Sunday, October 9, 2011

DIY Stencils and Simple Stenciling 101

I've never been that great with an exact-o knife.  But I've been needing stencils lately, and either don't feel like running to town to see if they actually have what I want, don't feel like paying for them, or both!  So I finally discovered a GREAT way to make my own!!!  Tobin is always bringing home these clear little paper-keeper folders with his sunday school papers in them.  Me, not wanting to throw anything like that way, has been saving them in a drawer... I'm so glad now that I have them!  Here's how I make my stencils:

1. Google in something like "flower stencil" or "fluer de lise" or "chevron printable" and click on images that appeal to you.  Find one you like, save it to your hard drive and then open it in a program where you can crop it how you want, change the color so you don't waste precious ink, and then print it to the size you want it.  (I use Roxio Photosuite to resize, recolor, etc.).

2. Get a clear paper keeper folder (the ones my son gets compliments of sunday school are from Office Max) and put the paper you just printed into it.

3. Grab exact-o knife and cut the shape out. Make sure to put a piece of cardboard or something underneath so you don't slice up something you didn't want to! Easy peasy - you have your stencil!
Sometimes your image gets quite distorted when you stretch it bigger!  haha.  (excuse the awful pic!)
For this "4" I put some double sided tape on the middle piece to keep it in place.
Click here to check out the before and after of this little bad boy!
Simple Stenciling 101:
Now, most of you can be done reading this and move on to something else.  But if you're like me the first time I tried to stencil and couldn't figure out how to do it, read on!  Seriously, I thought, how hard can it be?  I remember getting out a regular paint brush (mistake 1), putting a generous amount of paint on (mistake 2) and brushing back and forth over the stencil (mistake 3).  My excitement disappeared as I pulled the stencil off to reveal a DISASTER!  Am I the only one?  Or have you been there?  I remember trying again, with much less paint, and still getting awful results and then grabbing the phone and calling the one knows everything - mom!!  So HERE'S the right way to stencil:

1. USE A STENCIL BRUSH!!! They are round, firm, and flat on the bottom. They look like this in case you don't know:

2. Use a VERY SMALL amount of paint.  I usually tap off some on the side of the stencil and then proceed to inside the stencil.

3. Do not use a back and forth motion.  TAP.  Tap, tap, tap until it's covered.  You will be shocked at how little paint you use!  The minute you get too much paint, it will bleed under your stencil so make sure you have just enough to get color on, and then tap away. :)

4.  You may need a second coat when it dries.

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  1. Spray adhesive also helps keep the little parts down. Spray the back of the stencil with it, let it dry for a few minutes so the spray is tacky, and gently press it on. Comes off easy since you let it dry before adhering!

  2. Thanks for the lesson. I look forward to giving it a try.

  3. Awesome...You just opened up a new door for me. Thanks a million!

  4. Cant you put contact paper over paper and cut out design to make a stencil. I myself have not tried this yet, but may give it a try.

  5. Has anyone tried using contact paper put on paper and then cut out image to make a stencil. I have not tried yet, but i think i will.

    1. I don't see why not! :) Hope it works well for you. Let us know!

  6. I did exactly the same thing with exactly the same results. Now I'm ready to try again, thanks. I also read where you can put a layer of modge-podge down first and let it dry so that the edges are sealed, and you actually paint onto the glue...

  7. Looking forward to trying this...thank you for sharing...Cathy


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