A Fireplace Surround Transformation Guide Inspired by My “Smurf Blue” Makeover

by AryanArtnews
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Stylish stencil

To reflect the Art Deco mood of the poster adjacent to the fireplace, I was set in a geometric motif and was excited to find a “deco diamond” in Stenciled Up. I requested a custom size because the pattern wasn’t available for my tile size of 12 x 12 inches, but the project was delayed by a few weeks. Knowing that the pattern is a bit busy, choose a light gray accent that resembles a wall tint (Behr Dolphin Fin — 8 ounces of color sample should be a sufficient amount of paint). “Creating a color harmony connects it as one coordinated project,” Woelfel suggests.

“Stencils aren’t a simple DIY situation,” warned artists Lisa Donohoe and Brynn Gelbald behind my stencil gurus, Los Angeles decorative painter Londubh Studio. This is how I get the job done.

I want to see how the stencils line up, so I plan to practice with kraft paper using a stencil brush. Who knows, I might end up with a great wrapping paper!

Misalignment is clearly a common beginner’s mistake. Donohoe suggests that you use a choke to mark the center of the tile as a guideline for matching the tile with the stencil when moving it to the tile.

When you’re ready to place the stencil on top of the tile, use Scotch spray mount repositionable glue to make sure that the entire surface, not just the edges, is secured to the tile. It should be taped with painter at the corners. “Just spray lightly, wait 30 seconds and then place it, it’s sticky rather than wet,” says Lorraine Penney of Stenciled Up. Tap the notch to prevent the paint from flowing. “The first layer needs to be very transparent,” adds Donohoe. “At least not immediately, we’re not looking for full coverage. It’s better to run two or three layers than to deal with overkill.” In fact, opaque finishes are more organic. I can see (and be tolerant).

In between transfers, use a hair dryer to speed up the process and avoid confusion. It is also important to wipe the stencil with a clean cloth after each use. I estimate that my 21 square foot tile area will take at least 3 hours to complete. Finishing Finish: Water-based polyurethane to protect tiles from dirt and scratches by applying clear satin Minwax Polycrylic three times. This uses foam rollers and adds two coats to the top of the mantle to prevent all decorations from wearing paint over time.

Repainted fireplace. Ready to apply tile stencils.

Photo: Yelena Moroz Alpert


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