January 28th, 2011

Stencil Score!

I was recently contacted by a long lost customer of Royal Design Studio stencils who is now in the real estate biz. Seems that one of HER customers had a stack of stencils in their home and were looking to find them a new home. Would I like to make an offer. Ummmmm, YEAH!


I have no idea what they are “worth”, but they were worth something to me, so I am now the proud owner of a series of vintage brass stencils (apparently found in an old lighting factory in Michigan). The patterns are really unique, and some will work their way in to new stencil designs from Royal Design Studio. My main thought, though, is to transform them into some special wall art. I am open to suggestions…..

January 24th, 2011


What do your favorite colors say about you?


Me? My ”go to” colors are black and shades of blue (bluebell, pool, and night). Do your favorite colors reflect YOUR personality?

Click here to access a large, readable version from the Paper Source blog.

January 22nd, 2011

Martha and Me


It’s always Martha, Martha, Martha!! She’s a purveyor of gracious living that has helped to shape the psyche of multiple generations of woman, a cultural icon, an accomplished, creative woman with business nerves of steel. She’s served time (very graciously, I might add), and served perfect desserts. Oh, and she also has this magazine…..Martha Stewart Living…and the February 2011 issue features a lovely furniture application of my original Ribbon Damask Stencil, available in two sizes through Royal Design Studio. How cool is that?!


The Small Ribbon Damask stencil was used very “smartly” on the furniture piece above for the magazine shoot. 


This easy, breezy stencil pattern looks good repeated formally, as on the chest of drawers, or just scattered in creative random abandon across a wall. Mix in some different colors for fun layered effects, as shown here with our version of the Large Ribbon Damask stencil .

So, what do you think of the vignette the stylist created above? I like it. It’s different, but I feel like I want to change something about it. Maybe the drawer knobs?? Not sure….either way, thank you Martha Stewart Living!!

January 18th, 2011

Here and There

Being the busy little bee that I am, I thought I would just point you in some inspiring directions around the web today to some fabulous blog posts that have special meanings to me. 


Debbie Hayes has a beautiful eye and a beautiful blog, FauxPlusDesign, where she shares her decorative art, photography, travels, and interesting musings about all of the above. This post features some super juicy photos of the private tour of the Palazzo Corsini in Florence, Italy that was arranged on our decorative painting adventure last October. We were honored that the lovely Contessa Corsini herself led us through the palace, sharing her family history and great taste in art and architecture! Debbie’s photos truly capture the splendor of this amazing place on the bank of the Arno river.


Regina Garay has a fabulous design and decorating blog, Fauxology, where she shares daily inspiration on design and color trends, decorative painting, and a whole host of other visual goodies. It’s a “must read” for professional creatives and design devotees. All this week, she is featuring groin ceilings, and TODAY’S feature just happens to be on using our Modello Masking Stencil Patterns for artful decoration of this architectural asset.

Stencils-Hearst Castle

A great new blog discovery for me this past weekend (thanks Anna Sadler!) is ArchitectDesign. Stefan Murray has recently been featuring a series of posts and extensive photo essays on Hearst Castle. Now, as you may recall, Modello Designs and Royal Design Studio have recently been selected to become licensees for the Hearst Castle Collection, and I am currently in the process of developing stencil patterns based on the endless array of decorative painting and design details that are contained in this national treasure. If you haven’t been to Hearst Castle, you can travel through Stefan’s blog posts. Enjoy the tour!

January 16th, 2011

Royal Stencil Cremes

So….What’s this mess? A new stenciling concept gone awry?


Actually, it’s something I’m quite excited about! This, while not so pretty, is the result of  a series of application tests of Royal Stencil Cream!

When I first began stenciling 27 years ago, I routinely used oil-based Japan Paints, as recommended by the 70′s and 80′ stencil revival pioneer Adele Bishop who provided my desire to learn to stencil back in 1984. These paints provide a beautiful effect, but require tedious cleanup with mineral spirits, and I doubt that anyone uses them these days. From there I switched to using primarlily Folk Art Acrylic paints for stenciling. These craft acrylic paints are readily available (Michael’s) and come in a vast array of colors. The acrylic paint binds up on the stencil and brush however, and takes a bit of practice. In order to get softer effects and more “flow” off the stencil brush, I’ve alway recommended adding a few drop of Folk Art Extender to acrylic paints, and we still sell and recommend this product. From there I started using Faux Creme Colors for stenciling, which are quality pigments in resin. These give beautiful shaded effects easily, but require a lot of building up of layers (with drying time in between) to achieve opaque effects.

