If you’ve recently fitted a new kitchen and have decided its looking rather uninspired, or if you just want to give an existing kitchen a make-over, then having stenciled kitchen cabinets could be the answer. In deciding to apply stenciled pictures to your cabinets you’ll also probably be committing to re-painting them, so that you’ve got a nice clean surface to work on, which will also help to brighten up the kitchen.
Preparing Cabinets for Stenciling
With the best will in the world, in the case of having old kitchen cabinets, they will probably have marks and stains on them that would make working with stencils awkward and less effective. So, unless the cabinets are new, or have been very recently painted; you’d be well advised to sand them down, prime them and then paint them. This will give you a good uniform surface to work on with the stencils.
If you wish to you can use the same color throughout the kitchen or any combination of colors you fancy. Alternatively, if the cabinets are made from a natural wood you could, of course simply sand them down, apply the stencils and then varnish all over the cabinet.
Positioning the Stencils
Not everyone is blessed with having an eye or a hand good enough to design and draw their own artwork. Using a stencil designed by someone else is an ideal way to add pictures and graphics to your kitchen cabinets in order to refresh them.
It’s entirely your choice whether you use just one stencil and keep repeating a pattern or have lots of stencils to create a montage of images; whichever you decide on you can be confident that every time you use the stencil you’ll get a perfectly reproduced image every time.
Without an artists ‘eye’ you’ll also need to plan ahead what the layout or positions that you’re going to use the stencils in will be. If you’re after a repeating pattern you might need to mark the height at which to place the stencil each time.
If you’re using a variety of stencils it’s be a good idea to have a plan and to mark where the different images will go on the kitchen cabinets. Some packets of kitchen cabinet stencils will even give you some guidance on positioning the stencils to get the best effect from them.
Basics of Using Stencils
Most stencils these days are made from plastic and so are unlikely to tear in use. You can use inks or paints to color in the stenciling area, although on kitchen cabinets using paints will both look better and be done quicker. The paint can be applied by a brush, spray-can or even a sponge.
Dependant on the size and shape of the stencil it might be a good idea to ‘mask off’ the area around the stencil, especially if using spray cans, to avoid paint being deposited outside of the stenciling area.
To begin with, concentrate the paint around the edges of the stencil, taking care not to go underneath it; then work the paint into the middle of the stencil. Dependant on the effect you’re after either maintain a constant brush pressure for a ‘solid’ looking color, or vary the pressure to get a ‘faded’ effect. If you’re re-using a stencil, make sure any paint on the underside of it is either dry or cleaned off.
A common theme for stenciled kitchen cabinets is to use images and graphics of various foods. You could take this sort of theme a step further and stencil onto the cabinets images that reflect their contents. I’ll leave you to guess the stencils I’ve got on my ‘pots and pans’ cabinet, ‘jars and packets’ cabinet and ‘plates and dishes’ cabinet. However, on the cabinet door that has the kitchen bin in it, I’ve got a stencil of some – freesias.
Photo: Felipe Venâncio, Creative Commons License