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Joy St. Germain : How to Stencil on a Vinyl Roller Shade

Easy decorative stenciling idea!

How to Decorative Paint Stencil on a Vinyl Roller Shade

By Joy St. Germain

Pink flowers stenciled on a vinyl roller shade.Adding a decorative stencil to a vinyl roller shade is an easy but often overlooked decorating idea. Most people see white vinyl shades as somewhat plain and boring. However, they're a blank canvas to anyone that likes to stencil.

You can stencil on vinyl so don't throw out that old vinyl shade. Instead pick out a decorative stencil, add some bright acrylic paint and give your shade a colorful makeover. This is an easy re-decorating project that you can do whether you live in a home or an apartment.

Tools & Supplies Used

  • Vinyl Roller Shade
  • Tape
  • Liquitex Basic Acrylics
  • Americana Acrylic
  • Krylon Sealer
  • Patio Paint
  • Stencil
  • Stencil Brushes
  • Optional: Hair Dryer

Project Instructions

Step 1

Step 1

Center the stencil on the roller shade and tape off the areas that are going to be painted in a different color.

Step 2

Step 2

Using a swirling motion push the paint into the vinyl. Use a very dry stencil brush and repeat until you get the color that you want.

Step 3

Step 3

Once the leaves are stenciled remove the tape from the other areas and allow to dry. You can speed up drying with a hand-held hair dryer.

Step 4

Step 4

Tape off the stenciled leaves before you start your next color.

Step 5

Step 5

Use the same technique of pushing the paint into the vinyl with a dry stencil brush.

Step 6

Step 6

This is the most important step. When your stencil is completely dry spray it with 2-3 light coats of matte sealer. This will protect the paint from coming off.

Tips & Techniques

This was a fun project to try just to see if painting on a vinyl shade would work. I started out by purchasing old roller shades at thrift stores and yard sales. Then I scrubbed the shades down with soap and water and got started.

I experimented with four different types of paint and a couple of sealers to see what worked and what didn't. Painting on vinyl is a little tricky since the paint doesn't necessarily want to adhere to vinyl. You kind of have to force it. However, I found that using a very dry stencil brush and pushing the paint into the vinyl in a swirling motion works. I also used a hand-held hair dryer to speed up the drying process in between colors.

I stenciled my thrift store roller shades with a variety of different stencils and paints. Next I let the newly stenciled, dry, roller shades, sit, rolled up for two months just to see if the paint would come off. Not all of the paint I tried worked. Some if it smudged onto the back of the roller shade.

What I discovered is that no matter what acrylic paint you decide to go with the most important part of this project is to seal your finished stencil with clear matte sealer. This is what will hold in the paint and also prevent it from smudging onto the back of shade when it's rolled up.

Here's what worked

Liquitex Basics acrylics: Since I'm a huge fan of Liquitex Basics acrylics I had to see if it was versatile enough to stencil on vinyl and it is. What I really like about this paint is that its thick, smooth and has bold colors. Plus you can add basic white to any color to create a lighter tone for shading. In my opinion it worked the best of any of the paints I tried.

American acrylics and DecoArt: I think that they both worked fine. They're a thinner paint than Basics but, by applying the paint in small amounts with a dry brush you get good results.

DecoArt Patio Paint: I've used patio paints for stenciling on terra cotta so I just had to give them a try. This is a waterproof paint that reacts a little different and it does have limitations. While they come in bright colors they're not made for blending like acrylic paint. I found that they work well if you using one or two colors with no shading needed.

Stencil Creme: This paint didn't work at all. No matter how dry I applied the creme or how long I let it sit. I didn't get good results. Stencil cremes are oil-based and oil and vinyl don't mesh. The paint sat on top of the vinyl shade and was easily smudged.

How to fix mistakes

Start by wiping off your painting mistake immediately. Sometimes Windex or mild cleanser in small amounts works best.

However, if you can't wipe off the paint you might be able to fix it by shortening the roller shade. This is provided that you've only stenciled a border a few inches up and have enough shade left. Once you've cut the shade a few inches shorter you'll need to rehem the bottom of the shade. Carpet tape works great for creating a new hem for a vinyl shade. •

© 2010 Joy St. Germain. All rights reserved.

Joy St. GermainJoy St. Germain started The Wildwood Cottage out of her love for art, stenciling and crafts. She's a hands on "Do It Yourselfer" that enjoys creating new and unique crafts. More »

8/28/10