How to Stencil on a Vintage Find + Video!

[Updated 1.2024]
I am a true stencil lover and have posted numerous times about stenciling on all kinds of vintage junk. Today we’re going to talk about how to stencil on a vintage find

What makes today’s post different is that I’ve made a short video–Stenciling 101–that shows me (my hands anyway) giving a stenciling tutorial.

I hope it helps beginners feel more comfortable with stenciling. I kept it short and sweet, but tried to talk about some common pitfalls.

How to Stencil on a Vintage Find

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links for [the same or similar] products used to complete the project discussed. This is both for your convenience as well as to support my website, since I receive a small compensation whenever you click on a link and make any sort of purchase, for which I thank you 🙂 See my full disclosure here.

vintage crates

The project starts with this black crate, a hand-me-down from a friend. To prepare it for stenciling I simply sponged it down and let it air dry.

NOTE: I wrote a post about the unfinished box in the photo last year: When to Give a Vintage Crate an Upgrade.

stenciling materials

You don’t need many supplies for stenciling.

Materials for Stenciling


Stenciling Video

Watch the video below to see learn the basics of stenciling.

You may have noticed in the video that after dipping the brush into the paint and pouncing off the excess, I mentioned that it looked good, but you couldn’t actually see it because it was off-screen, LOL.

Stencil brush with paint-dry (1200x927)

So here’s a photo of the brush with just the right amount of paint on it, ready for pouncing on the stencil.

Stenciling Steps

Vintage crate with fresh flowers stencil (1200x996)

Step 1: Secure the stencil: Tape the stencil(s) to the item you’re stenciling.

Step 2: Apply paint to the brush: Touch your stenciling brush to the craft paint and pounce most of it off onto a paper plate until it’s very dry.

Step 3. Apply paint to the stencil: Pounce the paint onto the stencil until it’s filled in. Remove the stencil.

Step 4. Apply polyurethane: After the paint has dried, give it a coat or two of polyurethane to protect it from scratching.

After the poly dried, I filled the crate with hosta leaves and forget-me-nots from my garden. The crate works well on my black painted kitchen table and contrasts nicely with the grain sack style table runner.

If the empty spaces found between the various parts of each letter bother you, then feel free to fill them in with some paint with a fine brush. This tends to give projects a more finished look.

With crates, I usually opt to leave them “as is” to achieve a more industrial aesthetic. 

Side view of vintage fresh flowers crate with greenery and flowers (775x1200)

This is the first time I’ve paired up hosta with forget-me-nots, but they are all I had growing in my garden at the time. I love the look!

Vintage & Antiques to Stencil On

painted side table with stenciled top

One of my goals in writing this post is not just to demonstrate how easy stenciling is, but to get you thinking about the wide variety of vintage items that you can stencil on, like side tables.


stenciled terra cotta pots with herbs

Terracotta pots

Large red cooler outside by flower bed
Vintage coolers

stenciled "garden" tool sign
And even vintage tools

Vintage crate with fresh flowers stencil (2) (1074x1200)

Given our current love affair with using words to decorate with, the possibilities seem endless. 

What other vintage items have you stenciled on, or thought about stenciling on? Do you have a favorite word(s)?

Thanks for stopping by–
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How to Stencil on a Vintage Find

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  1. Great video Dianna! I have some items waiting on me to stencil. Though I had the general idea, this helps me a lot! Would love to see more “how to” videos, but show your beautiful self next time! 😀 Have a wonderful weekend! Can’t wait to see your new treasures!


  2. You just convinced me to try stenciling again after I have had several failures! I am psyched! It was so nice to hear your voice..I feel like I am getting to know you better all the time!

  3. Juat in time. I’m doing a “trial” today before I stencil a table I’ve been working on…first time stenciling. Thank you for all your good ideas.

  4. Your blog is my favorite of the many I read! I check my email everyday just to see if you have posted. I enjoy the same things as you and love your style!

  5. Thank you for your video! I like this technique better than using a foam brush. I have a Swedish dala horse stencil I’m seeking just the right item to stencil with it!

  6. Vintage finds make such lovely planters and I loved seeing your variety of stenciled upcycles. Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

  7. I always enjoy reading your blog. You are so creative and I love your repurpose ideas for the home. Great stencil demo video. I have a space at a local antique shop and I would like to try stenciling my business name on one of my show cases. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I couldn’t have found this at a better time. I’ve been procrastinating a project because of the stenciling. In the past…ZERO SUCCESSES.
      You taught me in a simple fun way. I’m actually looking forward to it now!!
      THANK YOU! !!

  8. Oh my gosh I LOVE the painted planter and I also love your video! How fun! I admire you for doing it — I’ve wanted to do videos for almost two years now but still have not gotten to it! Kudos:) And thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen | Our Hopeful Home

  9. It turned out great! Love that you added a video! Shows how easy it can be. Would love for you to linkup at “Our Inspired Collection Link Party!” It runs Tuesday-Friday!

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