Stencilled Stair Risers

Looking for an easy way to update your staircase? Do it with paint! Create riser covers with plywood, paint and our free downloadable stencils.


Step 1: Measure stair risers’ width and height. Cut the 1/4″ x 4′ x 4′ birch plywood to those measurements using a jigsaw. (Don’t rely on each riser being exactly the same size. Measure each one and number them in order from bottom to top, then write the numbers on the back of each as you cut them out.) Lightly sand the front of each new riser cover and wipe clean.

Good to Know: The front of the stair tread should hang over the riser by at least 1/4″. If your stair tread does not have an overhang, this project will not work for your home.

Step 2: Coat the front of each riser cover with primer. Let dry completely. Then paint each riser cover a background color and let dry completely before applying the stencil.

Step 3: Download the stair riser stencils and enlarge to the desired scale and print. Cut out the designs.

Step 4: Roll out adhesive shelf liner. Do not remove the backing. Arrange the shelf liner backing side down on a hard surface that won’t be ruined by a crafts knife. Tape down the shelf liner corners. Spray the back side of the stencil with spray adhesive and adhere to the shelf liner. Smooth it out to make sure there are no bumps and that it is well attached. Cut out the design.

Step 5: Remove shelf liner from the work surface. Peel off the sticker backing and lightly position the stencil over the stair riser cover, smoothing it down as you work from one end to the other. Be sure the paper is flat to the surface of the riser cover or paint will seep under the edges.

Good to know: To ensure that your design stays uniform from riser to riser, arrange your riser cover in the same direction as it will attach to your stairs before applying the stencil. This will keep the pattern continuous in case the stair risers are different sizes.

Step 6: Fill in the stencil by applying even coats of paint over the surface of the stencil. Let paint dry completely between coats.

Step 7: Carefully remove the stencil; start at one end and work your way to the other. Re-apply the stencil next to the painted pattern to create another row. For the square stenciled stair riser covers, do not leave a space; instead, mirror the pattern to create the design.

Step 8: Use carpet tape to attach the stenciled stair riser covers to the original risers.



  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Sandpaper
  • Table saw or miter saw
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Paint tray
  • Spray adhesive
  • Crafts knife
  • Carpet tape


  • 1/4″ x 4′ x 4′ birch plywood
  • Primer
  • Shelf liner

Valspar Signature paint:

  • Bay Mist, #5006-7C
  • Crocodile Smile, #6005-7C
  • Toasted Coffee, #2008-3B
  • Exotic Sea, #5004-10B


Products and prices may change; check your local Lowe’s store for details

Almost any do-it-yourself project involves risk of some sort. Your tools, materials, and skill will vary, as will the conditions of your project site. Lowe’s Companies Inc., and its subsidiaries ("Lowe’s") have made every effort to be complete and accurate in the instructions and other content contained in this publication. However, neither Lowe’s nor the publisher will assume any responsibility or liability for damages or losses sustained or incurred in the course of your home improvement or repair project or in the course of your use of the item you create or repair. Always follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions in the use of tools, check and follow your local building codes, and observe all standard safety precautions. Prices and supply may vary, so check the cost of materials and labour in your area before beginning any home improvement project. We strive to be accurate, but unintentional errors may occur and we reserve the right to correct any error. See a Lowe’s store for information regarding product warranties and any available protection plans. All prices, products and promotions are limited to Canada locations only.