This sign making hack will change the way you DIY wood signs forever! Here’s how to prevent stencil bleeding when making wood signs, which is such an annoying problem. If you’re wondering how to stencil on wood, this trick will save you from the frustration of paint bleeding under the stencils.
Do you have trouble with your stencils for wood bleeding when you are making DIY wood signs? You try your darnest to do multiple light coats of paint brushing away from the stencil edges, but there is still paint bleeding underneath your stencils, right?! It’s even worse when you are a using a rough, reclaimed wood – like pallet boards.
Sign making was turning into frustration rather than a fun hobby…but then I heard about this game changin’ sign making hack. This hack on how to prevent stencil bleeding when you are making wood signs will seriously change the way you DIY signs.
This how to stencil on wood post contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend anyway! Read my full disclosure here.
So…just so you can get the full effect of how amazing this sign making hack really is, here’s a look at how normal sign making goes.
You cut the stencil out with your Cameo. I always use the adhesive shelf liner (aka contact paper) from the Dollar Tree. Then you put it on the wood….you push real hard to make sure it’s adhered and you go to town painting. You can try light coats. You can try letting the brush pounce on top of the stencil. You can try brushing away from the stencil edge. But I bet that you’ll still have bleeding under your stencils. Will you just look at how bad this one was!?
This was on a piece unsanded scrap pallet wood. I used the exact same type of wood for the 2nd sign when I use the sign making hack.
It’s just hideous. Keep in mind this is a tiny piece of wood and very small letters. Something’s gotta change though… this just ain’t working. I had to figure out how to prevent stencil bleeding.
A few months ago during one of my Hometalk Live Videos, I was making this reclaimed wood sign. I was sharing my typical sign making tips to prevent bleeding…like using a foam brush and doing light coats of paint..always brushing away from the edge of the stencil, rather than towards it….and if all else fails, give it a light sanding after you’re done and call it “rustic”.
That’s when one of the Hometalk viewers mentioned how she uses Mod Podge to seal her stencils before painting. I saw the comment later that night when I was scrolling through the thousands of comments and answering questions. I was intrigued. How have I never heard of this? So I followed up with her to make sure I understood it right…and then I gave it a try.
It was when I was making these reclaimed wood bottle openers that I first tried this method. I was shocked. Like literally…jaw to the floor flabbergasted.
Since I know you ain’t got time to scroll through all of the many comments in my Hometalk videos…I decided to dedicate an entire post just to this sign making hack. This is just too good not to share.
Everyone needs to know how to prevent stencil bleeding. Because if you know how to prevent bleeding on your wood sign stencils, you’ll probably DIY more wood signs. And we all know the world needs more wood signs.
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- Farmer’s Market Farmhouse Crate Centerpiece
- DIY Reclaimed Wood Bottle Openers
Ready for this sign making hack?
How to Prevent Stencil Bleeding
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Step 1. Cut stencil.
Using a Silhouette Cameo cutter (or another type of paper cutter), cut out your stencil. I always use adhesive shelf liner from the Dollar Tree to create my stencils for wood. It works great and it’s so cheap!
Step 2. Peel & attach stencil.
After it is cut, peel off your stencil and press onto the wood. Press hard to make sure it sticks.
Step 3. Seal stencil. *** THIS IS THE MAGIC STEP ***
Now…this, my friends, is where the magic happens. Take your Mod Podge and just rub is over the stencil in a light coat. I just use my finger for this, but you can use a foam brush if you’d like.
This seals the edges of the stencil so that the paint won’t bleed under it.
You only need to do one coat of the Mod Podge. Wait for it to dry completely before moving on to the next step (15 minutes or so).
Step 4. Paint over stencil.
Next you just paint over the sealed stencil. I typically use acrylic craft paint and do 2-3 of lights coats of paint.
Step 5. Peel off stencil and be amazed at the crisp lines.
After your paint is dry to the touch, you can remove the stencil by peeling at one of the edges.
Will you just look at those crisp lines?! Are you as shocked as I am?
See…I told ya so! Making professional looking wood signs doesn’t have to be frustrating!
You can get crisp stencil lines using this easy sign making hack with Mod Podge. All you have to do is put a thin layer of Mod Podge over your stencils for wood before you paint! This hack on how to prevent stencil bleeding when you are making wood signs is going to change the way you make signs, am I right?
