Elegant Exterior Designs With a Simple Stencil!

Published: 31st May 2007
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With dimensional stenciling quickly becoming the hottest decorating trend inside the home, it can easily be adapted to the deck, yard and garden, creating elegant décor in your outdoor living space as well.

Dimensional or raised plaster stenciling is the simple technique of using a thick stencil with joint compound, wood putty or concrete mix instead of paint, to create raised designs on everything from deck rails and planters to columns and sidewalks.

It's easy! Simply tape the stencil to the item intended, apply your medium over the stencil openings with a flat edged palette knife or trowel, gently pull the stencil off and allow it to dry. Now you have a raised design that makes a grand impression!

In our "outdoor vase" project, we have taken a standard ceramic vase and applied a raised design using indoor wall joint compound mixed with a little white glue (for better adhesion) that can be found in any local home or hardware store.

After applying the design and allowing it to cure for 24 hours, we then sponge painted the vase in two colors of brown to give the design further depth and then simply painted over the raised portion with brilliant gold acrylic paint to give elegant contrast to the elaborate raise.

Now our vase is ready to fill with flowers from the garden for our patio table!

Wooden planters, and terra cotta or ceramic pots also benefit from the same application making yours, "one of a kind" creations that neighbors and friends will envy.

"Casting concrete", which is used for casting molds and again, is commonly found in your local home store, can be the medium you use to add raised designs up the sides of your walk way or to decorate plain stepping stones for an elaborate path through the garden. You can also use it to add design elements to existing concrete posts, block walls or concrete birdbaths and pillars. Casting concrete is different from standard concrete simply due to the fact that it contains less pebble material. The ideas and applications are nearly limitless!

Use our easy recipe for outdoor use:

2 cups pre-mixed joint compound ½ cup white glue (such as Elmer's)

Mix thoroughly.

Tape the stencil to the item to secure it in place.

Smooth a thin coat of the mixture over the top of the stencil using a flat edged trowel or palette knife (we recommend a 2" blade for easiest control).

Either scrape the stencil totally smooth for a flat topped design or leave it slightly thick on the stencil. If you choose to leave it thicker, un-tape only one edge of the stencil and pull back slowly and gently toward the taped end so as not to disturb the extra thick raise.

Wood putty comes in a variety of color and can be used instead of joint compound mixtures to add beauty to natural wood items. You may need to work a bit quicker since these products tend to dry more rapidly.

Joint compound mixtures and concrete can be pre-tinted to your desired color prior to application with pure pigment paints, liquid fabric dye or in the case of concrete, with powdered concrete or stucco colors.

Sealing is not always necessary, however, if you reside in areas where weather conditions are commonly harsh, a clear, exterior sealer is recommended to seal out the elements.

Fun and fascinating ideas:

• Stencil a large dimensional frieze design on your cinderblock wall.

• Create elaborate designs on the riser boards going up your front porch stairs.

• Stencil a series of matching pots in various sizes for a grouping on your front porch or as a gift for a gardening friend.

• Create raised designs on your front porch posts.

• Stencil your wooden planter boxes.

• Create a one of a kind wooden fence design.

• Create a raised plaster border along the outside moldings of your front door or the door itself.

• Do a raised design on simple shutters to dress up the outside of your windows.

• Add dimension to the edges of your sidewalk by stenciling a vine design with concrete.

The ideas are endless!



© Victoria Larsen 2007


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