Saturday, January 11, 2014

Stenciling Tips and Tricks

I received a Hero Arts stencil from a prize on their flickr group (from Cindy, hi, Cindy!) and tried it out today. Here's what I learned just in case you're thinking of trying a stencil in your crafting.

The stencil I used is a number stencil and is plastic. I tried using Distress Stains at first, because I thought the application would be easy. It was...too easy. It leaked and smeared and looked like this.

I tried Distress Inks and pounced. This is my work in progress--remember to tape down your stencil to keep it from moving. I used washi.

This shows the pounced ink on the left and pounced acrylic paint on the right. Not bad, but still a bit smeary where I didn't pounce up and down and swiped instead with the finger dauber.

I had to try Stickles, as they are my favorite thing in the world...y'know besides the kids and husband. I used a lot of Stickles and just smeared it in with a finger. It's spotty coverage and you use a lot, but it's a cool effect.

The best effect was using the gel medium with acrylic paint imo. I used an old gift card to spread the gel medium first and then spread some paint on top. It's thick but not gloppy and came out a crisp image.

I tried just gel medium on the left, spray ink at the top and glitter paint on the right. You can see that my stencil was still a bit blue because the gold paint has some blue tinge to it.

I liked using the gel medium with paint and then stain too. The stain colored the paint a different blue but was thick enough with the gel and acrylic paint not to seep through the edges.

Last caveat: Don't touch the gel to see if it's dry yet. It's thick and takes awhile to set. Mine took a half-hour or more. See the dent in the 9 where I checked too early? :)

So try fooling around with the stencil and different media. If you want crisp and lovely, try the gel medium with acrylic paint as a second layer (while the gel is wet and the stencil is still taped down.) But, be prepared to spend a bit of time while you play around. I thought it'd go fast, but I kept wanting to try different things with it while it was still out. I tried some different papers too. I didn't see much difference, except that the thin paper buckles with too much media.

Oh, and clean the stencil periodically through the process. If you use Stickles, remember that's a glue. You can wash it in a regular sink and dry with a paper towel. Pat and don't rub the stencil, so you don't bend the pieces. 

Have fun! Hope this helps!


  1. Fabulous results Chark! You put that stencil in good use, thanks for the tutorial, I've learnt quite a few things! So glad you enjoy the stencil!

  2. Great ideas -- thanks for sharing!!

  3. Thanks for a very informative post! I'm on the Memory Box DT and they just sent us 10 stencils, and my knowledge is limited is this area, so I am VERY grateful for the education!!!

  4. wonderful post, thanks for all the tips.

  5. Charlene, thanks so much for all the information, tips and photos! It's great to now know what does and doesn't work with stencils. I had a good giggle at your comment on stickles being nearly your favourite thing in the world:)


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