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How To Stencil a Trompe l'Oeil Effect

Stencils can help create a trompe l'oeil effect for those do-it-yourselfers who aren't comfortable with freehand painting.

More in Decorating

create a trompe l'oeil effect with stencils
  • Time

    2 hours

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Procure a Stencil

Draw a design on prepasted wallpaper and cut it out. (Alternatively, you could use a purchased precut stencil or use an electric stencil-cutting pen to cut your own.)

Step 2: Sponge On the Background

With sea sponges (or a dry stencil brush), sponge the background, using acrylic glaze mixed with paint. Work from the outer edges toward center so that background is lighter in center (to offset central design element).

Step 3: Add More Detail

Do outlining and shading on outer edges using a flat artist brush or foam brush. (Image 1) Use a stencil brush (not dry) to hand-paint or stencil vase with flowers in the niche. Fill in the bridges (empty areas between stenciled areas) with a brush to achieve a handpainted look (Image 2).

Step 4: Finish the Effect

Apply one or two coats of acrylic clear-coat to seal. When complete, use paste to add Mylar or wallpaper to wall.