How to stencil designs on tiles

Updated November 21, 2016

Replacing tile can be an expensive, time consuming and messy project. Rather than going through the pains of a major redecorating project you can update the look of existing tiles with stencils. You can also stencil on new tiles for a personalised decor style. Avoid painting tiles that get wet on a regular basis, such as those in a shower. However, painted tiles on a backsplash above the sink will hold up well. You can stencil on a variety of tile finishes including tumbled marble, stone and ceramic, choosing from a wide variety of stencil styles.

Wash and dry your tiles. Paint sticks to clean surfaces better than to dirty ones.

Pour a small amount of paint onto a paper plate.

Practice your technique on a piece of scrap paper. Different techniques will give you different finishes. For example, you can paint directly over the stencil for an opaque appearance or tap a stencil brush over the stencil for a stippled finish.

Tape your stencil onto the tile using painter's tape.

Add paint to the tile with a paintbrush, stencil brush or sponge.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for the length of time needed for the paint to cure.

Remove lint and debris from the tile surface before adding urethane.

Seal the tiles with water-based urethane using a paintbrush. See the manufacturer's directions for drying time.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-based paint containing urethane resin
  • Scrap paper
  • Paintbrush, stencil brush or sponge
  • Paper plate
  • Painter's tape
  • Clear water-based urethane
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