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Chalk this up to false confidence brought on by the likes of our Martha and Pinterest….but there are some things that should just be left to the professionals. Painting stencils – particularly intricate ones – turns out to be one of those things.

A long time dream of mine has been to have an orange bathroom. Not some mamby-pamby tangerine creamsicle…I’m talking all-out, “is that tropical sunshine?”, bold orange. Tempered, of course, by a soft, neutral grey(please excuse the paint supplies)

tAB - paint (1)We painted an accent wall in the larger part of the bathroom, and mirrored the same one-orange-wall theme in the toilet-room. (Not sure that’s the correct term, but it’s accurate!) We have one of those galley-toilet-rooms, just wide enough to sit, but not much else. This means decor is sparing – as in, only one shelf of necessities and niceties, as to not overwhelm the tiny space. Though the painting went well over all (in HUGE part because Emily selflessly helped), I couldn’t help but think that there needed to be some sort of decoration or tie-in between the colors, particularly in the toilet room. I had a feeling this would happen, so I was readily armed with a slew of stencils — thanks to this Pinspiration:

PinspirationMy stencils were mandala-esque, very intricate, and very very pretty. Like the inspiration, I planned to group similar patterns in varying colors — but keeping it all tonal and in the family. On the orange wall, I planned to use the grey, a darker grey, and white; on the grey walls, the darker grey, orange and white. I had a great idea. And I was excited and motivated. My results, however, left rather a lot to be desired.

I was super excited to blog about this project, but once I realized what a fail it was becoming, I stopped taking pictures. To be honest, I’ve already painted over my mistakes, and this post is the only place they’ll be known. I think I’m going to live with my walls as-is for a bit before I decide whether or not to attempt stenciling again. I know there are less-permanent, easier-to-use options like wall decals, but if you’ve learned anything about me over the course of this blog, you know that I’m an experience and commitment kind of gal. No removable, repositionable, temporary wall decor for me!

And, though it seems like it’s trendy now, wall stenciling has been around ever since people have had houses with walls to be decorated! There are some references to early 100s AD Chinese stenciling used to replicate designs on fabrics, and later on screens and walls. And, as most other trends also traveled, stenciling soon came to Europe – where heraldry and other illustrations became easier to replicate. Suzanne Korn’s website has a great history of Early American Stenciling in New England. Also, a little stiff (but pretty pictures!), is Keystone Preservation Group’s “Analysis of Early Wall Stencils and Selected Historic Interior Finishes / Roseberry House, Phillipsburg, NJ”.

Stenciling is an art, folks. Not to be taken lightly. Or to be globbed on the wall.