The stencil paint medium I’ve always dreamed about:

  • Could be applied for a very opaque effect in ONE layer.
  • Could just as easily be used for soft, translucent effects.
  • Could be stenciled just as easily with a stencil brush or foam roller.
  • Would flow off the stencil brush or roller effortlessly and require minimal reloading of paint.
  • Would dry quickly enough that you could layer colors, if desired.
  • Would resist causing stencil “rununders”, making it easy to use for both beginners AND pros.
  • Would not build up and dry out easily on stencils and stencil brushes.
  • Would clean up like a dream off stencil brushes and stencils with soap and water.
  • Would work equally well over a variety of surfaces, including flat to satin paints, metallic paints, and metallic AND stone texture plasters.
  • Come in a range of gorgeous metallic colors and artist’s colors, including a opaque black, white, and off-white.

And guess what? I’ve GOT it, and YOU will be able to get it too because it will be available soon….

January 13th, 2011

Corsini Damask Stencil Art

One of the more recent additions to the Royal Design Studio stencil collection is the Corsini Damask Stencil. This stencil pattern was developed especially for the Italy painting trip that I hosted last October with my good buds Gary Lord and Alison Wooley. It was a special trip, filled with lots of fun and good painting friends. The Corsini Damask Stencil gets it’s name from the Corsini family-a blessed and noble Italian family with a long and rich history who also happen to own villas, palazzos, and castles througout Italy, including the Castello di Casigliano where we were fortunate to work, stay, and play for a second time in the last three years.


For my class project, I decided to give the students a limited range of stencils, Modello Masking Stencil Patterns, some interesting paint techniques, a limited color palette, and a large piece of canvas. Basically, I turned them loose to exercise their creativity and the results were fantabulous!


Each canvas became a unique work of art and it was so inspiring to see how each person interpreted the patterns and colors in a special way.


Applying stencil patterns as canvas art frees you to really explore color, texture, shape, and scale in a different way from wall stenciling. You can be bolder and more creative with your color combinations, and easily introduce mediums other than paint, such as gilding, plasters, and waxes. Basically, anything goes!


This canvas art was done on Roclon, an amazing material that is actually canvas laminated to both sides of a thin plastic core. It is very flexible, wrinkle resistant, doesn’t shrink, and comes ready to apply  paint, plaster, metallics, or whatever medium you want to work in. Alternatively, you can do stenciled canvas art on stretched canvas that will be ready to hang. The type of canvas art shown here is ideal for hanging from a decorative curtain rod, as you would a tapestry. Artwork done on the Roclon cloth can also be permanently affixed to a wall with wallpaper paste. My fabulous artist friends shown here are (top to bottom) Lauren Gaines, Nancy Jones, Debbie Hayes, and Barb Skivington. Of course, you can use the Corsini Damask Stencil very nicely on a wall too!


This room above was done by Sass Lassly, another great addition to our Italy painting adventure, in her own bathroom. Note the random application of the stenciling. This is a great way to add pattern quickly and artistically.

I hope this post inspired you! Hint: Stenciled canvas art is also a great way to use up those little bits of paint and plaster you have lying around, as well as maybe revisiting some stencil patterns you may not have used in awhile. The 3074 Corsini Damask Stencil is available in both a large and small version. The small version is shown in all photos above.

January 11th, 2011

Damask Stencil Desire

Have you noticed? There is a pattern renaissance going on. Damask stencil patterns, an enduring  classic design staple in decorative art are hot, hot, HOT! Now, for me, damask stencils have always been at the top of MY list for creating elegant, allover wall treatments with paint and plaster. Damask allover stencil patterns allow you to wrap a room up with customized pattern in the colors and style of your own choosing. You can use high contrast colors to create drama, OR choose a tone-on-tone color palette, or stencil with glazes  for a softer, more textural treatment. If you wish, you can use damask stencil patterns to simply create a stunning focal point on an accent wall, or limit the pattern (and save time!) by just stenciling them in panels, under chairrails, as headboards, or simply on a large canvas to hang as wall art or a tapestry.


About 10 years ago, Royal Design Studio first introduced the concept of Allover Production Stencils: larger stencils containing multiple repeats for faster stencil application. They have been a consistent hit with professional decorative artisans and DIY decorators ever since. Recently, we’ve been able to renegotiate better pricing with our vendors and bring more of our stencil cutting “in house”, allowing us to reevaluate our pricing on this stencil collection. AND, ta da! We have just LOWERED the prices on these stencil classics CONSIDERABLY, from 20% all the way up to 45% on some of our most popular Allover Production Stencils.

Soooooo….I thought this might be a good time to revisit some old “friends”!


 Fortuny Stencil Beige

The Fortuny stencil has always been a personal favorite of mine. In fact, I have this stencil on my own living room walls and I never get tired of it!


