I have been doing a lot of stenciling recently, and after hearing the question, “What did you use to make your stencil” oh, about a hundred times, I thought I’d share my go to materials and some tips to make sure your stenciled image turns out the best it can.
All three of these materials can be used in many ways, but this is how I’ve adapted to using them. Part of why I like them is all are very easy to cut with a craft knife, unlike some of the heavy plastics that have traditionally been used for stenciling, so one's finger tip no longer has to go numb when cutting an intricate design.
FREEZER PAPER is great for fabric since it can be ironed down, which keeps it in place while working. Look for it at your super market where the tin foil is sold. ( I love that the box has info for crafting) To cut design, print image on regular paper and lay a sheet of freezer paper over it and go for it.
CONTACT PAPER is excellent for glass and ceramic and on surfaces that may have a curve, since it is a soft adhesive plastic so it can be stretched and tweaked as needed for unusual shapes. Print image on paper and double stick on top of the contact paper and cut away with your craft knife. Contact paper can also be adhered to the glass or ceramic first and then carefully cut and removed. This etched fish tank is a perfect example of this technique.
MAP PAPER / ADVENTURE PAPER is a great waterproof material. The best is it can be printed on, so transferring the image is a piece of cake. Spray the back with repositionable adhesive and it can be used on any surface (including fabrics and glass). It’s really ideal when doing multiplies since it does not get soggy like paper. If the image is large it’s smart to create an outer brace with a stiff board (we used foam core since we had remnants on hand) so the stencil doesn’t fold up on itself, and you can go to town making a a bunch of prints.
One great thing we have started doing is using the various Martha Stewart Punches to create patterns.
The secret for punching through all three materials is to lay a piece of plain printer paper on top, and insert into the punch. Make sure to have the punch on a hard surface while pushing down.
Why that piece of paper makes punching work is a mystery to me, but it is giving us some awesome results like this etched glass set.
And I love these pillows created with the Deep Edge Daisy punch and Freezer Paper.
And finally...what brush? I generally do a quick test to see how the paint is getting absorbed, since surfaces and paints all work differently together.
I have noticed that I am favoring the foam stippling brush more and more. But I also like the simple sea sponge that Athena introduced me to, and that she has used for all her gorgeous stencil projects created for the magazine.
Is there a tip or suggestion that you might have? Like I said this is how I have adapted to get great results, but I am always interested in how to make it better, and that comes from being open to learning from others.