How to DIY: Stencil Paint a Ceramic Tile Floor the Cheap and Easy Way

9 Materials
2 Weeks

I know, who needs another lesson on how to stencil paint a ceramic tile floor? This one is different though. It’s cheaper, it’s easier. And you get great results. Check it out!

Our hall bathroom floor is a disaster. I have never seen such a poor tiling job in my life. Everything was wrong with it, on top of the color(s) just not working for me.

Rather than rip it out I opted to stencil paint it.

There are a few steps to this and a lot to be aware of so be sure to swing by my blog and read what I learned about painting a tile floor by clicking here.

The main lesson I can share with you is that you don't have to buy the fancy specialty paints. You can do this whole project inexpensively with regular paints.

Tip 1: Buy your stencil and have it sized exactly to the tiles you're painting. Then plan your color layout.

Pick up a bonding adhesion primer that's meant for ceramic tile.

After cleaning the floor and grout (skip the vinegar on the grout!), prime with 2-3 coats then base coat the floor in the background color of your choice using latex paint, 2-3 coats there too.

Trust me, painting is like a sandwich cookie; you need a good top and bottom and everything between is fluff.

So use latex paint, craft paint -- it's cheap and it works!

Now it's time to stencil! Yes, I realized here that I bought the wrong stencil for my offset tiles but I figured it'd still be ok. If you have OCD, best avoid the rest of the photos, heh. Noooo, it's fine.

Use cosmetic wedges to dab on the paint. They're soft, pliable, cut-able, easy to use especially for a beginner, and they help regulate the amount of paint used, cutting down on leaks.

Then just keeeeep going, this a long long long process that takes a lot of time and plenty of patience, especially if you have a shedding pet....oh the fur. The fur.

When you're done, seal up the floor with water-based polyurethane, at least five coats. I stopped at five as the dog fur was making me insane.

Be sure to swing by my blog, Flipping the Flip, for more details about this project and a slew more!

And there we have it folks, a painted stencil floor, cheap and easy!

Click the link below to read more about this project!

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Becky at Flipping the Flip

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

12 questions
  • Lisa
    on Apr 3, 2019

    Putting down so many coats of polyurethane , Have you noticed your floor turning yellow at all?


    • RaeLyn J Hartford
      on Apr 3, 2019

      When you use poly make sure you use one without an amber color.

    • Lisa
      on Apr 3, 2019

      Do you know which brands do not have an amber color? And do you recommend polyurethane or polyacrylic?


    • Retta Robinson
      on Apr 3, 2019

      I had this "yellowing" problem on some bathroom cabinet doors I painted. Folks on Hometalk said to use polyacrylic, not polyurethane. I did not find polyacrylic at H.D. Where to get it??

    • Using an oil based polyurethane will cause yellowing, a water based one should not. There are a few oil based ones that say they're truly clear, I have yet to find one so stick with water based and you shouldn't have any yellowing.

  • Deborah Giovannangelo
    on Apr 3, 2019

    This is beautiful , I have thought of painting my bathroon floor with stencil , Im afraid with my pets , with paint not being nontoxic ,Im not sure its safe for them to walk on it every day with licking there little paws all the time . We would think the same for crawling babies . Any suggestions ?

    • Veronica
      on Apr 3, 2019

      Once the poly dries it should not pose any risk to your pets. To be safe keep pets and babies off for two weeks and wash the floor a couple times. All should be well.

    • Deborah Giovannangelo
      on Apr 3, 2019

       thank you

    • Veronica is correct that once it dries, everything will be fine. You can use low VOC paints to paint the floor with as well. Polyurethane is what's used on wood flooring.

  • Dianne Hanks
    on Apr 3, 2019

    I have old vinyl bathroom floor. Can I use the same concept, materials to achieve end results?

    Thinking about my kitchen? also vinyl and is wearing off. ( Im a renter ) I was thinking of striping off the very old vinyl. (concrete floor) Seems like I could also use your fabulous stencil solution on the raw concrete kitchen floor. Whats your take?

    • Donna Belvees
      on Apr 3, 2019

      This should work if the vinyl is firmly attached or it should work on the concrete floor. Just be sure that your landlord approves. And get it in writing. You don't want to loose your security deposit.

