How to Be an A+ Stenciler

how to stencil jrv stencil

Who would have thought that a buffalo plaid stencil and a new stencil brush would make me feel like a rock star? Well, it has and I am bubbling up with excitement to share my story with you.

But first I have to tell you that I am a Jami Ray Vintage (JRV) Stencil Retailer.  When Jami Ray Vintage began to offer their stencils to local retailers I think I was the first order placed on their website.  I sent my order in the minute the lines opened. I became a retailer because I knew they had a great quality product.  The stencils are super thick and I can use them over and over for tons of projects.

Another reason I wanted to carry JRV Stencils was to support Zeb & Jami Ray and their family business.  Zeb & Jami Ray are an amazing couple who are raising five kids, thrifting, repurposing, painting furniture, restoring a farmhouse, and are now own a stencil company and a retail store.  They do it all, but the best part is they share what they know and learn along the way.  If you have not seen them on Jami Ray Vintage on YouTube check them out.  (Like and subscribe and do all the things.)  I know you will love their show, be inspired, and learn so much as I have.  Zeb has pretty much taught me all my basic carpentry skills and I am so grateful.

Now back to the buffalo plaid and a new stencil brush.  I have always been what I would say is a B- stenciler.  I love to stencil and have stenciled a bunch of things over the years, but have just not found success. Nothing ever came out perfect. I always had paint bleed-through from the stencil. I tried every type of stencil, adhesive, and stencil brush to help me, but nothing really helped. I just had resolved that I am not very good. But I did find tricks to hide my less than perfect stenciling and make it look okay. Thank goodness for the distressed look.  I always used a little 220 grit sandpaper and then no one would notice where I had problems.

Here are some pictures of my previous stenciling projects.

I used overlapping stencils here to hide less than crisp stenciling.

Lots of distressing used on these signs.

More distressing here, too.

In the past, I have used craft store stencils. They were so thin and worked for a project or two, but would easily get damaged and be useless.  When I learned about JRV Stencils  I knew they were super thick and better than any, I had used before.  Maybe I still could not stencil great, but I was okay with my final product as long as I had sandpaper.

All that changed when I painted (and stenciled) a little step stool.  The top of the step stool was not perfect and I felt a stencil would help to hide the imperfections.  I went through my stencils and the only one I have not yet tried was the JRV Stencil Buffalo Plaid. Ugh. This stencil was filled with a checkerboard and some of the squares had tiny diagonal stripes.  I was positive that this would not end in a crisp stenciling job and paint would ooze under it easily.  How could I hide this mess with sandpaper? I also had a new JRV large stencil brush I had not tried, but I was scared.  Brushes never worked for me no matter how much I off-loaded.  I had been using foam brushes to stencil for quite some time. I decided I should just try both.  If it was horrible I could always repaint it.

JRV Buffalo Plaid Stencil


I taped down the stencil with painters tape and got out my new large JRV Stencil brush.  I put some DIY Paint on my stencil brush and off-loaded it onto a paper plate and started.  I made sure to hold down the stencil with my other hand while I pounced the stencil brush up and down.  The moment of reveal I held my breath as I pulled the stencil away from the wood. I expected the worst but was amazed.  It was beautiful. I felt like a stenciling rock star.  I even called my mom to share the news.  Yep, I am a crafting dork.


Buffalo Plaid JRV Stencil on the step stool. Noel JRV Stencil on salvaged wood.


I owe it all to the products I used.  Using the JRV Stencil brush made the process go so quickly.  Somehow the brush can hold a lot of paint but doesn't release it all at once.  It always seemed to come off the brush in the perfect amount.  When the paint on the brush got low I reapplied.  The thick stencil helped it stay in place and also helped to eliminate the chance of paint going under the stencil.

JRV Stencil on Salvaged Window

JRV Stencil brush made by Paint Pixie Brushes

JRV Stencil & DIY Paint in White SwanThe final product on glass.


There was no stopping me now.  I stenciled everything that I could and was more impressed with how each time I removed the stencil the lines were crisp and perfect. The large brush also made stenciling go so much quicker. I am now even more grateful to be a JRV Stencil & Paint Pixie Brush retailer.  I still love stenciling, but now have so much better results and can complete my projects so much faster.

More stenciling I even stenciled a lampshade And an old bucket to hold a Christmas tree on my front porch.

Have you ever pulled off a stencil and been disappointed by the final result?  Are you interested in trying the JRV Stencils or Paint Pixie JRV stencil brushes for yourself?  Stop by my Project Shop Booth at Plaza Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Lincoln Park, MI.

I hope you will discover that an A+ stenciler was hiding inside of you, too.

Happy Stenciling!

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