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Stenciling the Laundry Nook

By House*Tweaking on Nov 09, 2012

What. A. Week. We’re rounding out our second week of HH being away. Being a single parent to three kids is no joke. It’s busy, chaotic and exhausting but I’m grateful to be able to stay home with the kids while HH is traveling so there is some stability and consistency in our house. I have so much respect for single parents!

So, yeah, the kids have been my priority and the blog has taken a back seat. As if you didn’t notice. To remain sane, I’ve had to limit my time online. Ma’am, step away from the computer.  I hope you understand. I couldn’t end the week without a little update though.

After repainting the mudroom {funny how it seemed like such a chore before I worked up the gumption to do it and now it seems like eons ago even though it’s only been six days since I repainted} I wanted to give the laundry nook a little flair. I’m all about making the mundane feel less so. I figure if I’m going to spend a lot of time washing/drying/folding clothes, then I might as well make the most of it!

I decided to DIY a stenciled pattern to the laundry nook wall. I didn’t want it to be a WOW! statement but was looking for more of a subtle surprise. So when I’m standing there doing one of the 8+ loads of laundry that I do weekly I can look at it and smile. I thought a graphic pattern in a tone-on-tone color scheme would be best. I chose this stencil and used leftover trim paint in semi-gloss Benjamin Moore White Dove to DIY the patterned wall.

The stencil arrived rolled up so I used a hair dryer and heavy design books, of course, to flatten it as best I could. {I didn’t remove the stencil from its packaging upon arrival like you’re supposed to. Oops but no biggie. I’m blaming it on the kids.} Sorry for the poor lighting. I attacked this project one night after all three kids were tucked in bed and I’m still learning the whole ‘white balance’ thing on my camera.

Just as I was setting up, a black cat made an appearance outside the door. My immediate thought was ‘uh oh, a black cat just crossed my path.’ Bad omen? I considered backing out but decided to snap a picture of the cat instead. That way, if the project turned out to be a disaster I had a legit excuse. Haha.

I hung the stencil with painter’s tape after measuring to find the center of the wall. The stencil came with a nifty little level that you can rest on the top of the stencil to make sure you don’t end up with a pattern that slopes off to one side. I was pleasantly surprised to find that where the wall met the ceiling was already level so I used that as my guide.

To apply the paint, I loaded a small foam roller then rolled the foam roller onto a stack of 2-3 paper towels until the roller was nearly dry. This is key in avoiding excess paint slipping behind the stencil and onto parts of the wall that you aren’t stenciling. As you can see, there were a few pieces of the stencil that still weren’t lying perfectly flat against the wall. On those areas, I made sure to roll opposite the stencil {i.e., down} so paint wouldn’t seep behind the stencil.

To check that things were going according to plan, I peeled back the stencil for a peek. Nice.

I moved the stencil down and lined it up with the already painted pattern on the wall. The stencil was smarter than me and it was really easy to overlap the stencil onto a previously painted area to keep the process going. FYI – The stencil also came with a clever, smaller top stencil for filling in that gap at the top of the wall.

HH and I have plans to disguise the washer/dryer/water valves with a reclaimed wood countertop and hanging curtain so there was no need to extend the stencil all the way to the floor.

Once I had the center of the wall completed, I worked my way to the edges. Here’s where things got a little squirrelly. If it hadn’t been for those pesky wall cabinets, things would have gone more smoothly. But HH was out of town and I wasn’t about to try my hand at taking down two wall cabinets on my own. My only option was to stencil around them. Basically, I treated the cabinets as wall corners bending the stencil into the corner and around. But I had difficulty getting the stencil to stay in place while I rolled so I ended up holding the stencil with one hand and rolling with the other. Hence, no third hand for pictures of this step. And, yes, I did stand on the dryer. Nothing bad happened but I wouldn’t recommend it. Do as I say not as I do.

Once I had stenciled all that I could, I used a tiny paint brush {stolen from my kids’ art supplies} to draw in the pattern right up to the corners and cabinets. It was tedious but necessary and really didn’t take that long to do. When the paint dried, I went back with my tiny paint brush and some of the wall paint {BM Halo} to polish up the pattern. As hard as I tried, some paint did slip behind the stencil but it was easy to paint back over with the wall color. Like it never even happened.

This is what I was left with…

It’s not perfect but the pattern works like an optical illusion so the imperfections blend in.

I’m really happy with how it turned out. I especially like the tone-on-tone, semi gloss-on-eggshell effect. It makes the pattern look like it’s glowing.

Here’s the final product in daylight…

Again, this laundry nook is far from done {wood countertop with a feature to cover the water shut off and electrical outlets, hanging curtain to hide the washer/dryer, some open shelving between the cabinets, maybe a mirror in there somewhere} but the stencil adds a nice layer to the space. Laundry just got a little more fun.

What about you? Is there anything you’ve done to turn the mundane into something marvelous?

Cutting Edge Stencils sent me the African kuba allover stencil for a product review. All images, labor and thoughts are my own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

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