DIY Patio Stenciling...

Today I'm sharing how I stenciled our back patio...
It was such a tedious project to take on, but totally worth it in the end!

Before you get started, I recommend checking out the weather first to see if you have at least 3 or 4 days straight of sunshine (no rain). Once you have your dates to start the project, you will need to clean the patio and make sure there is no dirt on the concrete for the first step of paint.

We ended up borrowing my parents pressure washer to clean off any set in dirt/stain spots.
After it was washed, we had to let it completely dry.

Below are the products that we used:
1. Valspar Concrete Sealer--use this as your base coat. We used the color 'concrete grey' and put on 2 coats of paint. We probably should have done 3 coats to be on the safe side, so keep that in mind.
2. Valspar Porch, Floor, & Patio latex paint--it starts off as a base color, so you will need to get it colored to white. This is what we used to stencil the pattern on top of the base.
3. Thompson's WaterSeal--The last step! After the stenciling is done & the paint is dry, use this to seal it all to prevent water damage, 

here is the exact stencil (plus a similar one) + brushes & recommended gardening pads

Once the cleaned patio is dry, it's time to start painting the base coat!
We bought a gallon to paint our 160 sq/ft patio. Since we only gave the patio 2 coats, we only used about 3/4 of the can. It does come out super liquidy, so be careful when pouring into the paint tray. I recommend buying a paint roller and an extension pole to hook on the end of it. It makes painting the concrete SO much easier. 

If you're painting this while it's completely sunny outside, it will dry in minutes!
It took about a full 20-30 mins for this part to do & complete.
I did have to use a paint brush and paint inside the grooves between the 3 slabs of concrete.

(this is what it looked like with 2 coats of paint)

Once the base is on and dried, it's time to start the fun part...STENCILING!

Buy the 'rough surfaces' painters tape to hold down the stencil and to keep it in place while you're dabbing in the paint. You will have to change out the tape from time to time.

So how I figured out where to start my stencil, I wanted to make sure that where I put it I could move around from place to place. Meaning that after I painted one side I could move to the opposite end and work on it there while the previous paint job dried (and so on and so forth).

I started where the three concrete slabs meet & then painted back and forth from there.
As for the grooves, I did not try to stencil inside grooves. (see pictures below for example)

With the stencil we used, it already had outlines printed on the sides so that you know where to correctly place & line up the stencil to continue the pattern.

Again, with the grooves, I completely skipped painting the insides of them because it would have been a pain in the butt (plus a mess) trying to do so. It honestly looks so much cleaner without attempting to do so.

When it comes to the actual dabbing paint brush, I suggest getting two or three. 
I switched back and forth between brushes so that one could dry and I could paint with the other.
A clean brush makes a world of difference creates cleaner & sharper lines when dabbing onto the stencil.
What happens when the brush gets too full with paint? The paint doesn't go on very well and all that excess paint will bleed through the stencil. (same with not keeping your stencil clean)

I also HIGHLY recommend buying two of the same stencils. Cleaning the stencil can be difficult, and you will need a latex paint remover to get it clean again.

I continued the pattern, and I did have some hiccups along the way...
As I was switching back and forth, I started to notice that some of the patterns weren't lining up correctly as they should.
Turns out that my stencil was not exactly symmetrical. I noticed this about half way through the process. So if you plan on using this stencil, I definitely recommend marking the stencil so you know how to place it. I marked it with arrows, at the bottom corners, so that they should always point towards the house.

Instead of starting over in some of those areas, I had to improvise and adjust how I was painting in the stencil. Example: if the dots weren't lined up, I had to center at least one of the florets to help make up for the misalignment.

When it came to painting the edges around the step & side of the house, I ultimately decided to save that step for last! I knew it was going to be pretty difficult maneuvering the stencil around to paint in tiny patterns against the brick siding & decided to cut the stencil in half to get those tough spots. 

Again, some of the patterns didn't line up correctly, so I had to make do and improvise.
Honestly, you can't even tell that they're misaligned.

After all the stenciling is done & has dried. I went back with the grey paint to fix the imperfections.
I used a small craft paintbrush to fix any bleeds and any other problem areas.

This is what it looks like after we painted the sealant. It had to dry for a full 24 hours so we ended up lining off the patio with some rope so that no one could walk on it haha

And once it was dried we were able to set the patio furniture back on it.
We also got creative and built a fire pit at the corner of our patio.