Painting small letters onto wood paneling is difficult when done freehand, but if you use a stencil the process becomes much less complicated. The main problem with stencils occurs if the stencil is not positioned correctly on the wall. Use a level to help position the stencil and you should have no problems painting letters onto wood. You can also write the letters freehand if you are skilled at calligraphy or have excellent handwriting. After painting the letters you can seal them with a clear polyurethane sealer to protect them, if desired.
Sand the wood panels lightly with a fine grit sandpaper to help the paint stick to the surface. Wipe the area down with a damp cloth to remove dust and residue from the sanding and to prepare the area for the paint. Wait a few minutes for the panels to dry before painting.
Tape the top edge of the stencil to the wall where you want to paint the letters. If necessary, cut apart the stencil so that the letters sit on the panels themselves and not on grooves between panels. You can cut apart both cardboard and plastic stencils; just make sure to cut the solid piece between the letters and leave at least a 1/2 inch border around each letter.
Flip the stencil up and remove the adhesive backing. Flip the stencil back down and press the stencil against the wall. Remove the top paper backing to expose the wall beneath the stencil. If the stencil does not have an adhesive backing, you can use painter's tape to secure the outer edges of each stencil.
Press the stencil in place again, or use tape to secure all edges.
Dip the brush into the paint. Remove most of the paint from the brush by dabbing it onto a cloth or paper towel. Dot the paint lightly onto the wall through the stencil until you have the desired paint coverage.
Wait five minutes, then gently peel away the stencil. Use tweezers to remove the letter centers. Do not touch the letters until the paint dries, which can take up to two hours.
Paint a polyurethane sealer over the letters with a paintbrush to protect them from chipping or peeling, if desired. Let the sealer dry overnight before touching the panels.
- Wall to Wall Stencils: Instructions
- The Art of Creative Lettering; Becky Higgins, Siobhan McGowan, Lisa Bearnson; 1999
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images