    • Becky at Flipping the Flip
      on Apr 11, 2019

      For sure check with your landlord first and Donna is right, get it in writing. Yes, this will work on concrete, all the same materials. For vinyl you may need a different type of primer. Folks at the paint counter should be able to direct you to the most effective solution.

  • Loyal Adams
    on Apr 3, 2019

    How do I save?

    • Kris
      on Apr 5, 2019

      Click on the heart at the bottom of the page

  • Ava
    on Apr 3, 2019

    I love the lightness of this floor! Re the colours...did you do all one colour at once, or go back once the main colour was dry, to stencil the contrasts?

    • Thank you! Once the main background color was dry, I placed the stencil over a tile and added the colors without moving the stencil until it was filled in. I then moved onto the next tile and kept going.

  • Carol
    on Apr 4, 2019

    Could one do this on a tile shower floor?

    • I can't say for sure though I wouldn't advise it as constant water on paint is not likely to hold up unfortunately. There are tile stickers out there on the internet, they might work.

    • Jewellmartin
      on Apr 10, 2019

      I have painted cheap showers at our church camp, using a variety of leftover white paint, interior, exterior, primer, oil, latex, etc. I can honestly say that it made no difference. None of the painted showers lasted more than one summer. But if you have a ceramic til shower, there are Rustoleum 2X paints for ceramic tile, and other brands, too, that should do a better job with proper application. Best wishes on your project!

  • Jan Crane
    on Apr 11, 2019

    I have 2 large wooden candle sticks that are painted a dark brown color. I would like to distress these using an antique white color. What is your best process to do this?

    • Becky at Flipping the Flip
      on Apr 11, 2019

      You could try lightly sanding off areas of the brown paint and using a dry brush technique, brush on an antique white. Or you could skip the sanding and just do a dry brushing.

  • Peggy M
    on Apr 17, 2019

    Could you use this on a tile backsplash in the kitchen? I have an awful brownish yellow tile that was put on in1978. I would love to cover it.

  • Toni Kephart
    on Jun 30, 2019

    Do you just stop at the bathroom door or do you put a door stop under the door

    • Becky at Flipping the Flip
      on Jun 30, 2019

      I would shut the door as I was going along as needed to reach the floor behind it. If that’s not what you’re looking for, let me know as I’m not entirely sure what you meant.

  • Corrinne Ellis
    on Nov 26, 2019

    So, quick question. The poly is not for tile, but for wood, correct? You know, I'm finishing up my kitchen tile backsplash today. Got three coats of latex on the tile and now want to add the poly, but I thought the poly you used was for tile, but the only Varathane poly I can find is for wood. The wood poly works well on the tile? It's ok? Your tile floor still looks good and clear, no yellowing? My cabinets are already an aging yellow wood. I've painted the backsplash SW Snowbound. If that turns yellow after painting the poly, I will just scream. ;-D

    • Becky at Flipping the Flip
      on Nov 26, 2019

      You can definitely use regular polyurethane over paint with no problems. Be absolutely sure to get a water based one as it won't yellow like an oil based one will. I put about 5 coats on the tile, still good, no yellowing, so you might want to consider about the same or a couple more as it's a backsplash. I've heard polyacrylic works too but I also hear that it yellows so you may want to stay away from that -- no one wants you to be screaming! :)

    • Corrinne Ellis
      on Nov 26, 2019

      Aha!! Thank you for clarifying the poly types! I think my mind was trying to tell me to use the poly acrylic I already have!! Ohhh, can you believe it? There would have been tremendous screaming! Crisis averted!! Yay!! I don’t know if I have the energy to do 5 coats but I’ll certainly get to at least 2. I mean, it is a back splash after all and I won’t be walking on it but understand the backsplash concerns. Appreciate your time & response!!

  • Kyrose
    on Apr 16, 2020

    What kind of wearability have you noticed since using the bathroom on a regular basis?

    • Becky at Flipping the Flip
      on Apr 16, 2020

      We rarely use this bathroom so it’s been fine but your question is very valid. The polyurethane will wear much like it would on a hardwood or high use floor, so that’s important to keep in mind. It’s important to keep standing water off the floor.

    • Mary Jo Murphy
      on Jun 11, 2020

      I stenciled my kitchen floor in my guest house 9 months ago and it has had some heavy traffic and it has held up beautifully .Washes well too!

  • Vickie Hillard
    on Jul 11, 2020

    Where did you find your stencil?

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