Stencils & silhouettes - Aspen's room

Stencils & silhouettes - wall paint

Stencils & silhouettes - pom poms

My new friend, Heika DeHart, shared these images of her daughter Aspen’s adorable bedroom. Nearly every decoration in the room was created from scratch by Heika herself. My favorite project is the stunning dresser. I loved the result so much, I asked her to share her instructions. She tells how she made her own stencils, how she cut silhouettes of her daughter, and more. Thanks, Heika!

How to: Stenciled dresser


I bought this old dresser at a university auction for $15. It was structurally sound but in serious need of a face-lift. Paint and new knobs did the trick. Here’s how to do it:

Supplies and tools

  • sand paper or steel wool
  • paint roller and tray (if latex paint is used)
  • interior latex paint or spray paint
  • polyurethane clear finish (optional)
  • stencil adhesive spray
  • sponge paint brush
  • butcher paper
  • craft knife (such as an X-Acto knife)
  • overhead projector
  • glass drawer pulls

1. Prep
Remove all hardware, and take the drawers out of the dresser. Lightly sand all the surfaces that are going to be painted with low grit sandpaper or steel wool, which will help the new paint adhere better.

2. Paint
Two options for painting furniture that work well:

Latex interior paint: I recommend rolling it on rather than using a paintbrush where possible because the result is smoother. Use a foam brush to get in any tight corners or hard to reach places (dabbing paint on with a foam brush will give the same appearance as the rolled-on paint). For the dresser, place it on 2x4s or anything that will raise it off the ground so that you can easily paint all the way to the bottom. Coat everything twice or until it looks completely covered.

Spray paint: This is my preferred method of painting furniture. The only drawback is a limited color palette to choose from. After sanding, prep the dresser by taping over any surface you don’t want painted. The trick with spray paint is to stand back and try to achieve a light, consistent coat, which will minimize drips. It dries to a tacky phase in about 15 minutes and can be given multiple coats in a short period of time.

3. Make a stencil
Find a picture with simple lines, then transfer the image onto a clear overhead projection page. Tape a big piece of butcher paper onto the wall and project the image onto the paper. After measuring to make sure the image is the desired size, trace the outlines of the picture onto the paper. Then cut out the positive spaces of the stencil with a craft knife. You can also use a pre-made stencil. The Stencil Library has a huge selection.

4. Paint the stencil
When the paint on the dresser is completely dry, paint the stencil on. Lay the dresser on its back and replace the drawers, so the drawers face up. Spray stencil adhesive to the back of the stencil and place the stencil on the drawers. Tape off any exposed parts of the dresser front that you don’t want to be painted, then spray paint over the stencil. (Spray paint makes a much cleaner line than dabbing paint on, which inevitably bleeds under the stencil.)

5. Optional top coat
To give the paint a tougher kid-proof finish, paint a layer of polyurethane clear coat onto the dresser. It will keep the paint from getting scratched easily and will make cleaning  children’s messy fingerprints easier.

6. New hardware
The finishing touch for the makeover was new glass drawer pulls. Replacing hardware is a quick and easy way to update any piece of furniture.


How to make paper silhouettes


This was a simple, inexpensive project. I thought it would be sweet to have silhouettes of my daughter hanging on her wall but found it impossible to keep her still long enough to trace her outline. I settled on this solution. I found these simple frames at a dollar store. The entire project cost less than $10, but it adds a personal touch to her room. Here’s how to do it:

Supplies and tools

  • photographs
  • scrapbook paper
  • glue stick
  • white card stock
  • frames
  • double-sided tape
  • printer or photo copier
  • scissors

1. Search your photo collection to find images that are profile or silhouette shots. Copy or print them as large as possible on an 8-1/2- x 11-inches sheet of paper.

2. Tape the photo page and scrapbook paper back-to-back then cut out around shape of the child in the photo.

3. Glue the silhouettes onto white card stock and frame them.

Update: I found an awesome photo tutorial for making silhouettes using this same process at Simple Gifts. Check it out here.


How to stencil a wall


This project was quite time-consuming, but the final product was worth all of the work. I made this stencil the same way I did for the dresser. I originally saw this stencil painted on a wall in Domino magazine and fell in love with it. It is such an unusual and fun way of breaking up the wall space in a room. Here’s how to do it:

Supplies and tools

  • 2 shades of interior latex paint
  • paint roller and tray
  • photo paper
  • stencil paintbrush
  • craft knife (such as an X-Acto knife)
  • small tip artist paint brush
  • stencil adhesive spray
  • edging tools
  • measuring tape
  • level
  • masking tape
  • drop cloth
  • overhead projector

1. Make the stencil
Photocopy an image (I copied the page from Domino), then have the image transferred onto a clear overhead projector sheet. (I went to Kinko’s, but the sheets can also be run through regular copiers.) Measure the projected image to make sure it’s the desired height, then trace it onto photo paper (it’s thicker paper that holds up for multiple uses). The stencil should be at least 1-1/2 of the pattern length so that it’s easy to line up later. Cut out the negative space (light pink) of the stencil using a craft knife.

2. Pre-prep
Move furniture out of the way and cover with plastic. Cover floor with drop cloth.

3. Create a guide line
Measure up from the floor 3-1/2 feet. Using a level, tape off a line.

4. Painting walls
Paint the top half (light pink) first, from ceiling to the tape line. Use edging tools to make crisp lines at the ceiling and around moulding. Once it’s dry, remove the tape and paint the dark pink (again using edging tools around moulding) up to the light pink. (My stencil is about six inches tall, so I painted the dark pink a little more than six inches higher than where I wanted the stencil to start.)

5. Stencil
When the paint is completely dry, measure again and tape off a level line at three feet from the floor. Next spray the back side of the stencil with adhesive spray (the adhesive spray remains sticky enough to use the stencil many times before having to reapply it). Then line the stencil up with the top of the tape line and stick it to the wall. Using the light pink paint and a stencil paint brush, I stenciled around the entire room, making a border between the two colors of paint.

Tip: It’s difficult to keep paint from seeping under the edge of the stencil (even with adhesive spray), especially when the stencil is used repeatedly. I wanted the lines to be crisp because the two pinks were quite close in color. So, after the stenciling was dry, I took a fine tip artist brush and dark pink paint and touched up any splotches, where paint seeped under the stencil.

How to make tissue paper flowers


I can’t take any credit for these. I bought a Martha Stewart kit. Of course, once I found out how easy they are to make, I cursed myself for spending $20 on a kit when I could have just bought the tissue paper for $5 and made them entirely on my own. Oh well, live and learn.