This whole sign making hack is shown way better in a video format, so don’t forget to watch this short video to see how it’s done! If you love videos, check out my video page for more.
If you love making your own wood signs, be sure to check out these DIY sign tutorials using stencils for wood:
131 thoughts on “Stencils for Wood Signs: How To Prevent Bleeding Under Stencil”
Fantastic!!! And hurray for the dollar tree! Love that store.
Can I use gloss mod podge or matte only? Trying to determine if I need to shop for supplies I don’t have on hand already ?
Gloss will be pretty noticeable and shine where it is applied. The matte helps hide it.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
Ruth, I’m sooooo glad that you found this hack helpful!
Thank you so much! I’ve been procrastinating my stencil art jobs for weeks now trying to come up with a better way to make them look nice. Now I can run out to the dollar store and buy that one prod. Modge Podge.
Yay! So glad you’ll start stenciling again. Have fun!
But doesn’t putting Mod Podge all over the stencil prevent the paint from adhearing to the open Parts? I maybe I’m not understanding?
It it’s a surface like metal or glass, then it won’t work, but seems to work just fine for wood surfaces.
Wow! This is impressive!! Sharing on FB.:) i will be trying this for sure!
Thanks you for sharing on Janice, I really appreciate it 🙂
Do you rub the mod podge over the edges of the stencil onto the wood or just up to the edge of the stencil?
Rub it all over the opening of the stencil…most specifically getting the inside edge where the stencil meets the wood. That’s the part that you want to get sealed.
…getting ready to do a table top with a stencil and was wondering, although the top isn’t rough like pallet wood and I normally wouldn’t do a clear coat on that; however, I want to do one on my table top after stencil……any hints, my first time? I like the mod pod idea, def doing that but I am wondering if a clear coat (poly) would smear the paint w/ mod pod? Advice needed…..
For a tabletop, I would recommend using Mod Podge to seal your stencil down before you paint it. Be sure to use the Matte finish, not the glossy. Then after you’re done with the stencil, I would recommend sealing with a Polycrylic. It shouldn’t yellow like the Poly may.
I use pallet wood for a lot of my projects and i usually stain the wood then follow up with a clear coat. I wouldn’t want to stain over the stencil, would you suggest stenciling in between the stain and the clearcoat? Or stenciling after both applications? Both are oil based.
I would definitely try this on a piece of scrap wood first, but I will say that I’ve tried the Mod Podge hack over a piece of stained wood before (not sealed) and it worked fine, so you would be good to stain, stencil and then seal.
Does it matter how long you let the mod podge dry? I have read other posts that say you need to wait 24 hours. I’m curious because I’d much rather wait less than 24 hours for the next step! Lol
No, I never wait 24 hours for the Mod Podge to dry for this hack. Works when it is just dry to the touch (when stenciling on wood). Usually takes about 15-30 minutes. Good luck!
Great! Thanks for the help!
What if you used your hair dryer to dry quicker?
Yes you totally could, it just needs to be dry to the touch.
No I never wait 24 hours! I usually just wait until it is dry to the touch for this.
Can I use this method over spray painted wood? Also, I use Mylar stencils…I foresee some modge podge possibly getting under them a little. Is that a problem? Thank you?
I’ve never used on spray painted wood. Probably depends on what color and type the paint is and how noticeable the mod podge would be. I do always use matte finish mod podge so it’s not glossy shine!
Was so excited for this trick! But I just did it and when I peeled my vinyl stencils off a lot of the letters peeled off with it 🙁 I am wondering though if it was because I sealed the stain before painting my letters on. I did that hoping it would avoid the beeding. Then I used your trick on top of it. Have you had this happen before?
Ugh, how frustrating! I’ve never had this happen. I wouldn’t think the sealed stain would make a difference but possibly it did because the mod podge & paint weren’t able to be absorbed at all into the wood? I also always use contact paper to make my stencils, not vinyl because it’s a lot cheaper. That may have something to do with it too! Let me know if you try it again! I’m curious!
I’ve had this happen to me multiple times. I make signs a lot and I use this trick every time! I’ve learned that if you use a thick layer of mod podge it will attach to the vinyl and peel back off like elmers glue, taking your paint with it, but if you have a very light layer and try not to coat the entire stencil in mod podge (only where it’s needed) that it peels a lot better! I’m definitely going to try to contact paper though, I’ve been ordering stencil vinyl for my cutter and it’s definitely not very cost effective!
