Wall stencils are one of the fastest ways to create a fresh new look for your home. You can use simple one-color techniques or complex methods of layering various colors of paint onto your walls. Stencils help defray decorating costs and can be modified to customize your designs.
Free Decorative Wall Stencils
The wall stencils below are free for you to use for your projects. Print them off and follow the easy instructions below on how to turn these or your own designs into stencils. Once cut-out, these stencils can be used over and over. Simply click on the images below for a printable PDF file. If you need help downloading the printable stencils, check out helpful tips.
How to Turn Designs Into Stencils
Before you begin, make sure you have the necessary tools.
- Craft knife or Xacto™ knife
- Mylar (polyethylene), acetate or stencil board
- Masking tape
- Felt tip pen, such as a Sharpie®
- Cutting mat or plate glass
You can make just about any pattern or design into a stencil. Be sure you don't infringe on copyrights when doing this. Select the pattern you want to recreate for your own purpose. If you have found a free online design, save it and do a test printout.
Once you have the size you need, either print it off or have a local printing company print it off for you. If you opt for the latter, save yourself a step by having an acetate print made as well as the paper one.
How to Create a Stencil
To create an acetate stencil, find a smooth cutting surface. A hard surface like marble or glass is the best choice.
- Using masking tape, secure the paper design onto the cutting surface.
- Tape the acetate sheet over the design.
- Make sure both paper sheets are secure and don't slip when pressure is applied.
You can use either an Xacto™ knife or a stencil burner. Most stencil makers opt for the burner since it's much easier to use. With an Xacto™ knife, you must be able to turn the material you're cutting, since you need to pull the blade toward you. It can be difficult to cut curved designs.
A stencil burner can be used in the same manner as you would use either a pencil or pen. The stencil burner melts the acetate away from the design, giving you a clean and easy method for cutting smooth edged stencils.
- Tape the stencil pattern to the cutting board.
- Tape the Mylar or acetate sheet over the pattern.
- Be sure to leave a 2-inch board around the entire design for easier taping to your wall.
You are now ready to trace the stencil pattern onto the Mylar with a Sharpie permanent marker.
If you choose to use stencil board for your stencil instead of Mylar or acetate, you'll need a piece of carbon paper to transfer the design onto the board.
- Place the carbon paper face down onto the stencil board.
- Tape the carbon paper securely onto the stencil board.
- Tape the stencil pattern on top of the carbon paper.
- Using a pencil, trace the outline of the pattern. This will transfer the design through the carbon paper onto the stencil board.
- Once you've completed tracing the stencil pattern, remove the tape and lift the design and carbon paper from the stencil board.
You're now ready to cut the stencil board to create your new stencil template
Find More Free Wall Stencils
There are a few more sites on the Internet that allow you to download and print your own free wall stencils.
- Spray Paint Stencils has the largest selection of free stencils. You can choose from hundreds of free stencils that are divided into 34 categories. You can download and use these stencils for personal and even commercial projects as long as you follow the site's terms of usage.
- Fashion Frog offers a wide range of free downloadable stencils that range from floral to animal.
Wall stencils are a fun way to decorate and show off your artistic nature. Many of the available designs can be used in lieu of wallpaper. It's far cheaper and easier to redecorate when you only have to repaint instead of stripping old wallpaper off the walls. You also have a wider choice of colors and designs when you decide to use a free wall stencil since the only limitation you have is your own creativity.