Well it’s Week 3 of the One Room Challenge® , and I survived it with my sanity intact. Barely.
I was stenciling the floor. All week.
I’d started the project with confidence after getting some words of encouragement from Stacie, another ORC participant who had just finished a charming stenciled wall. This kind of moral support is what makes the ORC so much fun.
Why A Stencil?
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Chris had installed a plywood floor in the room to cover some hideous mid century linoleum. (Check out Week 2 to see the ugly linoleum!)
We came to the conclusion that, to avoid having too much of a height variance between the hallway and dressing room floors, and to keep this project cost-effective, simply painting the plywood was the best option.
The mostly-white room would need something to “pop,” so we kept coming back to the idea of a stenciled floor. After all, stenciled floors and stenciled tiles are kind of a thing right now.
But sometimes it doesn’t take long for “a thing” to become “that old thing,” which is why I try to keep my decor classic and avoid those kinds of “things.”
Then it dawned on me that this is just paint – one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to infuse a trend. Once the stencil is not “a thing” anymore, I can simply paint over it. But I really don’t want it to come to that, so we chose this classic eight-inch stencil.
You can see that four stylized fleur-de-lis images make up the eight-inch square. It really doesn’t get more classic than the fleur-de-lis, which has been around for centuries.
And it would also work with nicely with the original design elements of our circa 1927 house.
The Fun Begins!
I suspected (and rightly so) that this project would be time consuming and frustrating. So I did a little research and found a wealth of information over at lovelyetc. com. Here, Carrie talks about her DIY stenciled plywood living room floor. She even has updates on how it is holding up.
Not wanting to re-invent the wheel, I followed her advice pretty much to the letter. And when I didn’t follow her advice, I lived to regret it (more on that later).
Before we go any further, I should mention that plywood is considered a subfloor, and this might become an issue when selling a home because some lenders don’t like exposed subfloors. Not sure if that would count in my case because there is a “real” floor under the plywood, but it’s worth mentioning.
The Paint and Colors
I used Valspar Porch, Floor and Patio Latex Paint. After much deliberation (insert eye roll by my husband here), my colors were “Crucible” for the base coat and “Fresh Bread” for the stencil.
With the room being so tiny, a quart of each was enough.
Applying the Base Coat
I’d already applied two coats of Zinnser Bulls Eye Primer. So over this, I applied two coats of the Crucible using a roller cover designed for smooth surfaces and my trusty, and much used, Shur-Line edger for the edges. (And of course, I vacuumed the floor, the roller cover, and edger pad within an inch of their lives first, for a lint-free application.)
This was definitely the easy part.
Measuring For the Stencil – What, No Way!!
Measure twice, stencil once. I measured the room to figure out the best plan of attack for the pattern I was about to paint. If there would be a part-pattern along any edge, which edge should it be? And then where should I start?
After measuring, I was sure I was wrong. No way could I be this lucky: The pattern repeat would fit perfectly with the dimensions of this weirdly-shaped little room. There would be no part-patterns along any of the floor edges!
To better wrap my head around this (and to practice a bit more with the stencil), I painted the pattern repeat on a test board that I’d used earlier to experiment with paint colors.
I wasn’t wrong.
Painting the Stencil
The size of my stencil turned out to be both a blessing and a curse. While it fit perfectly with the room dimensions, at eight inches it was a very small stencil for use on a floor. I bought it because I liked it, knowing full well that Carrie recommends using a larger stencil.
I’d created a lot of work for myself.
The process took many hours over several days. I learned that the stencil worked best if wasn’t too clean but also not too gummed up with paint. Medium gummy was just right. And it was important not to oversaturate the roller with paint. Less paint on the roller meant less cursing by me.
I kept a wet rag handy to wipe away any mistakes. And there were mistakes.
The stencil had a guide to make it easier to keep the pattern lined up.
But I was so focused on keeping the lines straight that I forgot one important fact: Straight lines and old houses don’t mix.
I found out the hard way that one of the walls runs ever so slightly at an angle. So, while the stencil pattern lined up, it looked a bit crooked running next to that wall.
I had to paint over that portion and start again – carefully repainting it so that the pattern looked lined up yet still ran straight along the wall.
By this time, I was dreaming about the end of this project, when I would light a glorious bonfire and watch that stencil burn! (Of course it was only a dream since burning plastic is very uncool.)
And I shouldn’t be mad at the stencil anyway. Made in the U.S.A., it was good quality. It held up well considering how many times I cleaned it during the process.
Now the hard part is over. The floor looks a bit busy but, once the furniture is in, it will all come together.
It’s not perfect, but it is a hand-painted floor so I think the imperfections give it character. That is what I’m telling myself, anyway.
Because, perfect or not, I’m done stenciling!
Coming Next Week
The next step is to protect my work with several coats of finish, and then we can focus on the furniture.
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