Ya! I definitely try to keep it light. That’s why I use my fingers to apply the Mod Podge, I can control it a bit better than a brush. Also the contact paper is thinner than the stencil vinyl so you may have better luck with it because there’s not as much force when you peel the stencil off. I also don’t wait too long to pull the stencil off. Usually just until it’s just dry to the touch. For the smaller parts of the letters (like the middle of an “O”), I wait until it’s more dry.
I have just started stenciling. I’ve spent double the time because the letters need all cleaned up afterwards. Searched for a way to alleviate so much time n I believe this may work, although I’m a little questionable as to the vinyl stencil. Will that glue attach to my stencil?
Ruth, hopefully this hack makes your sign making easier! I don’t use vinyl for my stencils. I use cheap contact paper/adhesive shelf liner from Dollar Tree. I haven’t ever had troubles with Mod Podge sticking to the stencil. Good luck!!
I also tried this after seeing another video about it and I agree with someone above who said some of the painted letters peeled off. I use dollar tree peel and stick as my stencil, matte mod pod, stained piece of plywood and acrylic craft paint from Walmart. It completely ruined one of my projects and I was so frustrated. Now cut the stencil with the cricut, place transfer tape over it, peel it off the cricut mat, remove the paper backing and brush mod pod on. Then I weed the letters out and stick the stencil on the wood. It works great EXCEPT I end up with dried mod pod on the wood around the letters. Is there a trick to removing it?
Sorry you’re having troubles. Sounds like you’re doing things a little differently than I. I usually put the stencil on the wood, then out on Mod Podge over the top of stencil where the letters are. I’ve never put the Mod Podge under the stencil like you mentioned. Maybe that’s the difference ?
I can’t think of anything that would remove Mod Podge but not the paint too like solvent or Goof Off would do.
It happens to me that after applying the polycrilic once the vinyl is on (to seal the edges) I paint it and then I end up pulling the vinyl and with that comes my paint too :(. If I did with mod Podge doesn’t it need me to sand it a little bit before I apply the paint???
I’ve never needed to sand the Mod Podge first before painting over it. I do a very light coat of Mod Podge and never had any problems. Hope this fixes your problems! 🙂
I am so glad I found this hack. I love this idea!! i am learning to stencil and all my work just kept bleeding. I do have a couple of questions, the signs i have already done, how can i touch up the ones that have bleeded? I used white wash before i stenciled. And will the mod podge still work on white washed and painted signs?
Terrisa, glad you found this helpful. The only way to clean up signs that you’ve already done is painting over the parts that bled with your background color (if you had a background color). You could also try taking a paint pen in the same color that you stenciled and just cleaning up the lines by making it bigger in some areas. Depending on the design, this will sometimes work. The Mod Podge hack should work on painted signs as well (as long as they are wood). I haven’t had any luck with it on glass, metal, or other hard surfaces. I think it has something to do with the fact that the Mod Podge can be absorbed into the wood a bit. Good luck girl!
I am frustrated with my wood coasters few times and not successful as well. My first time to get try paint light green (chalk) and white (arycilc) Mandala Stencil paint with on my wood coasters. It won’t look great. Wonder, can you help me how to do protect from mess bleeding from color paint that which I kept tried and failed. I figured it out why? Help me and solve the problem. Thank you!
Hi Joanne, so sorry you’re stuck on a DIY project! Your wood coasters sound so fun! The Mod Podge trick I share in this tutorial should help prevent the bleeding. It also helps to do light coats with the paint and more so “blot” the paint brush up and down rather than a brushing motion over the stencil. These things will all help prevent bleeding under your stencils.
Hi, I have been making outdoor welcome signs and having a lot of troubles with modge podge. I stain the wood and then put my stencil on that I got off of Amazon (which isn’t sticky). Then I put a light coat of Modge podge on making sure it gets all the edges and after I paint and lift the stencil you can see the shine all around the letters (the Modge podge which is matte). It looks terrible. Help!! I’m so frustrated. I’ve tried and tried and tried and always end up with the same problem.
Yes, I’ve run into that issue too. Can you try to seal the signs after you’re all done to even out the shine?
I was wondering what your settings were for the contact paper? I’ve been having a heck of a time lately with mine….it randomly doesn’t cut certain letters, others are fine. I’m hoping if this paper is thinner it will be better than what I’ve been using!
