Painting with Stencils
Decorative painter Damon Bopp shares a few of his secrets
Bopp added bas-relief-like decoration to a client's overmantel
Like many readers, Damon Bopp tears out pages and pictures from This Old House to use as inspiration for his own work. But his work is anything but typical. The owner of BoppArt in Plainfield, New Jersey, he paints stunning murals and accents that depict a wide variety of subjects: world maps, patterns found on antique fabrics, and stenciled floor motifs so detailed they make parquet look prosaic.
His first project was painting stripes on the walls in his parents' garage as a kid. (“I wouldn't brag about it,” he says.) Later he apprenticed with a Los Angeles–based decorative painter for eight years before launching his own business. He stares at his clients' walls for “quite a long time” before finding the right way to accentuate the space's architecture without going over the top.
Even rookie painters can add flourishes to their walls or floors, Bopp says. One of his tricks is using stencils, which he makes out of clear, easy-to-cut Mylar. When painting, he uses a stencil brush and dabs the paint on from the stencil's edges toward the middle to keep it from dripping outside the lines. His most important advice: “Have a lot of patience.”
Download samples of Damon's stencil designs you can use.