Learn to Make a Custom Stencil Table Top

customstenciltabletopIf you enjoy painting and being creative, you might like to make your own stenciled table top with a design that inspires you!

We asked our friend Elizabeth Cohen to teach us some interesting painting techniques that can not only be used on furniture but can also be used on your walls. The following intructions are for a Custom Stencil Table Top. 

Make sure you check out Elizabeth’s other painting techniques Granite Tile Table Top and Marble Look Table Top.

Materials List: 

  • fine sanding block
  • de-glosser
  • cotton rag
  • white pearl satin latex paint
  • 4” low nap roller
  • 4” roller handle
  • disposable paint tray
  • large stencil film (usually sold in packages of 2)
  • x-acto knife
  • fine tip black permanent marker
  • blue painters tape
  • stencil brush
  • pewter metallic craft paint
  • satin water based polyurethane


1. To start, I always lightly sand any surface I am going to paint, then wipe down with a liquid de-glosser and rag.

2. This table top was first painted with a white pearl finish latex paint using a 4” low nap roller, which gives you the most consistent and evenly covered surface.

3.When that is dry, between 2 and 4 hours, I take my custom cut stencil, in this case, the stencil film (purchased at any local craft store) was cut to mimic leaves and a vine pattern found in the bed linens that were going to be used on the bed.

4.To make the pattern, I drew the leaves and vines on a piece of poster board, laid the stencil on top of it, and cut the stencil. Make sure you protect whatever surface you lay the poster board on prior to cutting.

5. I laid the stencil along one edge, taped it down with blue painters tape, and using a bristle stencil brush, painted on the design by pouncing the brush. This step was repeated along each side of the table with the stencil overlapping in each corner.

I used a pewter metallic paint from the local hardware store. There are several manufacturers that make metallic paints, and they can generally be found at home improvement stores, local paint and hardware stores. All the paints used in this technique were water based.

This is a quick and easy way to transform a table top or any surface to custom match your décor. For added protection, I would recommend that you topcoat the surface with a water based polyurethane using a low nap 4” mohair roller – 2 coats should suffice. Let dry between coats for about 2 hours, then enjoy your custom piece!

Again a special thanks to Elizabeth, she can be reached at the following e-mail address.

Elizabeth Cohen
President, Faux Elegance Specialty Painters
President, Friends of Solon Center for the Arts

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