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Garden-Print Stenciled Tabletop

Source: Martha Stewart Living, September 2008


Each component is placed separately, one after another, so the asymmetrical design evolves organically. A subtle faux finish, known as strie, is painted over the muted gray and green tones, giving the piece an instant vintage, heirloom quality.

A table painted in a medium tone, such as the gray we used, works best. When stenciling, pat the sponge in a dab of paint, and blot excess on the palette. Then apply paint in thin coats, taking care that it doesn't drip or pool, until the area is covered. If a design requires several colors, use a separate sponge for each. You may opt to adjust a paint's transparency or mix hues.




  • Table painted with latex paint

  • Drafting tape

  • Small sheet of glass (palette)

  • Palette knife

  • 5 to 7 ounces acrylic paint in green, gray, and white

  • Floral stencil kit

  • Natural sea sponges


  1. For a rough guide, mark a uniform border with drafting tape 3 inches from table's edge.

  2. Prepare palette with each paint, blending with palette knife to create additional shades of green and gray if desired. Place large peony stencil 6 inches from table's edge; secure with tape if desired. Use sponge to apply white paint to stencil. Let dry 2 minutes. Stencil 2 more peonies, equidistant from each other and from table's edge.

  3. Starting with 1 peony, incorporate leaves and smaller flowers, positioning stencils so stems conform to round garland shape. Using a different sponge for each color, paint according to above procedure. Flip stencil if desired for variety. When using multiple colors with 1 stencil, cover areas not in use with tape.

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