How to Stencil on a Vintage Find [+Video!]

Hi there–I hope you’re having a good week! I’ll be at a wedding today, the 3rd in 30 days (crazy right?). But I have a small project for you today: how to stencil on a vintage find. I am a true stencil lover and have posted numerous times about stenciling on all kinds of vintage junk.

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’d love to hear what you think of it.

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ See my full disclosure here.

How to Stencil on a Vintage Find adirondackgirlatheart.comI kept it short and sweet, but tried to talk about some common pitfalls.

vintage cratesThe project starts with this black crate, a hand-me-down from a friend. To prepare it for stenciling I simply sponged it off 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.


[NOTE: The stencil I used, “Fresh Flowers 50ยข/Bunch” is a Vintage Sign Stencil from Angie who blogs at Knick of Time. It comes on one large sheet, but I cut it up because I like to used different parts of it in different ways. I’m not sure if she’s still offering them.]

Watch the video below to see how I stenciled “FRESH” onto a sheet of paper. [You use the same technique for wood, painted surfaces, and metal.]

Let me know if you found my video helpful, and if so, I’ll do some more in the future ๐Ÿ™‚

Stencil brush with paint-dry (1200x927)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.

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

Vintage crate with fresh flowers stencil (1200x996)After some [eye ball] measuring, I went ahead and stenciled the crate–it took about ten minutes, total. After the paint dried, I filled it 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. This tends to give projects a more finished look.

But with crates, I usually opt to leave them “as is” to achieve a more industrial aesthetic. When filling in, I use a tiny brush or the narrow end of a makeup sponge and tackle the spaces very slowly.

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 (last week).

All of the sudden, this week, my wild geraniums and another [unidentified] pink flower have popped out. My peony are still tight little balls, though. How is your garden doing?

painted side table with stenciled topOne 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 herbsTerracotta pots.

Large red cooler outside by flower bedVintage coolers.

stenciled "garden" tool signAnd 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)?

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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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 โ€œOur Inspired Collection Link Party!โ€ It runs Tuesday-Friday!

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