How to Paint any Stencil on Any Surface Using Just Black and White Paint

Today’s Bay Stencil Challenge was to paint any stencil on any surface using just black and white paint. So we chose some color stencils like Wonder Woman and the Police Call Box, and we put them up on light- and dark-colored surfaces, as well as a bright red surface.

We practiced with these stencils, learned something about what makes them ‘pop’ in a setting where you can only use black and white paint, and in the end had some pretty good results.

wonder woman and callbox stenciled on the wall in various combinations with different surface colors

Some key take-aways:

  • When using pure black or pure white paint to approximate shades of gray, it helps to have some fat and skinny caps on hand, and a very light touch
  • you don’t have to leave out the stencil that includes the background color altogether: it can be useful to mark some interior areas of the stencil (like the white in the label on the police call box)
  • marking edges freehand without any stencil present changes the look of the composition very easily: use with caution!
  • avoid white paint ‘build-up’ in your more neutral layers: it’s rare that you want to use the whitest white to cover your brightest layer (portraits especially can end up looking really ghastly with too much white)

Check the video for an end-to-end look at the stencil exploration.