How to use stencils creatively and successfully

How to use stencils creatively and successfully





Stencil is a tool that helps us create patterns, shapes, text, nice and easy! Can be used just to create one image, or repeatedly on larger surfaces to create a continuous pattern, or in combination with other tools such as stamps.

Stencils can be used to decorate cards, gift boxes, scrapbooks, covers, pots, small furniture, tote bags, canvases, walls  and many more!

The spaces that allow the medium to mark the surface you are working on,  are called “islands”  and the remaining parts are called “bridges”.

Types of stencils

1.Simple stencil

This is the easiest and simplest version of a stencil.

 2.Layered stencil

As its name implies, you use a number of layers to create your final image.  This requires precision and care.   The image comes in a set of 3-5 layers (pieces). The one presents the whole image, and each additional layer presents a part of the image. When working with layered stencils you must wait for each layer to dry before working the next one.   This type of stencil allows you to work with a variety of colors.

3.Masked stencil 

Usually this type of stencil matches a stamp with same image.   So, first you stamp your image on the surface and then you cover it with the masked stencil, and continue working on your surface.   Basically the masked stencil acts as a masking shape to protect your stamped image while working on the adjacent area.

Where to use it

A stencil can be used on almost all flat and even surfaces, such as paper, canvas, wood, glass, plastic , metal, fabric  etc.

And now, let’s see how we can use this tool:

1. Cream pastes/texture pastes

This technique involves using a palette knife to spread the paste over the stencil.  You can apply a thick layer if you want it to be heavy textured, or you can apply a thin layer.      Once the paste is dry, you may paint it, or leave it as it is.   You may also use colored pastes.

 2. Paints

Apply the paint over the stencil with a sponge or foam roller.   Do not overload your sponge with color and do not press the sponge too much.

3. Spray paints/Ink spray

To create a softer application of color, use a spray paint.    Make sure you cover any areas you do not want any color to be applied accidentally while spraying.

 4. Inks

Try distress inks for a cool effect!  Use a sponge for inks/blending brush to apply the medium over the stencil.

 5. Pens and Markers

Work with a pen or a marker coloring the “islands”.

Creating Mixed effects.

Create more complicated backgrounds/effects by using your stencils in combination with your stamps.    Stamp through the stencil.   Position your stencil, use the media you want.  Do not remove it.   Let it dry and use over is your favorite stamps.   


Some Tips….

  1. Position your stencil and fasten it with some masking tape to ensure that it will not move while working.
  2. Clean your stencil immediately after use with lukewarm water.
  3. If you are going to use your stencil on a fabric, make sure you use a plastic board beneath the fabric. In case you are working on a tote bag or any other piece that has two layers, put the plastic board between the fabric layers.
  4. Using spray paints requires small amount of paint. Do not overspray otherwise you will end up with a blurred image.

 Happy Creations!!!

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