This project goes down in the books as not a Pinterest fail! In fact, we love the finished product. It was an overall inexpensive, quick and EASY fix for our quirky little kitchen. I’ll tell you some of the tips I learned and show you my stenciling technique below. I’ll also share what to consider before stenciling your own floor, along with some before-and-after pics.
DIY Floor Stencil Job
Let me start by saying my kitchen is 10′ x 6′ and the dingy peel-and-stick tile floor wasn’t doing it any favors. We have high hopes to eventually gut the kitchen and open it up a bit, but I wanted to make it feel a little nicer for the time. It feels so much cleaner and brighter since tackling this weekend DIY stencil paint project.
Things to Consider First
- Make sure you like it. Try it first somewhere inconspicuous or temporary before committing.
- It’s not a substitute for tile. It won’t look exactly like tile, so be clear that’s not your expectation. And you probably don’t want to ruin perfectly good tile if you’re happy with yours. I do think it’s a fun project that makes a statement – not many people I’ve talked to even knew it was possible to stencil your floor.
- Have patience for tedium. It’s easier than tiling, but you will need some physical mobility for crawling around small spaces and being in the details.
- Plan. Although this could be done in a weekend or even less time, the hardest part is keeping traffic out in between dry times. With several coats/layers to apply, make sure you have meals prepped and WET PAINT signs posted to avoid treading on your fresh paint. The kitchen is especially hard, being the heart of the home. Not to call anyone out, but someone actually did walk across our floor while it was wet. Pretty sure it was someone with small feet. 😉 Luckily I hadn’t stenciled yet, so we just painted over it. Not a big deal at all. Just something to keep in mind before diving in head first.
- Pick a stencil you can live with. Spend time picking the right stencil and colors. It can be very busy looking, so you’ve gotta like it. See what it looks like repeated in a pattern. See what it looks like both up close and zoomed out. If you missed me belaboring the decision of my tile pattern, you can catch up on that over here.
Go for it! If you’ve thought about 1-5 and are still thinking yes to this, do it! It’s just paint after all.
Your votes were fun to tally. Here they were. At first people were voting for the black background the most. I kept debating going that direction because it would add a lot of drama.
|Option A with green||20%|
|Option B with green||6.67%|
|Option A with silver and green||13.33%|
|Option B with silver and green||6.67%|
|Option A with silver||13.33%|
|Option B with silver||40%|
I was actually leaning toward Option B with silver and green, which didn’t get much love from you guys. I tried forging ahead with those colors, and I do not recommend using more than one color. Bah! I was so young, so starry-eyed, so naive just a couple long weeks ago… Let me just say my first attempt was not pretty. The multiple paint brushes, all different colors bleeding out from the stencil. I decided to start back at square one (literally) and keep things simple with just tan and white. More power to you if you have the patience and can pull multiple colors off. Most people ended up voting for the white and silver option, and I think you guys were dead on with keeping it clean and simple and bright! It makes the room look a whole lot bigger too.
Before and Afters
You will need:
- Stencil the desired size of your “tiles”
- Stencil adhesive (optional but recommended)
- Small paint roller
- Regular sized paint roller if redoing the base color
- Paint in desired color(s)
- Painter’s tape
- Paint tray
- Clear seal coat finish
- Nylon paint brush
Here’s the stencil adhesive spray I used. It helped tremendously in keeping the stencil in place while rolling over it. It makes your stencil slightly tacky and secures it, but is easy to pry up. Spray it on one side only. Let sit for a couple minutes, then stick down in place. You can use time and time again without needing to respray.
All you’ll need to do is thoroughly clean your floor. Stick painter’s tape around anything you don’t want painted. Then if you want to cover the existing base tile, paint two coats of whatever color of whatever kind of paint you want. If you don’t have squares (If you’re painting on concrete or subfloor or something else) your stencil may come with an additional grout line stencil so you can paint in faux grout lines later.
I started by cutting in the edges and the grout lines with a paint brush.
Using a regular roller, here’s the first base coat in tan.
After that dries, apply your second coat. Here’s where an extension pole for your roller might come in handy. Don’t paint yourself into a corner!
Once that’s all dry, you can start stenciling with your second color! Make sure some are dry before lining up new ones next to them. Plan your route. I started with the biggest squares and saved the edges of the room for last; I needed to cut my stencil down to size. I’d recommend wearing socks anytime you need to step on the floor at this point.
How to Paint your Floor Stencil
You may be intimidated to start like I was, but it’s really simple. The key here is to remember less is more. When you dip your mini roller into the paint, first roll it onto a paper towel to get excess paint off. There should be hardly any paint left on your roller. That’s what my stencil directions told me, and I’m telling it to you. Use way less paint than you think! The last thing you want is for it to seep out and look sloppy.
Here I’m showing you the technique for rolling your paint. Press firmly and cover your stencil completely.
Here I’m showing you how to peel your stencil up. Remove it right away and quickly. Repeat, working your way around the room. I went inside to outside, making sure I always had somewhere to stand. I’d save the small nooks for the end so you can cut your stencil to fit. Bending the stencil doesn’t work well.
Tip: My stencil came with little guide marks for starting the next square. I’d say to ignore those or cut them off the stencil entirely. It’s really hard to match each square up perfectly to the ones around it, and those guides only made it harder for me and I was painting over them multiple times. Personal preference.
Sealing your Floor
Alright, you’ve spent all that time stenciling your floor and it looks great. Now to seal coat it. I recommend this fast drying, gloss finish from safecoat. It’s nontoxic and low VOC. Which is great for somewhere like the kitchen where you won’t have to worry about getting chemicals on your food. 5 second rule!
Application and Maintenance
It was really easy to apply. 3 coats is recommended: Recoat after 4 hours, then allow 24 hours after the third coat before heavy traffic. Use a nylon paint brush. I only needed one quart. It says one gallon covers 250 square feet. They also say not to do this in high humidity. Oops. I picked probably the most humid week of the year thus far. Keep your air conditioning on if this is a summer project for you. In reality, you’ll probably need to get into the fridge or something, so just wear socks if it’s dry to the touch.
It is water-based so I’m hoping it holds up to cleaning. I’ll probably hand wash rather than use our floor steamer. It says it’s highly durable though so we’ll see. The maintenance directions say to wash with damp mop and water.
Bingo bango. The floor now looks shiny and sparkling clean! In the end, this project was totally worth it. Joe was initially skeptical of me starting, but now that he sees the finished product, I think he likes it even more than I do!
Now I’m thinking about adding a jute rug and making some different curtains… But first to touch up the cabinets and trim. It’s going to look like a brand new kitchen to us.
My verdict is two thumbs up. This was a great facelift for our kitchen floor. It’s definitely not perfect if you look closely, but it’s worlds better than before. However, it makes me a little leery of tackling a full kitchen remodel – I was sick of policing the kitchen and going out for meals by the end of the weekend and I cooked up a storm after it was all done. I’ll let you know how it holds up to wear and tear, but the beautiful thing is – it doesn’t have to! Definitely a good temporary solution for us, and maybe even a good permanent solution for you. I might even be feeling bold enough to stencil a wall someday!