn’t follow instructions, and my work was messy. When I asked my teacher about it, she pointed to the paint I had brushed beyond the stencil borders.

Yes, well… I could see how that was a basic stenciling requirement.

35+ years later, I felt ready to try again, and I promised myself to be very patient with the process.

And even though I was feeling some pressure with such a structured craft, picking out the colors and paint still allowed me to be creative.

I used Martha Stewart Satin Craft Multi-Surface paints in a combination of blues:

  • Base: Deep Sea #32081
  • Light: Summer Haze #32023
  • Dark: Blue Sky #32021

The steps for stenciling are simple (Sure!):

  1. Paint the canvas with the base color. Allow it to dry completely.
  2. Place the clean stencil onto the dry canvas to plan the stencil location. If you are planning a symmetrical design, measure evenly between each stencil placement or use multiple stencils.
  3. Use masking tape to lightly secure the stencil to the painted canvas. Use as little tape as possible.
  4. Dab the stencil brush into the paint.
  5. Dab the stencil brush onto your palette (or a scrap piece of paper) until the excess paint is removed.
  6. Dab the paint onto the stencil, starting from the stencil border and brushing in towards the center. Do not brush outward.
  7. Take your time. Breathe.

Of course, you might want to search for more accurate instructions from a pro (Not someone who is permanently scarred from fifth grade art class!). I also recommend practicing your stencil technique beforehand on a piece of paper like I did.

This combination of blues turned out to be exactly what I wanted. The colors are calming, and the satin finish absorbs light instead of reflecting it. I am happy with how it turned out…and I’m crossing my fingers for a B this time around.


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