I once again turn to you all mighty LJ's for an answer to my finishing question. Stencil and Stain.

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Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 257 days ago 612 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3292 posts in 1115 days

257 days ago

I just saw a video (wine bottle balancer) where stencil was taped down over wood tightly and then a gel stain was added to produce wording on the wood, once the stencil was removed the wording remained, so my questions are 1. What’s keeping the stain from bleeding under the stencil? Would it be necessary to lay down a coat of wax free shellac as a sealer coat first? 2. Would the stain smear if another top coat of finish was laid down on top say wipe on poly for instance?

Video below.


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

7 replies so far

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7488 posts in 1523 days

#1 posted 257 days ago

My best advice to you is to test, test, TEST on a scrap of similar wood. Be sure to use a stencil brush which is rather flat and hold it perpendicular to the wood and ‘tap’ the stain into place. Also (and I can’t emphasize this enough!) after loading the paint onto the brush, tap it on a folded paper towel to get most of the paint off. Excess paint will definitely ‘bleed’ under the stencil. You should then begin in the middle of the stencil and ‘pounce’ on the paint, a little at a time, building up the color or effect you want. You don’t have to do it all in one shot.

I would then allow it to dry completely before applying any type of sealer over it. If possible, maybe spray something like Krylon Fixative over it to set it completely if you are brushing on a finish.

As I said – test all of these things first. I am sure that different stains/gels will react differently and you want to be sure where you are heading. Please let us know how you do. :)


-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs "Knowledge is Power"

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)


3273 posts in 1416 days

#2 posted 257 days ago

Good adhesion of the vinyl stencil, and the use of gel stain would be key.
Wipe on oil based stain finds a way to bleed under just about any adhesive.
Make a bunch. It they bleed, sand off the stain and try it again.

Just don’t brush a topcoat over the gel stain before it is good and dry.
Spraying eliminates the risk of removing or smudging the stain when topcoating.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

11097 posts in 1708 days

#3 posted 257 days ago

That stencil must fit tight to the wood and stick real well and the wood has to be fine grain so there is no deep grain for the stain to wick into.
I never have good luck with stencils unless I spray over them. If the coating is fine I usually don’t get any wicking.
I agree with Sheila…....always test it on a piece of the same kind of wood.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Blackie_'s profile


3292 posts in 1115 days

#4 posted 257 days ago

Thanks everyone for the comments, great info, that’s why I’m wondering if I put a sealer coat down first like shellac that should keep it from bleeding, as Shelia said I’m going to put it to test, I always do a coat of shellac over my tung oil before poly anyway.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View Tooch's profile


583 posts in 479 days

#5 posted 257 days ago

if you are looking to add text/graphics, I know a guy who is willing and able to produce vinyls decals in just about any color. vinyl stickers would be the way to go. ok I really don’t want to sound self-consumed, but Take a look at the cornhole boards I made on this post… .... it’s just a vinyl decal over wood and poly on top.

take a look on craigslist… you can normally find the vinyl cutters cheap and they are well worth your while.. car decals, yard signs, t-shirts, wood projects, the possibilities are almost endless!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Roger's profile


14166 posts in 1407 days

#6 posted 256 days ago

What everyone said up above. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe.

View katilicous's profile


29 posts in 1007 days

#7 posted 256 days ago

I like to use stickers instead and the old stripes method. Expect bleeding and plan ahead by first filling in the stencil area with the finish that is already on the table. It creates a seal and once it dries you wont get bleeding with the stain you are going to apply next. Works with painting stripes with blue tape on walls

-- If you fall, I'll be there. -Floor

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