Oui, oui, the writing is on the wall, y’all…and if these walls could talk, they would whisper in a French accent. DIY French Script Stenciled Wall shares the how-to and photos of a timeless stenciled accent wall in a guest bedroom. I’m also sharing an update on my personal life at the end.
The French script is nearly illegible so the artfulness is about character and dramatic scale. Admire the look of old French letters and documents? Try this inexpensive and easy DIY with grey chalk paint you can make yourself!
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
How to Create a Chic French Script Stenciled Accent Wall!
If you have stenciled before, then you know. It’s easy peasy, madame. However, the beauty of this stencil project is how I customized the look to appear hand-lettered.
I’m sharing the secrets!
Is stenciling a wall sooooo 5 minutes ago? Someone disparaged my French script wall on FB, informing me French Script is totally passé. To that, I say NOPE. It’s timeless, and I’m unconcerned with small-mindedness and trends.
Supplies include: 21″ x 10.75″ stencil, pouncer style natural bristle paintbrush, blue painter’s tape, and grey chalk paint.
I started the project with Annie Sloan Paris Grey but underestimated the amount of paint required! Since I didn’t want to stop stenciling, I successfully mixed my own. It matched beautifully! (I have made chalk paint many times, so if you have ever wanted to learn how to make chalk paint, read on!)
Supplies: French Script Stenciled Wall
French Script Stencil
The stencil’s description from Stencil Stash notes: “Taken from an old letter between friends, the text is only partially legible to add an evocative feel to your projects. Perfect for furniture, fabric, crafts and home decor.”
Repeating the stencil on a large expanse meant reusing the stencil many times and paint build up on the stencil. While this mylar stencil cleans up easily with soap and water, it’s helpful to buy multiples of the stencil to minimize the labor and pauses to clean the stencil.
The size of the XL size stencil I used is 21″ by 10.75″.
I used a pouncer paintbrush like this one for the project, and I liked being able to vary the pressure as I pounced. This helped me achieve a script look: faded in some areas, darker in others. This look also allowed me to stencil imperfectly since I was going for authentic, aged, hand lettering.
I have used stencil brushes like the ones below as well, and they work well. However, for a project like my wall which took many hours, a more ergonomic paintbrush with good hand-feel came in handy.
This is the tape used to hold my stencil in place.
Chalk Paint: 2 Alternatives
1. Inexpensive & Easy to Make Chalk Paint
To make one quart of chalk paint: Mix 8 Tbsp. calcium carbonate + 4 Tbsp water in a clean paint can or container which will hold a quart. Add more water if necessary a little at a time, to get a paste consistency. Stir in 32 oz. (4 sample pots) of flat or satin latex paint until smooth. Pour some of the paint into a clean container to use for stenciling (eases things a little), then cover and store the rest until refills are needed.
A couple of years ago, I discovered that the paint color I chose for our kitchen cabinets in the Arizona vacation house is very similar to Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey. It’s called Behr Classic Silver, and I had some on hand to make chalk paint.
You can use any container to make the chalk paint, and I suggest having 2 containers available. Mix the paint recipe in one, then pour some into a second container for stenciling, refilling as necessary.
Homemade Chalk Paint Tutorial
2. Ready-made Chalk Paint in French Grey Tones
Here’s the chalk paint I started with – Annie Sloan Paris Grey. When I ran out about 1/3 of the way through and didn’t want to put the project on hold, I came up with a homemade solution that matched beautifully.
Optional: Folding 3 Step Stool With Project Tray
The project tray on this folding ladder makes a great perch for paint.
Instructions for French Script Stencil Wall
Paint the Wall With Desired Base Color
Make sure to have that base color on hand for any touchups you may have at the end of the stencil project. My base color is Benjamin Moore White OC-151.
Place the Stencil for First Section
I began stenciling in the top left corner of the wall, securing the stencil at the ceiling with blue painter’s tape. No measuring…it went directly in the corner.
Pounce & Stamp with Brush
With a small amount of paint on the brush (use a paper towel to pounce off the excess), I pounced it over each letter of the stencil with one hand, moving left to right, while holding the stencil flush with the wall with the other hand.
I applied a fair amount of pressure to ensure that enough paint penetrated the delicately cut script of the stencil. As a result, it was a noisy process, and our son studying for the bar exam was not blessed by resident mama woodpecker.
What About a Paint Roller?
Why take time to pounce rather than roll over stencil? First, the script is very fine so it’s tricky to get the paint through through the stencil with a roller. Second, I wanted an imperfect, faded, authentically hand-written look.
Achieve a Varied, Aged Look
By varying the pressure (as well as amount of paint), you can achieve a lovely imperfect quality. If you aim for a more uniform wallpaper-like look, you could take more time to evenly apply paint and pressure. With my method, you can certainly relax! Even if parts of the script look smudged, globby, or barely there, it’s the look we’re going for!
