Tiles painting using a stencil

Encaustic style tiles are characterized by bold patterns and contrasting color combinations, but their installation is often associated with high costs. Replacing floor tiles is usually an expensive renovation. However, if you love the graphic effect of pattern tiles, there is another way to achieve this effect at a fraction of the cost.

With a stencil and some paint, you can add a bold pattern to your outdated tiles and mimic the look of expensive encaustic or cement tiles. This design works best with square glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles, and proper preparation is key to a durable finish. Below are the steps on how to paint and stencil your tile floor for a bold new look in your kitchen, bathroom or hall.

How to paint and apply a stencil?

Please read these instructions carefully before painting the tiles on the floor. Skipping any of the steps may result in paint that flakes, chips or does not adhere properly to the tile.

Required materials:

  • vacuum cleaner or broom
  • grease remover
  • cleaning cloth
  • painting tape
  • primer
  • paint with a chalky or matte finish in at least two colors
  • a small paintbrush
  • foam roller
  • template
  • low tack glue (optional)
  • stencil brush
  • water-based colorless varnish

Step 1: Clean the tiles

tiles painting

The tiles should be completely clean and free of contamination before painting. Start by vacuuming or sweeping the floor to remove any loose dirt or dust. Then scrub the floor thoroughly with a grease remover. Make sure that the cleaner gets into the corners and grout lines, and remove the dirt with a cleaning cloth. Sweep the floors again with a damp cloth to remove any remaining dirt or debris. Allow the floor to dry, then apply painter’s tape to all plinths and other areas that should not be painted.

Step 2: Prepare the tiles

Chalky finish paint usually doesn’t require priming, but if you’re painting tiles on your floor, it’s a good idea to ensure good adhesion and a durable finish. With other types of paint, such as acrylic or latex, the application of a primer is a crucial step. Prepare your tiles with primer. Use a small brush to apply primer around edges and grout lines, then switch to a foam roller to paint larger areas. Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply a second coat of primer if necessary and allow to dry.

Step 3: Paint with the base color

As with the primer application, use a small brush and foam roller to paint the entire surface of the tiles with the base color. Remember that matt paint best imitates the appearance of unglazed encaustic or cement tiles. Allow to dry and apply a second coat if necessary. Make sure the color is completely uniform with no bright spots. Allow at least 24 hours for the paint to dry and solidify completely before applying the stencil.

Step 4: Applying the stencil pattern

Choose a template that fits the dimensions of your tiles. Place the template in the center of one tile and secure the edges with masking tape. You can also spray the back of the stencil with low tack glue and let it dry before placing it on each tile.

Dip a foam roller or stencil brush with a small amount of the second color of paint. To prevent paint from leaking through the stencil, tap off any excess paint before each brushstroke. Fill in all visible areas with paint using the smaller stencil brush if you need to get to more intricate patterns or hard-to-reach areas. If you like, use a third color to highlight specific areas of the pattern. Leave the stencil in place and let the paint dry. If the base color is still visible after applying one coat, re-paint through the stencil and allow to dry.

Step 5: Continue stenciling all over the floor

tiles painting

If your stencil overlaps adjacent tiles, allow each painted tile to dry completely before moving on to the next, or move the stencils around to avoid ruining the fresh paint on the previous tile. At edges or features such as toilets and sinks, match the corners of the stencil and tiles and secure with masking tape where possible. Use your free hand to bend the template and press it against an edge or corner as you complete the pattern. In places where the stencil does not fit, use a small brush to continue the pattern by hand.

Step 6: Fixes and Protection

Use a small paintbrush to touch up where paint has dripped or gone through the stencil. Once your design is finished and completely dry, use a foam brush or roller to apply a water-based clearcoat for protection. Allow to dry for at least two hours before applying a second coat. Let dry overnight and remove all painter’s tape. Through this process, you can achieve the look of expensive tiles at a fraction of the cost, transforming your spaces anew.

Scroll to Top