Moorish stencil in black

The Moorish Trellis Stencil is well-loved for it’s simplicity and graphic quality. This stencil pattern is like a chameleon, in that it blends in well with many types of decor including classic, ethnic, and contemporary interiors.


The Allover Flourish Stencil never seems to go out of style. This elegant, curvilinear pattern is also used quite often on ceilings as its soft curves don’t have a specific top or bottom, and it flows effortlessly across the surface.


Damask stencil in peach

The Fabric Damask stencil is easily our most popular stencil pattern EVER. This stencil pattern seems to just “connect” with people, and the great thing about the Fabric Damask stencil is that you can repeat it as shown to create an allover pattern or simply this design as a stand alone “motif” that you can repeat randomly, and quickly.

Looking for more inspiration and a little direction on how you can incorporate these ”now more affordable”  beautiful allover stencils? We have tons of additional stencil inspiration here, and free stencil tips and how-tos here! Now, let’s get painting…..

January 6th, 2011

Things Organized Neatly

Reorganizing your studio or creative space for 2011? Serious OCD?!?!? Things Organized Neatly is a nifty tumblr blog with a lot of super cool photos of…..things organized neatly!!


Paint Brushes


colored pencils

Paint Chips

Hint: Click on “Archive” to view all the past photos.

January 5th, 2011

Stair Rising Experience


As most of the country seems to be snowed in and gloomy this time of year, I thought it would be the perfect time to share a SUNNY, cheery stencil project that talented Carol Leonesio posted recently on her Painter Girl blog, featuring stencils from the Moroccan stencil collection at Royal Design Studio.


I was really tickled to hear that Carol was was inspired by these stenciled stair riser projects (above) that the Peacock Painters did on two different trips to Marrakech. She had been JUST WAITING for the right customer to want to do this type of project!


For the black and white stenciled stairs in Marrakech WE were fortunate to be able to stencil the Moroccan patterns on precut pieces of wood, that would then be later installed on the stair risers.


This made the stenciling very easy as we were able to do it comfortably at tables, and didn’t have to worry about squeezing the stencil into a tight space or corner.


For Carol’s Moroccan stencil project, she didn’t have that luxury, as the stair risers were already in place. Before beginning to tackle the stairs, however, Carol worked up samples for her client in multiple colorway-and was thrilled when her client made the bold choice of bright yellow.

Carol Stencil Stairs 1

Carol began by painting every other stair riser yellow and white. Then she alternated 4 different Moroccan stencil designs on each riser. Carol used repositionable spray adhesive to hold the stencils in place and use Aura paint from Benjamin Moore for the stenciling. The Aura paint is ideal for stenciling because it provides excellent coverage and dries quickly-allowing you to do multiple layers in quick succession, if necessary. She touched up design areas around the edges with an artist’s brush and topcoated each riser with a water-based urethane when dry to add protection from scuff marks. Pro tip from Carol: Use a gardener’s foam kneeling pad to cushion  your knees from the hard floor surface. Carol consistently turns out great stenciling projects that she shares regularly on her own blog, Painter Girl. Check it out!

Moroccan stencils used for this project from Royal Design Studio: 3015 Endless Moorish Circle, 3014 Moorish Fleur de Lis, 3010S Small Curved Connection, 3012S Small Eastern Lattice

January 2nd, 2011

Decade(s) of Design

Welcome to the new decade! I know many people who are eager to put 2010 behind them and I certainly count myself among them. I’ll cop to having been in a major funk the last couple of months, i.e. loss of interest, loss of creative spirit,  loss of clear direction, loss of confidence. Basically, a serious loss of MOJO! After some major mental mind mapping , I feel like I’ve cleared out some major cobwebs and cast off the self-inflicted chains that I was tying my brain and body up with. Now…..I’m BAAAACK with a clear focus and the creative juices are flowing again. I’m looking forward to redesigning my businesses, websites, this BLOG, and more-by revisiting my “roots’ of  designing timeless stencils and educating and inspiring a broad range of customers with innovative ways to use them! After 26 years of stenciling and decorative painting I’m feeling like I’ve come full circle and am ready to introduce a whole new generation of creative decorators to the art of stenciling. Man! that makes my sound old, doesn’t it?? I guess if you hang around in the water  long enough you get to catch the next big wave!!


Anyway, after clearing out the Christmas decorations I began poking around in some piles of design magazines that I’ve stashed here and there and came across several old issues from a decade ago. 


What strikes me is that all of the design featured on these covers is timeless and classic  in its own way.


While design “fashion” comes and goes, good, classic design is always relevant, always appreciated, always in style. Here’s to “classics”, a better year, and another decade of great design!!