I wrote this when I was still using the older Cameo. For that I was just using the Vinyl (Silhouette) setting and everything was perfect. Ever since I’ve gotten the newer Cameo 3 with the autoblade, I haven’t quite figured out the perfect settings for the contact paper to get a perfect “kiss” cut. I still use the Vinyl auto setting and I’ve been adjusting it so it’s not quite as deep of a blade but haven’t found the magic numbers yet! Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful. Once I get it figured out, I’ll update this post. 🙂
Do you think this would work while painting on glass?
April, I haven’t tried this on glass, but I have tried it on metal and it did not work. I would assume that it only works on wood because the Mod Podge needs something to absorb it, which glass and metal won’t do. Let me know if you do try it though 🙂
Use etching paint. With your stencil. U can find it separate or in a kit at Michaels. Good luck
Thanks so much for great tip Jada! 🙂
I tried this trick, but when I went to take my vinyl stencil off, it also took the words off too…. any ideas what I can do differently.
So strange! I’ve never had that happen to me! Were you painting on wood? Or was it on a hard surface like glass or metal? If it was hard surface, that doesn’t work well because the Mod Podge doesn’t get absorbed like it does on wood.
GAME CHANGER! I’m not actually a sign-maker, but I was looking for ways to stop paint bleed from under tape. I think this might just do the trick! Fingers crossed!
That’s a great way to use this!! Please let me know how it goes!
I was wondering how you get the middle of letters (i.e. o, e, d) to come up easily? When I try to pick them up with tweezers I ding the wood. Any advice?
I actually just usually use my fingernail 🙂 haha! I have used tweezers when they get really stuck. They also make a couple of tools for this. Silhouette makes some small tools that may be able to help you out too. Here’s a link to the tool bundle on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2kIi6rd
I use a needle to pick up the centers of letters, it allows you to get ahold without damage to the letter.
What about if I use paper stencils? I’m scared to do this without advice if anyone has done this before.
I would not recommend this method with paper stencils. The Mod Podge will likely make the paper stick to your sign because it’s really a glue.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I kept reading about using Mod Podge to seal stencils, but I didn’t understand how to do it. I made a couple other signs on wood and it bled, and I didn’t want that to happen again. I am so thankful for your step by step instructions. My mom has a giant welcome sign with a pumpkin painted for the O, so I made her signs she can use for the other three seasons. They turned out great.
So glad these steps were helpful for you! Your signs sound awesome.
I’m confused as to how to get the spaces in the “O” “B”, etc. to be the color of the background and not the color of the used for the words?
There were stickers for the middle of the letters, they just got painted over so it is hard to tell. Then once they are dry you can remove.
can u use this method W Mylar stencils
I’ve never tried it but I dont see why not? Let me know if you do try it out.
I’m also curious about using this with mylar stencils because that is what I have and want to apply it to some antique barnwood. I’m wondering if I should glue (Mod Podge) the whole stencil to the wood (since it isn’t contact paper) and then go over the top with more Mod Podge to seal the edges of the stencil. Also, does the paint that was applied over the Mod Podge peel off? How do you keep the paint from peeling? Thank you.
Hi Tracy. I’ve never used mylar stencils, so sorry! I did just purchase some so I will try it out sometime soon. I do think that the way you mentioned may work (applying it to the whole stencil and then again to the seams of the stencil), but since I haven’t tried it I’m not positive. Maybe you could try that on a piece of scrap wood. Also since you are using barnwood, it usually has more texture so be sure you do light coats of paint and dab the paint brush up and down rather than brushing. Removing the stencil as soon as the paint is just dry to the touch (10 min or so) will help prevent the paint peeling with the stencil being removed. Good luck!! Let me know how it goes, 🙂
What did you set you cameo on to cut out the contact paper?
On my older model, I just used the vinyl setting and it was perfect. Since upgrading to the new Cameo with autoblade I haven’t found the perfect setting yet!!
This is brilliant. Quick question I print my stencils onto card stock paper and hand cut each letter with an X-Acto knife set. It takes time but I don’t make enough signs to warrant buying a cutting machine. They are just for around our own house. My question – do you think this method would work well with the stock card paper?
Hi Mark, No this wouldn’t work for cardstock paper because the Mod Podge would essentially glue the paper to the sign. You would need to use vinyl or contact paper or something of the like. You could still make this work by printing the designs on to contact paper though. You could probably just tape the contact paper to printer paper and run through the printer. I haven’t tried that but, it is worth a shot. I get my contact paper at the Dollar Tree, so it wouldn’t be a big investment if you wanted to try it.
