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How to Align Repeating Stencils
How to Align Repeating Stencils

How to use repeatable pattern stencils

Kath Ramirez avatar
Written by Kath Ramirez
Updated over a week ago

Repeatable stencils are an easy and affordable way to transform any wall, floor or other surface into an eye-catching masterpiece. We’ve designed our stencils to be easily repeatable, no special skills required.

For more information about how to paint a wall with stencils, check out our article How to Paint Stencils on Walls. This article can help with choosing paint roller types, taping the stencil to a wall and using registration marks.


  • Wall paint

  • 4”-6” paint roller with a nap lower that ¼”

    • Or a foam roller

  • Painter’s tape (1” or wider)

  • Paint tray

  • Drop Cloth

  • Pencil

  • (Optional) hair dryer or fan

  • (Optional) small paintbrush for touchups

Place first stencil

Before beginning, lay a drop cloth on the floor to catch drops of paint. If a stencil has a geometric pattern, such as a checkerboard stencil, use a level to assure that the pattern will be level. Use a strip of painter’s tape to affix the stencil to the level and align it on the wall. Smooth down the tape on the edge of the stencil and remove the level to begin. Stand 5’-10’ away from the wall to observe the placement of the stencil.

Paint stencil with roller

Use a microfiber or foam roller to paint the stencil with a thin layer of paint. For an in-depth tutorial on how to paint clean edges with a paint roller, check out our article about How to Paint Stencils on Walls.

Peel off stencil

Once the paint has had a few minutes to sit, gently peel up one of the top corners of tape. Stand on the opposite side from the corner of the tape being peeled. To remove, pull the stencil outward from the wall and towards yourself.

Fully dry paint

Before repeating the stencil, it's important to let the paint dry FULLY. If a stencil is placed on top of wet paint, it'll peel up the paint underneath. Use a hairdryer or fan to help speed up the drying process. Wave a hairdryer over the entire design or set up a fan in front of it. The thinner the paint, the faster it'll dry. Tap a finger against shiny spots in the paint to test if the paint is dry enough. If it transfers onto your finger, it' still too wet. Dry the back of the stencil as well if there is any paint on it.

Match up repeating elements with previous design

Here’s the most important part: making sure the pattern is going to be able to repeat seamlessly.

To place the second stencil, make sure the stencil is facing the same way that it was on the first application. On each side of the stencil, there will be elements that are repeated right to left or up and down. The top and bottom of the stencil will “connect” with repeated elements of the design, and the sides of the stencil will “connect” as well.

Paint second application of the stencil

Paint over the second layer or application of the stencil in the same manner as the first. It's OK to paint over the top of the repeated elements.

Dry paint completely

Using a hairdryer or fan, make sure that the paint fully dries to the touch.


Repeat this process until the entire area is covered.

Troubleshooting tips:

  • If the stencil has been used many times, paint may begin to build up on the plastic. Cleaning some of the paint off of the stencil will help create crisp lines when painting. To learn how to clean stencils, refer to our article, How to Clean and Store Mylar Stencils and video on the same topic and page.

  • Sometimes paint bleed occurs. It happens to the best of us! All that's needed to fix this is a small paintbrush and some of the base paint color.

  • Having trouble keeping the stencil up against the wall or want a better chance at more crisp lines? Try using a spray adhesive on the back of the stencil to help it adhere to the wall.

  • Is there paint pooling at the end of the roller? Try using a paint tray that's made for a 7”-12” paint roller. A larger tray makes it easier to roll out the edges of the paint roller.

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