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 11-14-2013 05:23 PM 1392 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4883 posts in 2541 days

11-14-2013 05:23 PM

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)

9231 posts in 2948 days

#1 posted 11-14-2013 05:32 PM

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. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2842 days

#2 posted 11-14-2013 05:39 PM

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

20600 posts in 3134 days

#3 posted 11-14-2013 09:38 PM

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


4883 posts in 2541 days

#4 posted 11-14-2013 09:57 PM

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


1772 posts in 1904 days

#5 posted 11-15-2013 04:32 AM

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


20929 posts in 2832 days

#6 posted 11-15-2013 12:47 PM

What everyone said up above. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View katilicous's profile


42 posts in 2433 days

#7 posted 11-15-2013 08:16 PM

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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