Make your own DIY stencil

June 30, 2014

How to make your own stencil design with painter's tape. 

I didn’t have time to do much DIY this weekend but I did finish up a small project I started last week. This one started one way (a bit of a fail) and ended up another – I was determined to salvage it because I loved the look.

It all began when I found this platter at Target a few weeks back:

arrow platter

I think it was from the Nate Berkus line? I loved the arrow design in gold and knew I could recreate it for cheaper. It wasn’t too bad at $25 but my constant “Pushaw, I could TOTALLY do that for cheaper” usually wins out. And one day on a HomeGoods trip I found a large platter on clearance for $8 to try this myself – score!

Then I got started making my DIY stencil. I used my trusty FrogTape® to do it – I cut a piece long enough to span the whole platter, then laid the tape down on a cutting board:

using painter's tape to make a stencil

I just cut it freehand – this is not a time to be picky. There are times when I want something to look “perfect” but most times I like it to look a little more organic, so the different sizes and spacing didn’t bother me at all.

It only took me about 15 minutes to cut them all out – it was actually quite soothing. :) Sometimes I love a detailed project like this, it calms me.

After my “stencil” was done I laid it across the platter:

stencil from painter's tape

It was going to look so good!

And then I realized the paint I was using wasn’t going to work. It was way too thin and didn’t stick right at all – I was SO bummed. I mean, come on – it was going to look so similar to the other platter. And mine was even bigger! But…fail.

I was about to scrap the whole thing but I realized I could use the arrow design somewhere else to add a little somethin.’ Arrows are HUGE right now, right? I was at a jewelry party yesterday and bought an arrow ring. I see them so much lately.

Anyway, I have a little pen holder in my office that I thought would look cute with a little embellishment so I decided to try the stencil there:

DIY arrow stencil

My arrows were spaced out so I had to tear the long strip of tape up and make them work closer together.

I used gold Rub n Buff and it took no time at all to add a little bling:

gold arrow design

I only did every other panel because I didn’t want it to get too busy. I flipped the tape every other one so some go up, some down:

arrow stencil design

I love it! I have a few gold/brass accents in here so it ties in nicely. I didn’t realize till after I was done that it is the same look as my FrogTape trash can too:

farmhouse table as desk

So there you go – quick and easy and free. I was determined to put my little arrows to use somewhere and I think this is a sweet little spot. I have to say I must have pulled that tape off of the surfaces at least ten times and it still stuck at the end and didn’t tear apart even with the delicate design. I was quite impressed.

Have you incorporated the arrows in your home at all? Are they still trendy? Usually I get on the trends way after the fact but I’m thinking I’m still good on this one. ;)

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  1. Sarah, I adore your blog. It's the first Decor/DIY blog I ever started following, and has a special place in my heart. And your office nook is beautiful - the colors, the airiness of it! Having said that, I'm not crazy about these arrows. I don't think they add much. Everything else, however, I LOVE.

  2. I've never thought to use frog tape as a stencil- brilliant! I totally agree about not caring about the spacing- sometimes the more organic look is just perfect. Sorry your platter didn't work out, but I love your determination to find a project. :) Super cute!

  3. What a great idea, I have spent tons of money with cricket and stencils. I glad you posed this, I will have to try it.

  4. I never know what to do about trends!! I want my house to feel more timeless and permanent, but it's so hard when you love something and want to incorporate it, but don't know if you'll grow tired and be sick of it in a few years! I was reading a blog recently that said white kitchen cabinets are going out... what??? I have been waiting to paint mine, and now I am afraid it will look dated in a couple years. Trends just come and go too quickly!

    1. Jessica, I, too, saw that statement about white kitchen cabinets and don't buy it for a minute. Besides, I love the clean look, the light they bring in and my kitchen needs all of that! Go with what you love, especially when it's something easily paint!

  5. I believe these "arrows" are really referred to as "chevrons".
    Cute idea!

  6. Maybe try a gold sharpie and bake the dish after. I love the look. Way cute!

  7. Love the arrows on your pencil holder, so cute. Great project.

  8. I saw that same plate and thought the same thing, "I can do that". Of course I haven't attempted it yet. I LOVE arrows and it worked out so cute on your pencil holder, nice save.

    Tammy @

  9. Super cute! It does suit that room nicely, too. Will you still try this for your platter once you find a paint that will work?

  10. I love your arrows!!! I'm not a trend following person...I stick with what I like and if it's trendy... It's a plus. My husband actually made me a large arrow from The Handmade Home book. (The handmade walls) and I love it!!! I'm thinking I may try your idea on my teens light fixture plate to add some pizzazz!!! Love your blog!!!

  11. I like those tape-stencils too. May be you can put them to use somewhere.

  12. I will echo one of the previous comments - sharpie and baking works like a charm! Just be aware that the color may change after baking so maybe test the color on a smaller item? Love your blog. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  13. LOVE the pencil holder. And just an idea for the platter: I know it would take longer, but what if you made several of your stencils and just covered the whole thing in frog tape . . . and then just spray painted it! I remember seeing a couple months ago a blog talking about the best gold spray paints, and I know frog tape is usually great about no leaks and stuff.

  14. In our house we put the fireplace on the wall which would be to your far left, square in the middle. I wanted to be able to appreciate it from the kitchen all the way down. I love it!


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