Create a new Project Collection to add or add it to one of your existing collections.
How to Stencil Stairs
Karen Duggan - Bradford, PA

Hardwarian Karen Duggan

Horns True Value Hardware

Bradford, PA

How to Stencil Stairs

Level: Experienced

If you want a unique feature that can customize your staircase, look no further than stenciling your stair risers. If you have an afternoon, some stencils and some paint you can easily update your stairs to really make them pop. Here’s how.

Share this project
Print
Project Steps
Project Shopping List
    • Step 1. Choose a Stencil Design
       

      Plan your project before you start. Choose a stencil design. Shop around for stencils or create your own. Pick a stencil design out of a book or magazine. Or check wallpaper sample books for great stencil design ideas. You can use a scanner to enlarge or reduce your chosen design as needed. Remember to first measure your risers so you choose the correct dimensions. Use a measuring tape to determine the needed dimensions. Trace the design onto a 7-mil Mylar® sheet or clear plastic file folder with a marking pen. The clear plastic or Mylar sheets work well for stencils because their transparency makes it easier to align your pattern as you move the stencil along when painting.

      Use a craft knife to carefully cut along the outlines of the pattern so the paint can be applied through the stencil to the stair risers. Use a hole-punch to create registration marks in each corner of the stencil. These will help guide your work across the riser and keep your design consistent.

    • Step 2. Prepare the Riser Surface
       
      foam brushes

      Prep each stair. Before stenciling your stair risers, prepare your work area by covering what you don’t want painted and prepping the surface you do want painted.

      Wipe the stair risers and treads with a clean, damp cloth or rag to remove dust and debris. For especially dirty surfaces, clean with a mild household cleaner or wood cleaner. Fill in cracks, dents or holes with wood putty, following all manufacturer instructions.

      You will cover each tread as you go with a piece of cardboard or other scrap material, cut approximately to fit the tread, to protect it from any spills or splatter. Cover any other surface adjacent to the risers you want to protect with painter’s tape.

      If your risers are stained or painted, you have some other steps to tackle as well. The surface of stained risers needs to be sanded before painting. You must remove the gloss from the finish in order for your painted stencil design to adhere properly to the wood. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to scuff the top layer of finish. By lightly sanding the risers, you can remove the gloss finish just enough that your stencil paint adheres, but also makes it possible to remove the paint because it won’t absorb all the way into the wood below. Use a damp cloth or tack cloth to remove all sanding dust.

      Painted risers also need to be sanded lightly so you can prime them and paint them, if your design calls for stencils over a painted base color. When priming, use True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Primer/Sealer. Apply with a small or medium-sized paintbrush. You can also skip priming and paint with EasyCare Ultra Premium Paint/Primer in One in whatever base color your stencil calls for.

      Safety Alert!

      Wear safety glasses and a dust mask when sanding.

    • Step 3. Position Stencils
       
      painters tape

      Tape your stencil in place. Starting at the highest riser, double-check that your stencils fit the riser dimensions correctly. Put your stencil in place and use a pencil to note the location of the registration marks to help guide you across the riser surface. Tape the stencil into place with painter’s tape at the corners.

    • Step 4. Start Stenciling
       

      Make sure your stencil is tight against the riser surface. Paint within your stencils using a small paintbrush or foam brush and EasyCare® Ultra Premium Paint/Primer in One. Fill just the tip of the brush with paint and lightly paint into the cut-out area of the stencil, making sure you paint a little bit over the cut-out edges to create a crisp outline of the stencil image. Once you’ve filled in a stencil with paint, carefully pull the stencil away from the riser. If you didn’t achieve the results you wanted, wipe away the paint with a rag and start over. Clean any excess paint off of the stencil front and back. Repeat the process, using the registration marks as a guide, until you’re satisfied with the results. Continue in this fashion until you’ve completed your design. Let the paint dry for the recommended amount of time on the paint can label.

    • Step 5. Protect Your Work
       
      polyurethane

      Seal the risers to protect your stencils.Using a clear water-based polyurethane sealant, apply it with a small roller applicator. Follow all manufacturer instructions on the label.

      That’s it! You’ve stenciled your stairs and created a custom focal point out of your staircase.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at TrueValue.com and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

    60 character limit.

$7 Instant Savings

×

On all paint and stain through June 23rd, 2015. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

PAINT SALE - $5 FOR A QUART OF EASYCARE PAINT

×

Buy a quart of EasyCare Ultra Premium paints for $5 through October 6th, 2015. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

 

Paints ranked by a leading consumer magazine for various qualities. Results varied by sheen. EasyCare was priced lower than those in top ten ranking based on published retail values at time of testing.

Buy One Get One Free

×

On a gallon of EasyCare and WeatherAll paints, and Woodsman stain through July 19, 2016. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

$5 off Paint Sale!

×

On a gallon of EasyCare and WeatherAll paints, and Woodsman stain through September 27, 2016. For a location near you call 1-800-6-Hardware or 1-800-642-7392. Available while supplies last. Offer available at participating stores. Product, prices, and promotion period may vary. True Value retailers are independently owned and operated and may decide to opt out of the promotion.

Questions? Comments?

Contact Us