Reposition Stencil for Next Section
To reposition the stencil for the next section, I carefully lifted the stencil and tape and placed it to the right of the first section. I chose not to use registration marks or a level, but rather eyeballed it, using the ceiling as a guide. sliding it to the right with each section, and for the last section at the corner, I bent the stencil to hold it in place.
Don’t worry about perfectly ending a line of text since you can always paint over it with base color at the end! After the first row, you can choose to stencil sections horizontally or vertically. You can also use a level or laser lines for more precision, but my walls are imperfect anyway, so using the ceiling as a guide for the first row and working off of it worked best.
Clean the Stencil
In case you decide to stencil a large wall as I did (mine is more than 15 feet), after a number of sections, the paint will become too thick on the stencil to continue. As a result, it’s smart to have multiples of this same stencil on hand so you always have a clean one!
If you are working with a single stencil, it’s a pain yet necessary to stop and clean paint from the stencil before continuing. I cleaned mine in a large laundry tub sink, allowing the water run to over the stencil and with circular motions, removed paint with a rag. Then I dried it with an old beach towel…well worth the effort!
Stencil the Bottom Row
When I got to the bottom of the wall where there is baseboard, I wanted to leave the same amount of space as the sides and top. It was easy to eyeball it, and after placing the stencil, I placed painter’s tape over the stencil above the baseboard…consequently, I knew at which line to stop.
Where Can You Use French Script?
The beauty of French script (especially when it’s only partially legible like this stencil) is that it is neutral enough to be at home anywhere. You can certainly stencil a bathroom wall, a wall in the dining room, the back of a bookcase, the inside of a cupboard, a tote bag, a canvas, a seat cushion and even a mirror. In case you had not noticed…I have stenciled many mirrors!
Remember the French script stenciled canvas I made for a bathroom in our Arizona house? I painted the canvas Behr Classic Silver (very similar to Annie Sloan Paris Grey) and stenciled on a creamy white (Valspar Salute).
In fact, just to make sure I wanted to tackle the whole wall, I used this stencil on a recycled vintage framed canvas. That way, I could hold it up and see if the scale of the lettering was pleasing. Here it is:
Stencil Project In Process
You can see I decided to work from top to bottom after the first two rows…however, it’s your call.
The French script wall certainly reinforces the room’s identity as a European country inspired space which includes a full size bed, desk, piano, reading chair, and French settee.
Achieving a Collected, Evolved Look
I am indeed taking my sweet time decorating this bedroom and hasten to even call what I do decorating. What I enjoy is a collected, evolved, unfussy, non-contrived, effortless French inspired look…a look arising from time, creativity, and treasure hunting.
The settee is a $10 find from Goodwill I transformed with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter paint (even the fabric), an old French boutis quilt, and also linen pillows.
Since I also use the bedroom as a studio, the space is frequently in disarray! Indeed, dropcloths, art table, paints, giftwrap, half-painted thrift store finds, fabric, and paints are staples in here.
It is definitely still evolving, and I’m glad at least one wall is finished!
Prayers Urgently Needed
We are living moment to moment as our son remains in critical condition and receives plasma treatments to raise platelet level. He is very brave and strong, and we are praying for a full recovery. I am in constant prayer and often sing to pray. Here is one called Psalm 94 that I wrote in 2014. The chorus is an old hymn.
If you would like to pray specifically, we need his hemoglobin number to be better and his kidneys, heart, and brain to be spared damage from toxins.
Please pray for my family in Arizona as we are all grieving and heartbroken from the loss of one of our own to Covid. Several family members (including my sister in the video below with my nieces and me harmonizing) are recovering at home from this vicious virus, and the continued separation during a time we would normally be holding each other…it’s just awful.
Peace to you right where you are.
Shop for items you already intended to buy on Amazon RIGHT HERE, and also find home decor here to keep decor inspiration flowing on Hello Lovely!
Hello Lovely is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Your stenciled wall is so unique and lovely. I like the varied, aged look you gave it, and enjoyed reading about how you did it. I hoped you’ve enjoyed sitting back and admiring your accomplishment! I’m especially intrigued by the painted settee including the fabric. I’ve never thought to paint the fabric on a piece of upholstered furniture. Please do tell about that! Would that work on any type of fabric? Also, was the fabric already a light color? And what type of paint did you use. Just so curious! I’m assuming the added French quilt and linen pillows were to make it more comfortable to sit on after being painted?! I’m definitely with you on a collected, non-contrived, unfussy, evolved form of decorating that takes time, creativity, and some fun treasure hunting!
I have been out of control busy for the past week and still need to pull that room together and finish the decor! Thanks so much for playing along. Yes, you can paint fabric – I have only opted for this when the piece is not valuable and was cheap since there’s always the risk of ruining it. I added a fabric medium to regular latex paint and water. It was green with a dark floral cushion. The paint didn’t cover the dark color well, and you can’t just keep adding layers of paint! So that’s another consideration and is why I wrapped that cushion with the quilt. My suggestion is just to experiment on a cast-off and then decide whether to try it again. I’ll try to do a post on the topic, but I’m horrible about creating tutorials since they involve slowing down to take video and photos, and I’m always short on time! 🙂
I don’t think I’d have the patience to stencil an entire wall but am very keen to try it on some smaller space (many ideas from what you mentioned as possibilities.)
