Lifestyle & Culture

DIY it Together: Wall Stencil Wallpaper

Whether it’s over Netflix and wine or it’s a night out on the town, bonding with your roommate can create a positive atmosphere in any apartment for the years to come. But as exciting as it may be gossiping over bottomless mimosas at brunch or visiting that new creperie down the street, there’s a better way to strengthen a relationship while adding some pizzazz to your home as well: DIY decor. After all, what better way to spend a weekend than turning your shared space into something out of a magazine — on a budget, that is — while strengthening your friendship? To inspire your roommate bonding, we’ve got you covered with these DIYs from roommates who put in the time for a unique bonding experience.

The Project: DIY Wall Stencil Wallpaper

Accent walls can make for a great conversation starter, but they also help engage strangers who just moved in together. And since painting a wall can be tricky and a bit tedious, doing so with a helping hand can turn this DIY project into a fun experience for all.

For Layla O’Kane and her roommates, Jessica, Shannon and Monica, creating wall stencil wallpaper was three hours of quality bonding time when they moved into their new apartment together.

“Our painting day was actually the first time that I met one of my roommates [Jessica],” O’Kane says. “It created a comfortable environment for us to get to know each other better, and I think that creating something together for our house made us all feel more ownership of the apartment.”

diy wall stencil

Photo Credit: Nathalie Spina

Likewise, New York residents Nathalie Spina and Krysta Camp used the DIY as a way to introduce themselves to one another. With several coats of paint and hours of conversation, they were able to learn more about each other’s interests while building communication skills as well, according to Spina. While she said Camp was more attentive to detail, Spina’s height put her in charge of reaching the top half of the wall.

“Once we realized this would be a timely process, we started to use the time painting as an icebreaker and really opened up to conversation as we worked,” Spina said. “Having some glasses of wine and fun music blasting while we worked really helped too.”

Not only is the wall complete and a beautiful accent to their living room, but Spina said it also finally makes the space feel more personalized.

“Now when we get back from any crazy day in the city it feels like we are really arriving home,” Spina said. “Something as simple as a decorated wall can really add more comfort and feeling of home to any apartment.”

The Supplies

  1. Interior paint
  2. Paintbrushes
  3. Paint rollers
  4. Stencils of your choice
  5. Sponges
  6. Painters tape
  7. Tarp (optional)

Photo Credit: Layle O' Kane


The Process

  1. Lay out the tarp where you plan on painting.
  2. Decide on your design layout, and position your stencil on the wall as a starting place. Tape the sides with painters tape.
  3. Dip your paintbrush or paint roller in paint, making sure to remove any excess paint. Stippling with a paintbrush is a good idea to avoid paint leaking under the stencil and to ensure an even coat. (You can also use the sponges/paint roller if you prefer.)
  4. Use a leveler or a ruler to mark the points of the stencil before moving it.
  5. Tape again with painters tape and repeat.

If you decide not to use the painters tape, O’Kane advises rotating through roommates during the process as holding up the stencil can be tiring in and of itself. Additionally, Spina warns that you should always clean the stencil after use because cleaning off dried paint is nearly impossible and can block up some of the design.