Yup figured that out last night on a test piece of wood. The Podge glued the paper right to the wood. Next I tried printing right onto some vinyl shelf liner I had but the ink from my inkjet printer didn’t absorb (it ribs off) so that didn’t work. Then I found some Avery sticker paper (Avery 53203) and that seems to work great! I can print onto the sticker paper, cut out the letters by hand and then peel, stick to wood, Podge edges, paint and peel off of the wood great! Be careful when you peel the back of the sticker off when you go to stick it to the wood. I ended up doing it in smaller sections. The edges are perfect! Thanks again for a great article and your quick reply! Happy signing!
Awesome!! So glad you found a solution. Thanks for sharing!
Unfortunately, this hack was not working for me at all. On a top of the bleeding, the paint start cracking as well. I’m going to use another tip for stenciling a piece of furniture: painting first in the same color as the base coat, and then stencil with a color of your choice. Fingers crossed, because I’m already losing my mind…
Anya, so sorry you’re having troubles!! This has always worked like a charm for me! 🙁 Let us know how the tip on painting with the same color as your base coat goes! I’ve tried that when painting walls to prevent bleeding under painter’s tape and it did work, but I’ve never tried it with stencils!!
Ok, I have got to ask: My main purpose for my Cricut is making signs… for my home, for my friends, etc. I’ve tried that exact same shelf liner you are using in the tutorial, I’ve tried contact, paper, I’ve tried other brands thinking maybe I just got an old batch or something, and ALL of them leave a sticky residue all over my “negative” area which makes an awful mess. It looks bad if negative area is dark because you can see the sticky goo. It looks terrible if the negative area is white because it looks dirty. Then I can’t distress the sign without the dust sticking all over it and making it look even worse. It makes me so sad because I see this hack used so often, and with me being the super economical, crafty DIY girl that am, I want to find the least expensive option available, but it is NOT working for me. Am I doing something wrong?
That is so weird I’ve never had that problem before. I’m sorry that’s so frustrating. Are you stenciling on wood? Are you leaving the contact paper on there for a long time or just while you’re painting over the stencil?
I have the same trouble with the sticky residue left on the painted surface. Exactly what was described above by April. It happens when I have painted the entire surface of the wood, then
stencil on top of the painted surface. So frustrating, I have ruined several signs and had to sand everything off and start over, in fact it just happened again today. I’ve tried everything I could to wash the residue off but nothing works. Any suggestions???
Could you use this hack on reusable stencils? I am having some problems with bleed through.
I’m sorry I haven’t myself tried this hack on reusable stencils! I just love making my own. But since I do get so many questions, I’ll try to remember to go pick one up and use it and post again about how it works. If you do try it before me, please let us know how it works for you! 🙂
I have vinyl stencils, you mention contact paper, but Im not a artist when it comes to cutting letters out. Is there a catch? All I want is a stencil that I can use over and over, this is very important to me. Will vinyl stencils work with the mod podge if they arent sticky licke contact paper? And how do you clean the stencils after using mod podoge? Oh and is it true Mod podge can be used as a finisher after your painting work is dry?
Hi Sandra, I use a Silhouette Cameo to cut out my stencils from contact paper, so I can make my stencils custom every time! The machine can also cut out vinyl stencils. However, I haven’t used this Mod Podge hack on vinyl stencils, so I’m not positive as to the result. If you do try it, please come back and let us know how it goes! Warm soapy water (or even warm vinegar/water mixture) should be able to clean the stencils and remove any mod podge. And yes, you can use Mod Podge to seal signs. I used it to seal this sign: https://www.makingmanzanita.com/white-chippy-paint-sign-for-farmhouse-bathroom/
Hi there! SO excited to try this awesome hack out! I also use a Silhouette to cut out designs. What setting do you set the blade at so it cuts through the contact paper, but not the cutting mat? Right now I have it on 3, but I’m cutting through stencil. Thank you again SO much for sharing!!! xoxo
Thanks friend for solving the biggest problem I have faced using pallet boards…Bleeding….Your method is the answer I have been looking for, for over a year…the method u use with the modge podge – perfect …I am happy and back in the rustic sign business. Thanks
Woohooo!! This is music to my ears. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so glad this was helpful for you!
