Take a Mirror From Basic to Unique With a Bone Inlay Stencil Technique

11 Materials
2 Hours

Inlay mirrors can cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. What if you could get the same look for less? Using stencils and acrylic paint I managed to make a basic IKEA frame look like it had a bone inlay that would normally cost a pretty penny! This simple technique can be applied to so many different household items to take them up a notch. Follow my step-by-step tutorial below to learn how to do it yourself, and you may just learn some stenciling tips and tricks along the way!

Tools and Materials

Tools and Materials:

  • Stencil kit
  • Tape measure
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Rag
  • Wax pencil
  • Spray adhesive
  • Dense foam roller
  • Paper plate
  • Acrylic paint
  • Stencil brush
  • Painter’s tape 
Clean the Surface
Clean the Surface

Using a rag with some denatured alcohol I cleaned off the frame of the mirror. You want to make sure that it’s wax and dirt free so that the paint sticks to the frame.

Plan Out the Design
Plan Out the Design

When working with stencils that you want to be symmetrical, it’s important to always start from the center of the design. I measured the top of my mirror and marked the center with a wax pencil, both on the bottom and top of the piece of wood, and then repeated the process on the sides. 


Adhere the Stencil

I sprayed the back of the stencil with removable adhesive spray. This will hold the stencil in place, but allow me to move it around as needed. I placed my stencil right in the middle of the mirror frame.

Add Paint

I added some paint to a plate and picked some up using a dense foam roller. 

Coat Roller in Paint

Make sure that you load the roller little by little and evenly so that you don’t end up with streaks or bleeding paint. 

Roll Paint onto Stencil

Then I slowly rolled the paint onto the stencil. Do this part carefully and slowly. We don’t want to work too fast and accidentally over-roll on the edge, or press too hard and get paint underneath the stencil. As you paint you’ll need to press a bit harder to get all of the paint off the roller.


I reloaded my paint roller as needed and continued stenciling. For this project it’s not important that the paint be completely even, as slight variations in saturation only emphasizes the natural bone look that I’m going for. 

DIY Inlay Stencil

Add Painter's Tape
Miter the Corner

When I got to the corner I needed to do things a little differently. I started by taping off the edge of the corner I would be painting with painter’s tape. This is an easy way for me to see where I need to stop painting and will protect the frame underneath it if I happen to go just a bit beyond the edge. Make sure to burnish the edge of the tape so that it’s completely sealed. 


This stencil doesn’t have registration marks, but there is a little half starburst on the end that should line up nicely when you start the next repeat. Make sure to leave whatever negative space is necessary between them and press the stencil in place.

Add More Paint


If you happen to accidentally over-roll it’s easy to clean it up with a baby wipe.

Repeat on the Other Edge

I repeated the process on the other side of the frame. 

Add a Border
Add a Border

The stencil kit I’m working with has a few border options, so I picked the one that I liked the most for this project and lined it up with one of the edges touching the center point.

Use a Stencil Brush

I’m using a stencil brush for this part as the stencil is too narrow to accommodate my paint roller. I picked up a bit of the paint and then dipped just the very tip into the paint.

Palette the Brush

I did a swirling motion, called paletting the brush, which evenly distributed the paint into the bristles.


Next I pounced the paint onto the stencil until it was completely covered.

Remove the Tape

I repeated the process along the entire top of the frame and then removed the painter’s tape. 

DIY Bone Inlay Stencil

It’s as simple as that! In just a few hours I created a faux inlay on a basic IKEA mirror that made it look ten times more expensive! What would you use this technique on? Let me know in the comments below!

Resources for this project:
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • Aletha Marshall Aletha Marshall on Jul 02, 2020

    Where can I find that stencil kit?

  • DC DC on Jul 04, 2020

    Really lovely!! I have to ask, why did you choose to do the mirror while it was still on the wall? Was it easier to work with that way, or just personal preference? Before we do or don't take our mirror down to do something similar, I am actually quite curious to know your answer. Thanks.

  • Whi48762480 Whi48762480 on Sep 26, 2020

    Do you realize that your top stencil is placed upside down? Look at the center of the stencil. That is supposed to be a flower in a pot.

Join the conversation
2 of 19 comments
  • Martina Martina on Jul 20, 2020

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your lovely work and for a clear, concise and well written description of your process.

  • Jane Moreau Jane Moreau on Sep 26, 2020

    I just love love love this! Took it from plain to beautiful!!