Hire a Pro Advice: Stencil a Wall

Find a stenciling specialist or decorative painter to apply a stencil to a room or wall and learn what should be in a contract between a homeowner and painter.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Stenciling is a type of decorative painting, which also includes creating murals and faux finishes. A local Decorator Show Home Tour is good place to find a stencil artist because they often display their work at these events. Also ask friends, neighbors, and interior designers for referrals or inquire at furniture and design stores, paint retailers and local art museums.

Some painting contractors will do stenciling and those that do make a point of including it in their advertising. But it's more the exception than the rule. Generally, a decorative painter will come to your house for an assessment of the type of stencil design you want and note the condition of the surfaces, before quoting a price in a written proposal or contract. If the room or surfaces require painting before stenciling, clarify who will complete the work and what paint and repair work will be done before painting. Make sure you understand what's required to make the walls and surfaces stencil-ready.

Here are the basic points that should be included in a written contract for stenciling work.
  • Specific rooms and surfaces to be stenciled
  • Total cost
  • Payment schedule
  • Start and completion dates
  • Design pattern of the stencil and the paint and colors to be used
  • How the site will be protected from spills, splatters and over spray and who is responsible for removing them
  • Who is responsible for moving furniture and cleaning up

If the price seems reasonable and you are unsure about the painter's reputation, ask for several references and make follow-up calls to determine if the homeowners are happy with the stenciling work. These should be referrals for similar work.