How do I prevent my paint from peeling off of my wood sign. It peels of when I remove my vinyl . The paint comes if with the vinyl so annoying. HELP!
Is the paint you’re referring to the part you are stenciling or any underneath layer. I always use contact paper from the Dollar Store for my stencils, no vinyl and I use cheap acrylic craft paint for the actual painting (in addition to using this method of applying the Mod Podge over the stencil prior to painting). With all of these steps combined, I don’t have much issue with the paint peeling. I also be sure the wood is nice and clean and at the very least lightly sanded before starting. If there is oil or residue, the paint may not adhere as well. Be sure to wipe all sanding dust off wood as well. Hopefully one of those tips will help prevent peeling from from your wood signs! Good luck.
I tried this with white glue y’all, and that does not work. Everything peeled right off my wood paint included ? so I’ll save you trying it yourself. White glue = bad. Stick to the mod podge. I will be getting myself some tomorrow LOL
Thanks for letting us know!!!
Does this method work when using stencils on PAINTED instead of bare wood ?
I’m sorry I haven’t used this method over painted signs!
I received a ton of pallet wood for free. Even though I sanded it some it’s still pretty rough and I’ve been having so much trouble making good looking signs. I love this tip! Trying it right now. Fingers crossed!
Awesome!! Hope this helps! I’ve made a ton of signs with pallets, so hopefully this does the trick for you too.
have some stencils made out of something like poster board. first is there someway I can prolong life of stencil. Also how can I stop bleeding,
Hi Jodi! I’ve never made stencils out of poster board, so I’m not sure how to answer your question. The contact paper is the only material I use.
Excellent! Thanks for sharing!
This DID NOT WORK for me! So frusting!! Was doing a project on a friend’s wood cross. The letters and paint peeled right off with the stencil. It’s like it created a film over the stencil. SOO upset. Not sure how I’m going to fix this problem. Some of the paint adhered so I’ll have to re-do and try to get the stencils to line up perfectly. UGGGHHH
So sorry you had problems with this method. I’ve literally never had that problem when stenciling on wood.
Hi. I tried this on a test piece and the mod podge bleed under and created brownish globs around the letters.
So bummed you had issues with this method. I’ve never had that happen!
It seals the wood so the paint does not bleed through. You could paint the whole piece of wood it you wanted
Could you not just lightly paint wood with mod podge (as it’s clear) where you want to stencil …… then use stencil on top ! ? Less messy!
That may work, but I’ve found that adding the Mod Podge directly onto the area where the stencil edge is help really seal it to prevent bleeding.
thank you so much for this fabulous idea. I plan to give stenciling a try this summer, and it’s so great to have this outstanding idea, to prevent bleeding. You rock!
So glad you found this helpful! Let us know how it goes.
If your finished lettering is peeling off after you remove the stencil, your paint is too thick. Try adding a little 91% rubbing alcohol to your paint. This method dry’s super quick. You can also use this technique as a great stain. Just use with acrylic paint.
Thanks for the tips Douglas!
I am assuming Mod Podge is paintable then? I do engraved signs and paint the letters and have bleeding. Wondering if this will work with that as well.
yes, the Mod Podge should be paintable. Just be sure you don’t but the Mod Podge on thick. You just need a tiny bit, a very thin coat.
I am currently making a tray for my bed and it was originally a brown, I have Just painted it white as a base coat using the Waverly white chalk matte paint. I attempted to use the stencil I wanted ( also by Waverly) on the outside part and the first problem was being able to get it to stay and stick, If I used painters tape it didn’t hold it in place and even regular scotch and clear like stepping tape took off all the paint back down the the base wood. So I have 3 questions, 1 what type of brushes, sponges would you recommend while applying the paint as wel as the mod pog. 2 what would you suggest I use as an adhesive with the stencils I am using, because between the area and positioning of where I am trying to stencil, even with the tape it doesn’t properly hold it In place so when I apply the paint it bleeds terribly. Which leads to my other question, would the mod pog you mentioned work on wood that has been painted with a base coat already? What order/ how and what would you use with these stencils to get it to stick without removing paint, and not bleed as well. Finishing by sealing it due to the amount of use that I will get out of it.
Hi Gabrielle –
There’s two pretty big differences between your project and the way that I normal stencil (which is shown in this post). (1) I always stencil on bare wood and (2) I always create my stencils with my Silhouette Cameo machine using sticky contact paper.
