DIY Faux Tile Painted Stair Risers. These stenciled faux Spanish Tiles are a super easy and inexpensive way to add major curb appeal!
DIY Faux Tile Painted Stair Risers
This past February we took a short cruise to the Bahamas right out of Charleston. While we were in Nassau, we fell in love with the Spanish Tiles on the stair risers at a Distillery Tour we took. The photo below is one of the pics I snapped for inspiration.
Planning the Project
I looked into using real tiles, but they’re a bit out of our DIY wheelhouse, and the price can add up fast. I began to research faux options and wondered if I could stencil faux tiles, so I began hunting for ideas online. Eventually, I found a photo on Pinterest that I felt was super similar to the stairs we saw in the Bahamas. That pin led me to the Santa Ana Tile Stencil by Cutting Edge Stencils.
Upon measuring my stair risers, I was disappointed to realize my risers were two different sizes and neither one matched up to any of the four sizes of Stana Ana stencils available on the Cutting Edge website.
Ultimately, I decided to create my own stencil heavily inspired by their design, which is why I’m not sharing the cut file I created. If you find a stencil that matches your riser height, it’s worth getting a real stencil from The Cutting Edge, but I’m super happy with how my DIY version turned out. Read on to find out how I did it on the cheap!
DIY Faux Tile Painted Stair Risers Supplies
I had everything but the poly on hand, so this project only cost me a few bucks (and a lot of hours). 😝
- Paint. I planned to use some dark gray leftover wall paint we had on hand, but at the last minute, I decided to go with black since it would match our shutters and front door. All I had on hand was acrylic paint, so that’s what I used.
- Stencil. I used my Silhouette CAMEO and Chipboard to make my own.
- Paint Stencil Brush. I tried stencil brushes and a small foam roller but this Martha Stewart Décor Paint Brush I had in my craft stash ultimately worked the best.
- Paint Palette or Paper Plate
- Scrap paper/cardboard/chipboard. I used scrap chipboard to dab excess paint off my brush and also to protect the surface below where I was working so I wouldn’t get paint on it.
- Ruler/Measuring Tape
- Painters Tape
- Wipe-On Poly, Satin. I used this one from Lowe’s.
Step One: Measure the Risers and Prep Your Stencils
First, I sat down to sketch out the stairs and their measurements. I used a pencil and ruler to mark the horizontal center line on each riser. The top riser was slightly larger in height than the bottom riser, so I knew I’d have to create two versions of the stencils.
I used my Silhouette CAMEO cutting machine and Silhouette Chipboard to cut my custom stencils. I had to cut three of each stencil size to complete each stair riser. Any time one got too soggy with paint, I grabbed a fresh one. The chipboard held up shockingly well, but again, if you can buy a true stencil to fit your risers, you’ll save some time.
I didn’t mind cutting several stencils since sometimes I used two at once. Note: I also tried Stencil Vinyl, and it did NOT work well. Chipboard stencils were much easier to use!
Step Two: Start Stenciling
Note: If your stair risers aren’t already painted like mine, you’ll need to prime and paint them first, then begin to stencil.
Starting from the center line, I began to paint the first stencil. From my measurements, I knew that starting from the center and working my way out would leave me with a balanced partial stencil on each end. It also allowed me to switch which side I was working on as I waited for painted areas to dry.
I was concerned about bleed through since I didn’t have stencil spray adhesive on hand, so the first one was a test to see if there was any bleeding. If it had bled, I would’ve run out to grab a can of stencil spray adhesive, but I didn’t experience any bleeding. Yay!
I waited for each section to be dry to the touch before moving onto the next “tile.” It was warm and breezy outside the day I worked on this project, so I didn’t have to wait too long before I could move on to the next section.
Once I got into a groove, the process began to move a bit faster. This was a pic I snapped before I cleaned up to pause for a little lunch break with the family. Doing the tiles under the stair banisters was a bit tricky to get into angle wise, so my lines were not quite as clean, but they’re also not as visible.
In the above photo, you can see how I lightly dabbed on the paint while holding the brush at a 90-degree angle to the riser.
When it comes to bleeding, the key is to use the paint super sparingly. I’d dip my brush into the paint and then dab it onto the scrap chipboard you see in the photo. Acrylic paint is also relatively thick, so I think that helped as well. I did three super light coats to achieve the desired coverage.
I used painters tape to hold the stencil in place and also to protect areas of the stairs I didn’t want to get paint on.
Playing some good music and drinking too much LaCroix as I worked helped the hours pass a bit more quickly too. I currently have the latest album by Bishop Briggs on constant repeat. She is so good!
You can see from this photo how much the angle of the sun had changed by the time I started on the bottom riser. Stenciling just two risers was an all-day project, and I was so stiff and sore from sitting awkwardly to work on this all day. This is life at 37. 🤣
If you live in the South, you also know this time of year means the no-see-ums bugs are out in full force. Their itchy little bites are all over my arms and legs!
But it was SO worth it…
Step Three: Touch Ups
I stepped back to survey my work and used a small craft paint brush to touch up any areas I felt needed it by hand.
Step Four: Protect it with Poly
Roughly 24 hours after I finished painting the risers, I applied the wipe-on poly. In total, I did three coats of poly, allowing 2 hours dry time between each layer.
I hope you enjoyed my DIY Faux Tile Painted Stair Risers project!
When I started this project, I did so knowing that if it came out crappy looking, I could just paint back over it.
I’m quite honestly super surprised by how authentic looking it came out! When you’re walking or driving back the house, you’d totally think it was real tiles. Score!
And don’t you think it adds a unique design element and major curb appeal?
As much as I love it, I’m so glad I only had to do two risers. That’s enough stenciling for me for a long while. 😂 But it wasn’t a hard project; it was just a time-consuming one. If you have a place in your home you think stenciled faux tiles would look great, I definitely vote you go for it!
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