40 classic vintage stencil designs you can download & use

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A classic collection of vintage stencil designs

Note: This article may feature affiliate links to Amazon or other companies, and purchases made via these links may earn us a small commission at no additional cost to you. Find out more here.

Vintage stencil designs & stencilwork in the home (from 1910)

Article from the Spokane Chronicle (Spokane, Washington) October 28, 1910

The principal reason for the recent popularity of stencil work in the home is the pleasure that can be derived from doing it.

The work is interesting, attractive and useful, for there are no end of things in and around the house which can be decorated by the use of stencils.

The methods of stenciling are simple, and good effects can be obtained by those who have had no previous experience.

Those who have an aptitude of eye and hand for work of this nature will, of course, be able to secure better results, but the work is so simple and interesting and the results so pleasing and artistic that it is seldom that anyone is disappointed.

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (2)

The stencil application

The position of the design on the wall should receive consideration first. The size of the stencil should be in good proportion to such wall divisions as wainscoting, chair-rail, drop ceiling, etc. Make careful measurements of the wall to be painted.

Order stencils that can be repeated with least interference by window and door intersections, corners, etc. Such measurements made, the stencil is fastened to the wall in its first position with thumbtacks, and is then ready for the application of the color.

Do not attempt to brush on the color, but rather tap or pounce it on the wall through the stencil openings. (It is usually best to try out the color on a stiff piece of cardboard or other material to make sure of your tints.)

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (1)

Watch the work carefully, and clean both sides of the stencil occasionally, thus keeping color from running under it. Turpentine or benzine should be used for this purpose.

The stencil is then placed in its next position by means of the small guide marks provided, and the same operation repeated. When a corner is reached, the stencil should be slightly bent if necessary in order that the design may be carried into the corner as far as possible; the balance of the design may then be touched in with a small brush.

The colors to be selected for the stenciling should not only be in harmony with the wall itself, but also with the other features in the room. A harmony of contrast with the wall and harmony of analogy with such decorations as the portieres, chair-covers and cushions, thus repeating the color of such features, are very attractive and appropriate.

MORE: Shades of the past: Victorian house paint color sample cards


Preparing your walls before painting stencils (1910)

From Your Home and Its Decoration, by Sherwin-Williams Company, 1910

The question of wall treatment is one which should receive first consideration in home decoration. It is the foundation upon which all other decorations are based. Some of the qualifications of a good wall are as follows:

(1) It must conform to the general scheme of the room in color and design;

(2) it must be restful to the eye, and not too prominent;

(3) it must form a perfect background for pictures. Over-decorated walls and wallpapers designed in scrolls and glaring decorations are to be avoided. Plain effects form an important factor in the general scheme of a room and are gaining in popularity.

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (5)

The ideal plain wall is unquestionably the painted one. Such a wall is most adaptable to stenciling. 

A happy medium in wall treatment is reached by the painted wall with attractive stencil borders. Walls are best when treated with a rich flat finish which can be washed readily with soap and water without losing their original beauty.

With such a foundation to work upon, the most satisfactory and lasting results are assured. The actual application of stencils is very simple, and the housewife need have no hesitancy in undertaking such decoration.

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (7)


Classic vintage stencil designs: Dado borders

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (3)

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (4)

Vintage Antique Victorian stencil patterns (6)

MORE: How to stencil a tray with an Early American design (1950)


Classic vintage stencil designs from the 1930s

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (7)

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (8)

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (1)

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (2)

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (3)

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (4)


Classic vintage stencil designs: Small flowers

FREE MODERN PATTERNS: 10 free flower stencil designs for printing & craft projects

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (5)

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (6)

MORE: How to stencil a tray with an Early American design (1950)


Vintage stencil patterns with small repeating designs

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (7)

Old-fashioned stencil pattern from Click Americana (8)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (1)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (2)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (3)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (4)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (5)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (6)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (7)

Vintage 1930s stencil patterns (8)

MORE CRAFTS: Vintage needlepoint: Designs & dozens of ideas from the ’50s, ’60s & ’70s

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (1)

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (2)

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (3)

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (4)

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (5)

Antique stencil patterns from the 1930s (6)

NOW SEE THIS: Transform old furniture with traditional stencil patterns & paint

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