How to Use Wall Decals as a Stencil

I know I’ve said this before, but I am always completely blown away by the creativity of our customers. Over the years, I’ve received emails and photos from people who have fantastic decorating ideas, including some completely “out of the box” uses for our wall decals. We’ve seen everything from a family tree to a playhouse, and we receive new submissions every week.

By a stroke of luck, I managed to find this project while browsing Pinterest. We’ve occasionally wondered in the past if our wall decals could be used as stencils, but we’ve never had the opportunity to try it out ourselves. Lucky for us, Kelsey at Little Bits of... did! Kelsey and her family used our Tree Branches wall decals to create a beautiful stenciled pallet headboard, and she was more than willing to allow us to share the how-to process here on our blog.

Without further ado, here’s the how-to process straight from Kelsey’s blog!

Step 1: Assemble your pallet or surface of choice


Kelsey and her mother repurposed wooden planks from a shipping pallet to create a wooden headboard. The pieces were attached to one another with brackets, spare wood, screws, and a little bit of strong glue.

Since RoomMates can be applied to anything flat, smooth, and dry, they can effectively act as a stencil on a smooth surface, too—meaning you could replicate the pallet application, or just stick them on an empty wall, unsealed or sanded furniture, and so on.

Step 2: Apply your wall decals

Tree Branches wall decals on pallet headboard

Take your RoomMates of choice and apply them to your surface. You can reposition them as many times as you like until you are happy with their placement. However, one thing to keep in mind: dust, dirt, or debris will affect how well the decals stick, so try to keep your surface as clean as possible.

Step 3: Paint or stain the surface

Pallet headboard with wood stain on wall decals

Get out that paint or wood stain and go! Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure your paint or stain is applied correctly, and allowed to dry for the recommended period of time.

You can use our wall decals as a stencil with either wood stain or paint, but doing so comes with one important warning: you cannot reuse the decals after they are stained or painted over. Because RoomMates are made of a very thin vinyl material, paint or stain may bleed through and compromise the adhesive.

Step 4: Remove the decals and perform necessary touch-ups

Stencil wall decals removed from stained headboard

Once your paint or stain has dried, peel the decals away from the surface. You will be left with a silhouette of the design. Cool, huh?

As Kelsey found, the stain she used bled through the thin material of the wall decals, resulting in some uneven coloring and not fully defined lines. This prompted her to use white paint to cover the silhouettes, basically creating a reverse effect on the wood.

Paint being applied to stencil marks

If you are working with unfinished wood, you may want to apply a sealant at this step, or touch up any spots that weren’t properly finished. If using the decals as stencils on a wall, you may just need to do some general paint touchups around the edges.

Step 5: Admire your handiwork!

Here’s the finished headboard...

Pallet headboard using wall decals from Little Bits of...

I love it! When I first spotted this photo on Pinterest, I really loved the combination of a rustic pallet headboard with the modern pop of white branches. It took me a while to realize those branch silhouettes were strangely familiar—and when I did, I loved the project even more.

When I contacted Kelsey about her blog post, she gave RoomMates a glowing review:

Those decals saved our life when doing this project! I loved how they weren't all attached as one piece, but separated by branches and leaves so we could make it our own. […] They were really simple to work with and gave us just the design we wanted.

We’re so glad we could contribute to this creative project. Kelsey may not have realized it at the time, but she just introduced a brand new use for our wall decals!

What do you think about this project? Is this something you would attempt for yourself? Which one of our wall decals would make the best stencil for your next DIY project? Let us know!

2 thoughts on “How to Use Wall Decals as a Stencil”

  • Sarah October 12, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    I want to stick a decal ion a painted canvas and then spray paint on top . Then peel off the decal will that work ?

    • Jessica T. December 28, 2015 at 10:42 AM

      Hi Sarah. This should work! We've had other customers try this and have a positive experience with it!

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