I keep hoping for some thrift store piece of furniture I can try fabric painting on….so far no luck 😉
Your room is so lovely! French decor (like Paris) is always a good idea! 😉
I don’t blame you! Ugly art is in ample supply at our thrift stores and makes for the perfect canvas to stencil on script (and you can even layer/collage). Thanks for playing along, Connie! Have a wonderful weekend. xox
I had a lovely 4th, thank you. Hope yours was lovely too. I love, love that script on the bedroom wall. That is so beautiful. I am trying to think of where to do that. I am sure I can find a spot.
Have a great week.
Happy to hear from you and hope you find a place – would love to see the reveal if you decide to go for the French script! 🙂
Oh, Michele, it’s really beautiful! I would love to tackle this in my bedroom, (but I may not try the whole wall just yet! It scares me just a little! ) I’m featuring it tomorrow at Thursday Favorite Things. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
Hahaha – smart cookie you are! Thanks so much, and I’ll be over to party with you. 🙂
Congrats, you are being featured at Thursday Favorite Things. Have a great day.
Yippee! Thanks for letting me know – and I’m looking forward to joining you inspiring bloggers today! 🙂
Can you let me know we’re to buy the french script stanceil.
Hi there – it’s right here: https://rstyle.me/+5OHrH9WGIFrN2nh89SPxvg, and I bought the biggest size. Thanks for reading.
As I listened to your song the tears began to flow and I found myself crying out to God for the healing of your family . He is Jehovah -Rapha who mends, heals and restores. I am believing and praying for complete restoration of platelets, healing of kidneys, protection for his heart ,brain and all other muscles and organs and lastly for the mending of the broken hearts of your family. Continue to hide yourself in Him.
Your words have landed on my soul at the best possible time, Marilyn. I woke up at 4 weeping. I am hiding in His glory and mystery and allowing his love to transform all of these cares into beauty. This is such holy ground. xox
Dear Jesus, we are standing on your promises. You said you would never leave us or forsake us. Even in these uncertain times we know you are still in control. We command your healing angels to visit Michelle’s son in the hospital room. Restore him to perfect health. Bring all numbers into alignment. Give him rest and peace that only you can give.
We also ask healing for Michelle’s body mind and soul. Wrap her in your strong healing arms. Lay her head on your chest. Surround her with your healing angels night and day. Take care and heal all family members that have been effected by this virus. You told us to ask anything in your name. We ask all of this in your precious wonderful name of Jesus.
Your a good good Father. We decree and declare your children healed and whole.
We thank you for answering swiftly. Let us hear your good report.
Amen. Thank you for interceding. For this blessing. For these promises.
God bless you, I love your song with your family. I am praying for your loss, for you and your blessed son. God has all of you in His hands. Keep our Lord very close and look up our redemption is soon. Peace be with you.
Thank you for the blessing, prayers, and peace. I need them.
Praying for your son and your family during this difficult time!!
So grateful. Our house is a house of grief at the moment with so much pain. The prayers for mercy are so appreciated.
🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼for protection in EVERY WAY & complete healing & restoration from our gracious Heavenly Father! HE IS ABLE to do all his holy will and trusting that is 100% recovery for your dear son & family members. Your faith is a bright light shining & is such a testimony of God’s sustaining Grace even in the midst of heartache & faith stretching circumstances🙌🏼
Oh, I trust my loving Father so much. He is here with us. Thank you for lifting us in prayer.
Thank you so much for this amazing post! It’s simply beautiful—and something I think I can tackle 😉. I like it because it’s something I can do in my SoCal cookie cutter house to add a bit of much needed character! For those of us that can’t renovate for whatever reason, it is a great way to to add beauty and uniqueness. It is what I like to call: Renovate without Renovation 🤣🤣🤣
I also want you to know there are many prayers being offered up for your son and your entire family. I’m so very sorry your family is going through this. My study group is praying for you all. My prayer Is that your son be healed and for your strength and peace.
What a blessing. Thank you. Thank you. I know things will get better, and the prayers are getting through.
Why is it people believe they can say whatever on Facebook, Instagram or blogs? There is no excuse for rude behaviour. Your French script is beautiful and adds another layer to your room.
Oh, .Michele! Your heart must be so heavy at this time, I hope and pray your son has a complete recovery. And, that your family in Arizona are able to fight off Covid. I can’t believe the number of people who still think it is no big deal. Wear a mask and protect others as they will you. Please!
Today is day 11 of his illness, and I felt encouraged for the first time since some of the numbers look better. We needed this day.
Thank you for giving specifics to pray for. Will do.
Thank you for the love and compassion, Leslie. xox