Updated Staircase

After 25 years of wondering what to do with my dull staircase.....I finally found it! I love how it turned out! My house is a Spanish style home built in 1927.
This is what it looked like before. I had already painted the treads here using Deck Over (textured Deck paint) I got from Home Depot. The color is Slate. I used deck stain for several reasons. One, treads were pretty beat up after almost 90 years of use so I wanted something that would give good coverage. Two, I like the idea of a textured paint since my stairs treads are more narrow than usual and slipping was an issue. And, third, I have a small deck we just built outside that needs to be stained and, knowing the stairs wouldn't require much paint, I wanted to be able to make good use what was left of the gallon I had to purchase.
I purchased stencils from several different stores, looking for ones that would that were about 4-5" because my plywood pieces were 51/2" high. Since I had so many risers to decorate....I tried to used different variations of the stencils I had on hand on each risers. (Stencils can be expensive so I wanted to keep my cost down as well.) I also wanted each riser to be different. I would rotate the stencils, use only part of the stencil, combined stencils, etc., anything to change it up a little on each riser.
I did not want to do the painting and stenciling directly onto the stair risers so I decided to have 1/8" plywood cut to fit the risers. I needed 16 pieces so I bought 8'x4' 1/8" plywood at Lowes (around $13) and they cut it to my specifications for free. I actually needed two pieces of plywood.I first painted each riser piece using eight different background colors. I repeated each color once since I had 16 pieces. I chose bright, contrasting colors that I liked. Most were paints I already had on hand or "sample" bottles I purchased at Lowes. After all 16 were painted, I then began the
stenciling. Mixing and matching the stencils I had trying to bring a different look to each riser. I then used an antique wax purchased at Michaels to give them an aged look.
Here it is after the antique wax. I just brushed a thin coat on and then wiped it off to get the look I wanted.
Here are a few of the finished risers.
I sprayed each with a clear coat for added protection.
I then attached each one to the stair risers using 1" brads. I am very happy with the results! It was a pretty easy project, though, a little time consuming with having to paint and decorate so many riser pieces. I did a few each day and finished the entire project in about a week over all. Hope you like it!

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  2 questions
  • Marchelle Mack-Costigan Marchelle Mack-Costigan on Nov 19, 2015
    Love what you've done. The colors are great. Not too loud at all. Great job!! I need a solution to my old stair problem too. It's been re-finished and looks great but my husbands big feet keep ruining the backs of the stairs. Big black rub marks scar up every back stop or riser of every stair. I thought about putting nice brass look kick plates on each riser like you would put on the bottom of a door to protect the stairs, but can't find any that are only to 5 and 1/ 2 inches high. Any suggestions out there? Help :-) Thank You
  • Lorena Miller Lorena Miller on Nov 19, 2015
    Love the concept of using the 1/8" plywood! Saves the back breaking part of sitting or kneeling on each step and try to paint with the stencil...great idea! I am going to try this at my house as my stairs have never been done since tearing out the carpeting off of them 30 years ago. Thank you for sharing! Did you use a water based poly on them?


Join the conversation

2 of 149 comments