Photo via: omnomally.com
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I really liked the zebra’s attitude, but it was actually a little too big and it ships from Korea…meeting my 2-day delivery deadline just wasn’t going to happen. Small Zebra Stencil* And this one, which was a little too small and didn’t have enough movement. Zebra Stickers* I even considered these peel-and-stick zebra wall decals*, but I didn’t think I really wanted stickers on the walls in my bathroom. And I thought I was going to have to give up on my stenciling idea. Until I ran across a zebra image on Adobe Stock and decided I could use it to make my own stencil. What You Need Materials Stencil Mylar* – I used 12″ x 17″ sheets so that my zebras were a decent size Silver paint* White paint – I used a latex paint sample can from Sherwin Williams Black paint Tools Die Cutting Machine* Foam Rollers* Foam brush* Step 1: Make The Stencil I made the stencil using my Klik-N-Kut die cutter machine* (but you could use any die cutting machine that will allow you to import .jpg images) and some stencil plastic sheets*. While it is technically possible to create the stencils manually with a utility knife, I think trying to cut out all of the zebra stripes by hand would be very tedious! Looking at the Scalamandre zebras, they have a white background with black stripes. So that meant actually creating 2 stencils…one for the white background and one for the stripes. To do that, I edited the original picture using Photoshop and made 2 new ones. Then I imported the images into the software that comes with the die cutting machine and set it to work! (Read the instructions for your machine if you’re not sure what settings to use for stencil plastic). Step 2: Take It For A Test Run The tricky part about using 2-part stencils is making sure you know how they are supposed to line up. To test it before I actually started messing up the walls, I used a piece of construction paper and some colored pencils. The first step is to color in the background stencil with white. Then take the stripes stencil and position it in the right place. The easiest way to do this is to line up a couple of the easy to identify end points…like the end of the tail, the nose and the end of the zebra’s legs. Use the black color pencil to draw in the stripes. It doesn’t have to be perfect…just enough so that you’re comfortable that you know how they fit together. Tip: If you are using this stencil, the black lines on the zebra’s mane aren’t over the white part, so don’t use the back of the mane to try to line up the stencil (learned from experience). Step 3: Paint The Background I love this silver paint* that I used for the background. It has just enough shine (but not too much) and goes on really easily. For the best results, use a foam roller to roll the silver paint onto the wall. Be careful not to press too hard or you will leave roller marks in the paint. I only had to do one coat, but I was painting over gray (so there wasn’t much difference in the color tone). Step 4: Decide On Your Pattern Figure out where you want the zebras to go. I did mine in a zig-zag pattern going down the wall and had each row facing in the opposite direction. You could also line them up on top of each other or have them facing all the same way. That is the beauty of stencils…you can do whatever pattern you want with them! Step 5: Apply The Background Stencil Start in a corner that is not too obvious. Behind the door is a good spot 🙂 It may take a couple of tries to get the paint on exactly right and this way it won’t be in a noticeable spot. Put up the background stencil. I found that the stencil clung pretty well to the wall without requiring any extra help, but if yours doesn’t you can tape it at the top to hold it in place. Then use the foam roller to cover the entire stencil area with white paint. This part is really easy! Lift off the stencil and move it over to where the next zebra should go. Remember to leave space for the parts of the zebra (like the tail, nose, and feet) that will be a little longer once the black goes on. If you are having the zebras face in different directions like I did, do all of the ones that are facing in the same direction first. Then go back and fill in the ones that are facing in the other direction. You will need to turn the stencil over to do this, and chances are the paint around the edges won’t be completely dry, so you will either need to wait until it is or dry it off thoroughly with some paper towel. When you have finished all of the white backgrounds, it is time to move on to the fun part…the stripes! Step 6: Paint The Stripes Check to make sure that the white paint has dried on the wall. Then position the striped stencil over the white paint, lining it up as you did in the practice run. Don’t worry if you don’t get it lined up perfectly every time (I certainly didn’t!) When they are all done, you won’t really notice it. Dip the foam brush into the black paint and wipe off all of the excess. You don’t want too much paint on the brush or it will look too dark against the white and may run under the stencil. Dab the brush onto the stencil until you have covered all of the striped area with paint. Same as you did with the white paint, it works best to do all of the zebras that are facing in the same direction before moving on to the opposite facing ones. Before you know it, you will have a wall of zebras! Enjoy The Finished Look I know I’ve said this before, but I love the finished look! I had all kinds of people thinking that I had decided to go with the wallpaper. And when I didn’t like the placement of some of the zebras, I was able to have a do-over. Just paint over the zebra with the silver paint, and make him again! Something you definitely can’t do with wallpaper. Hopefully, you now know exactly how to make your own much less expensive version of the Scalamandre zebra wallpaper…all you have to do is figure out where to put them 🙂 Have comments or questions on my DIY Zebra Wallpaper? Tell us in the section below. You Might Also Like