Stencilling on Fabric

How to Stencil on Fabric

Stencilling on fabric is a great skill to have because once you master it, the DIY home decor projects are endless. In this tutorial, we'll go over how you can best adhere a stencil to fabric, the best types of paint to use for stencilling on fabric, how to avoid paint bleed when stencilling, plus other tips + tricks for stencilling on this versatile medium.

  Estimated Project Time  

It will depend on the scope of the project. If you're making a DIY sign, it will take you less than 15 minutes from start to finish.

What You'll Need:

  • A stencil of your choice (View our Stencil Collection here)
  • An application tool, such as a sponge or stencil brush
  • Paint
  • Spray adhesive
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Paper towels or a rag
  • Painter's tape
  • Scissors

Step-by-Step Instructions





Prepare the surface for your project. Wash your fabric as indicated on the instructions label and make sure it's completely dry before beginning your stencilling project. If need be, iron your fabric before beginning.


Secure your stencil in place. The biggest problem you'll face with stencilling is paint bleeding under your stencil and creating a blotchy painted mess on your project. One of the best ways to prevent paint from seeping underneath your stencil is to make sure it's secured into place. A spray adhesive will ensure that your stencil is good and secure. Spray a thin mist on the back, then use your fingers to press down all of the inner edges to make sure they really bind to your material. Next, use painter's tape to outline the edge of your stencil. This will further reduce the risk of getting paint outside of your stencil area.


It's time to paint! Before applying any paint to your project, dab your brush off on a paper towel or old rag to remove any excess paint. This is the second most important thing you can do to prevent paint bleed. You really want to be applying as thin of a layer as you possibly can each time you put your paint brush on your project. If you'd like a thicker pigment of colour, allow your first layer to dry a wee bit before applying an additional coat.






Allow your paint to dry a little bit. This will help prevent paint from bleeding onto parts of your project where you really don't want any paint.  





Grabbing hold of one of your stencil's corners, slowly peel back your stencil from your project's surface. You'll want to go slow here so that paint doesn't drip off of your stencil and onto your project. You also want to prevent your stencil from ripping.




The clean-up. Immediately after use, wash your stencils. Or at least soak them. Use a mild dishsoap and cloth, and wash both sides of the stencil. We like to use a cutting board behind our stencils when we wash them. This ensures that the stencil stays flat and minimizes the risk of it ripping while being washed. Goo-gone is a helpful agent in cleaning the sticky adhesive part off of your stencil.

Once your stencil is clean, lay it flat to air dry or pat it dry with a dish cloth. Your stencil is now ready to use again!


Lastly... Enjoy your finished piece of stencilled decor!



Stencils used in this tutorial:

Home Sweet Home + Blessed Stencils


If you liked this DIY tutorial, you might also like:

How to Weave a Wall Hanging

Mastering Basic Macrame Knotting Techniques

How to Make a Concrete Lamp