I assume that you’re using a plastic or vinyl type of stencil because you mentioned you can’t get it to stay in place. I don’t have much experience with those stencils, but from what I’ve read or seen other people do…some people have luck using a spray adhesive to the stencil before applying it. You just spray it on the back of the stencil and press it into place. Something like this: https://amzn.to/2VtWBxw But, again….I’ve never tried this so I can’t guarantee it will work or that it won’t peel up the base paint…it’s just an idea for you to try.
For the brush, I normally use a foam paint brush, however you may find a stencil brush to be helpful (something like this: https://amzn.to/3avFWOl). Also be sure to always “pounce” over the stencil (meaning that you lightly dap the brush directly over the stencil holding it upright) rather than doing brush strokes. And be sure to only have a little bit of paint on the brush and do very light coats. This makes a big difference in preventing stencil bleeding. These techniques alone may be all you need to prevent stencil bleeding.
For your last question about the Mod Podge removing the base paint. Yes this is a risk and why I normally just stencil on bare wood.
Hope this is helpful! Good luck and have fun!
OMG!! I’ve been planning my first wooden sign and was absolutely dreading it because I was worried about handling stencil bleed. Very timely – can’t wait to try this (I have Mod Podge on hand at all times). You made my day.
Thank you and Cheers!
So glad you found this!
Guess I didn’t read enough before attempting my first stenciling with a vinyl store-bought stencil. Applied Mod Podge with my finger. Dried. Applied paint, but left stencil on overnight. When attempting to remove it, it’s pulling painted surfaces. Currently have it in freezer, hoping to salvage it. Recommendations?
I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you Joan! I never use the vinyl store-bought stencils so I’m not super familiar with them. Since they are much thicker than the contact paper stencils it may not work as well, which you’ve obviously already learned. Best of luck and if you figure anything out that is helpful, please come back and share! Good luck!
I Use Mylar Stencils That I Cut With My Cricut Maker…I Have Attempted The Same Sign I Had Already Made One Like With Success, But For Some Reason The Paint Is Not Adhering To The Wood and After Having Gone Over It Several Times With Paint Trying To Get It To It Bleeds Under The Stencil And It Also Pulls The Paint Up When Removing The Stencil…I Have Tried This One Over 3 Times Now…Each Time Washing the Entire Painted Stencil Off The Wood…Ugh!
Have Any Ideas?!?!?!
Hi Savie, sorry you’re frustrated!! Based on some other comments on this post, I don’t think this method works great for the thick mylar stencils. It works much better for the ones made with thin contact paper as I’ve shown. Maybe someone else will chime in here with some suggestions. Sorry I can’t help, I’ve never really used mylar stencils. Good luck!
This is amazing!!! I just created my first wood sign using this method. I painted the wood yesterday and let it dry before using the stencil and Mod Podge. It worked great! I will definitely be doing this again!
So glad this worked for you! Have fun making more signs.
This is so great! Thank you for sharing this hack. My sister and I make barn quilts and would like to try this technique. We use a non-yellowing polyurethane to seal our boards… Will the mod podge create any issues under the polyurethane?
It shouldn’t! I’ve used a spray acrylic sealer in the past and had no issues.
Whouahouuuuu I’m so impressed !!! Thank you very much for these two wonderful hacks! Mod podge and also the self-adhesive! I’m so exciting I can’t wait to try !! Merci beaucoup from Switzerland
Thanks for these tips and for avoiding bleeding when using stencils on wood signs like using Mod Podge or any similar sealant before painting. I really liked the homemade rustic feel from having these sorts of signs.
Hi do you rub the mod podge over the whole stencil wording?
You can use a foam paint brush or just a finger to smooth over the stencil.
I tried this method on three different projects and lettering on all 3 peeled up and ruined my signs. Big bust for me. ?
Aw dang it! Sorry, this method didn’t work for you. It has worked for me over and over again. 🙁
Do you know if this method works with plastic stencils as well?
I’ve heard from readers that it doesn’t work great with plastic.
Can I use this method on concrete, bricks
I’ve only tried this on wood signs, so I’m unsure. Because concrete and bricks are porous I would test it in a small area first to make sure the Mod Podge doesn’t change the color. Let us know if you give it a try.
What about stencils that don’t have a sticky back and are made out of a PET material?
Sorry I haven’t used this hack on those type of stencils, but maybe someone here in the comments will chime in to see if they have any tips!