5 Steps to Beautifully Stenciled Tiles

When we bought our home, I didn't love the basement.    It was a great room for kids to hang out, so it didn't need to feel like home, right?   Wrong.   Fast forward a year and a few baby steps and this room has become one of my favorites.   I love what a little paint and a little DIY can do. 

Just a few steps transformed this tile completely.   Gather your supplies and make a room you love

Here is a list of products you will need to get started (I have used affiliate links for the products I used):

TSP Cleaner


Masking Tape

Sanding Block

Roller and Foam Brush

Paint (I used leftovers.  Matte paint would be best-  I always love Behr from Home Depot)

Tile Stencil

Spray Adhesive

Small detail brush for touch ups


The first step is to clean your tile really well, using a heavy duty TSP cleaner (or similar).   Then using a sanding block, sand it to rough up the top, wipe it down once more with water and tape your edges.


Using a good primer is super important.   You will need 2-3 coats just to be sure it all stays put.   I waited about an hour between coats and made sure the coverage was super even.  I used this Zinsser 1-2-3 from Home Depot because I prefer working with water based.   For priming, I use inexpensive brushes and plan to throw them away after use.


I used some left over paint that I had from another project that was a satin finish, but everything I read says to use something matte.  Mine worked just fine, but if you are buying all new supplies, I would chose a flat, eggshell or even chalk paint.    I always swear by Behr Paint from Home Depot.  Amazing coverage, I wont ever use anything else!  I did 2 coats of the base color and let it dry overnight.

Base Paint: Behr Marquee - Crisp Linen - Satin

Base Paint: Behr Marquee - Crisp Linen - Satin


This is the big step and it was a little bit of a doozy.   When I started, I wasn't prepared with the right supplies.   First, choose a tile stencil.   I chose this one from Amazon and I was very happy with it.  Just be sure to order the correct size for your project.  My tiles are 12 inches, so I purchased the large size.

Again, I used leftover paint from another project (semi-gloss this time), but I think matte paint would have had less bleed.   I got started as soon as my stencil arrived, but I should have been prepared with the other neccesary supplies first.   They made a huge difference.

Stencil Paint Color: Behr Marquee - Unpredictable Hue - Semi Gloss

Stencil Paint Color: Behr Marquee - Unpredictable Hue - Semi Gloss

The thing the made the biggest difference is spray adhesive.  No matter how much tape I used, I could't get the lines as crisp as I hoped until I used adhesive. I gave it a good spray on the back every time before I set it down.  Game changer.

You can buy special stencil brushes and rollers too, but I think any small roller would work.  I preferred a small foam brush for the edges.  The trick is to barely use any paint.   You need to use a paper plate or something to off load the paint before applying in order to avoid the bleed around the edges.  You can go over the stencil several times to get the coverage you want, but the less paint on the brush, the better.

When I finished everything, I went around the edges with a small paintbrush to clean up with inevitable mistakes.   It wasa a little bit tedious but made the biggest difference. 

STEP 5: Top Coat

I knew I needed a UV resistant, non-yellowing topcoat that would protect and seal the paint.   Again, I went to my paint supplies and found what I needed.  I ended up using this Rustoleum Gloss in Clear.   I used 2 coats and I love the sheen it gave to the project and I think it's just the protection I was hoping for.   

It was a lot of work.  I like quick projects and this was more detail work than I imagined, but i am super happy with how it turned out.  If you have tile that could use a face lift, I say go for it!  

Wall Paint: Behr Marquee - Black Evergreen- Satin  Stencil Base Coat: Behr Marquee - Crisp Linen - Satin  Stencil Paint: Behr Marquee- Unpredictable Hue- Semi Gloss

Wall Paint: Behr Marquee - Black Evergreen- Satin

Stencil Base Coat: Behr Marquee - Crisp Linen - Satin

Stencil Paint: Behr Marquee- Unpredictable Hue- Semi Gloss

Paint The Walls (and save some cash!)

I have a lot to say about paint.  First, paint the walls!  All the walls----if it doesn't feel like YOUR home, paint the walls!  It changes everything.  We moved into a home we love that didn't need any improvements at all.   BUT, It's amazing what a coat of paint can to do change a space to match your style.   

Sherwin Williams- Dover White

 Even if the paint color is just fine as it is, changing it to something you LOVE will make it feel like a haven, and that my friends, is pretty important.  

Sherwin Williams- Dover White

I have painted many rooms in my day.  Once, I convinced a landlord to let me paint by telling him I was a very clean and meticulous painter.   Which is false.   Sometimes I get giant drips on the floor or in my hair and always everywhere else head to toe.   But when the walls need paint, you gotta do what you gotta do.  Sorry I lied.  I was desperate.  Goo Gone Painters Pal is my hero.

Valspar (Lowe's)- Adobe Blush

I used to think paint was paint.   I tried paint from Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Fred Meyer and Sherwin Williams.   I have started biting the bullet and buying higher quality paint every time--turns out it saves so much time AND money to get the good stuff.    I crossed Walmart and Fred Meyer off my list pretty fast. 

Behr Marquee (Home Depot)- Charcoal Blue

I tried Lowes (Valspar) top of the line paint and it was good---about $45/gallon.  I definitely needed 2 coats everywhere but it was good quality paint with a good finish.   I would use it again, but it wasn't my favorite.  

Behr Marquee (Home Depot)- Village Green

Then I decided to paint my entire kitchen and living area.  I knew is was a huge job so I wanted to have the BEST paint.  So, I went to the pros at Sherwin Williams.  I went during a SALE, so I didn't have to sell my kidney to paint my walls.   I bought a 5 gallon bucket and it was $300 (that's 30% off the regular price).   Yikes.   I was hopeful that it would be enough to do the area I was working on.   Wrong-o.   I can't stress how unimpressed I was.  I thought SW was #1?  I am sure its great it a sprayer for the pros, but I found myself needing 3 coats everywhere, 4 coats some places.    I ate up that 5 gallon bucket a quarter through my project.

Sherwin Williams- Dover White

This is where Home Depot comes in.  After spending WAY too much time applying coat after coat trying to get even coverage, I went to Home Depot to try to color match in the Behr Marquee Line that I've used many times before--about $45/gallon.   Dude.  Game Changer.   The marquee line has guaranteed one coat coverage if you choose a Marquee color--did you catch that?  Guaranteed.  Since I was color matching a Sherwin Williams color, it was not guaranteed, but I knew I could count on better coverage, 2 coats at the most.     After switching, the project flew by.   I have been tackling rooms ever since.   I think I am on gallon 17 and going strong.   

Behr Marquee (Home Depot)- Crisp Linen

The moral of the story is to PAINT THE WALLS!    I will take less time than you are thinking and you won't regret it.   If at all possible, buy Behr paint at Home Depot (They even have Sherwin Williams colors in their database to match).    This isn't sponsored in any way, I am just a DIY addict and a major believer.     I'm rooting for you--make that house your own!