Say goodbye to those boring grey concrete flags and say hello to a super cool new look! With a stencil and some masonry paints you can totally transform your garden patio, all on a budget too. We had paints left over from my Moroccan Courtyard Makeover so it only cost Jasmin the price of a stencil...kerching!
WHAT WE USED
Large paint brush*
Decorator’s masking tape
Large stencil brush*
*if your flags are pretty smooth you can use a roller for applying paint and a small dense foam roller for stencilling.
ORDER YOUR STENCIL
First things first, choose a design. We have so many TILE STENCILS to choose from - modern geometric, Moroccan, Indian, Scandi and Mediterranean...whatever you style, you’re sure to find something you like!
Next, you need to MEASURE YOUR FLAGS. It’s important to get a perfect fit so measure to the nearest mm (or 1/8”). If you don’t see your size on our standard tile stencil sizes then don’t worry we do custom sizes, at NO EXTRA COST! Just purchase the size nearest to your measurements then put a note on your order at checkout. If you struggle adding a note, just send us an email and we will get this sorted for you.
Jasmin went for our Turin Tile design in size XXL (to fit her 60 x 60 cm flags) for £47.98. We shrunk the stencil pattern slightly to 59.8 x 59.8 cm for a nice clean finish.
PREPARE YOUR FLAGS
Now don’t go cutting corners or skip this step guys! Thorough preparation is the key to a good finish. I know it’s the most boring part of any project but trust me, don’t scrimp, it’ll be totally worth it.
Power wash those flags and get rid of as much dirt, moss and grime as you can. What a difference it makes!
Jasmin set me a challenge to power wash a ‘Dizzy Duck’ onto one of the flags to demonstrate how much of a difference cleaning actually makes...hmmm...(would you believe that this is even the second attempt!) I think I'll just stick to designing stencils, free lance art clearly isn't my thing! ✌
APPLY THE BASE COAT
Before starting to paint your first coat brush the flags thoroughly to remove as much dust as possible.
For the base coat we used the left-over ‘Jasmine White’ Dulux Weathershield Ultimate Protection Masonry Paint from my Moroccan Courtyard Makeover. Jasmin’s flags were very cracked and rough textured so we applied the paint with large paint brushes, pushing paint into all the cracks for a full coverage. If your flags are relatively smooth you could probably get away with a roller to speed up the job and save your knees and arms. Good workout though!
Two coats later and we were ready to stencil. Drying time was 4 hours so we were able to get the base coat done in one day without too much stress. Now for the most exciting and fulfilling part of the project...the stenciling!
POSITION YOUR STENCIL
If your tile stencil has registration marks (repeat parts of the pattern for repositioning) cover these up with some masking tape. These repeat markers are used when stencilling a flat flush surface, you won’t need these if you’re stencilling flags or tiles.
Align your stencil onto your flag and use decorator’s masking tape to hold the stencil in place.
Here we go, time for the best part...stencilling! We used left over Ronseal Garden Paint (Charcoal Grey) for the stencilling. Total freebie money saver!
So...to ROLLER or to BRUSH, that is the question?!
If your flags are relatively new and smooth then you can try using a small dense foam roller to stencil with. If, like us, you are dealing with old cracked and rough concrete then it’s a good idea to invest in a large stencil brush. Don’t be tempted to use a normal paint brush as you need flat ended bristles to allow for a stabbing motion. Whatever you do, don’t brush the paint on as you would when painting a wall. The paint will bleed under the stencil and you’ll get uneven blotchy stencilling!
Usually when stencilling indoor projects you hardly use any paint although on a rougher texture such as concrete you can get away with a heavier coverage. But you still have to be careful not to use too much paint or it will seep under the stencil and we don’t want blotchy lines do we peeps?!
Always experiment first in an area that will not be exposed and can be easily covered up with furniture or plant pots if you do mess up. Failing that, just paint over and start again, easily solved!
As the paint coverage is heavier you may need to stencil alternative flags so you aren’t laying the stencil on top of wet paint.
UNEVEN SHAPED FLAGS
Dilemma time! Jasmin’s flags weren’t all square; there was a row of rectangular flags next to the house. Well we are Dizzy Ducks by name but not by nature - we had it covered! All the square flags were stencilled first then we just lined up the tile pattern onto the rectangular flags.
Erm...what rectangular flags? Now you see ‘em, now you don’t!
EDGES AND CORNERS
Always leave edges and corners last and use a stencil brush for more accurate stenciling. Fortunately we didn’t have too many awkward spaces.
You’ve got two choices...either bend your stencil into the edges where the flag meets the fence/wall or cut your stencil to fit.
We used the smaller quarter tile stencil to bend into an edge where one of the flags met the wall. All our Tile Stencils come with smaller pieces to make getting into awkward spaces much less faffy!
We also had an awkward corner where we decided to just cut the stencil to get a perfect fit!
CLEANING YOUR STENCIL
Your stencil will probably need cleaning mid-project. When too much paint builds up on the stencil it causes the paint to bleed under the stencil making ugly blotchy lines.
Fortunately for us Jasmin’s patio is only teeny weeny so we never needed to clean our stencils.
For emulsion and chalk paints we recommend soaking the stencil in very warm soapy water until the paint rubs off easily. Masonry paint is a lot more robust and could be a little more stubborn to clean. You could use wet wipes throughout the project and wipe clean as you go along. Or you can clean the stencil in warm soapy water at intervals. But be careful not to scrub too hard or you’ll damage your stencil. You don’t necessarily need to remove all the paint from the stencil, just make sure the edges of the pattern are free from the build up of paint.
PROTECTING ALL YOUR HARD WORK!
If stencilled with emulsion or chalk paint then you should seal for sure! Polyvine Heavy Duty Varnish can be used indoors and outdoors and comes in a satin or dead flat finish. Loads of our customers are recommending it.
We chose not to seal the flags as we want to test the paint durability and report back to you guys next year.
Months down the line and our patios are still holding up under all the torrential rain we’ve been having here in Northern England! We are going to do a power wash test at some point so watch this space for updates.
So that’s all folks! You are now equipped to go and stencil your own patio flags. But don’t forget, if you need any more hands on advice don’t be shy, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our social media. We are friendly little ducks and are always happy to help where we can! 👍