Painting, scrapbooking, textile design, art journaling, mixed media, stencils can be used everywhere, in all techniques. How to use stencils? For which techniques? Amylee talks about it in this post, with a list of the tools and methods you need to know.
Stencil: Tools, Techniques & Tips
The perfect tool for creative people who like to work quickly and effectively. The stencil makes it easy to reproduce a pattern on any type of support (paper, canvas, textile, wood and many other materials). Characters, letters, silhouettes or a nice design, a stencil can take many forms.
Get perfect results
“Stamp it or Spray it” the ideal way to succeed with stencils and minimize blurring. The stencilling techniques work best with fresh paint and very little water. Extremely handy, it adapts to all situations, as comfortable applying horizontally (on a table) as it is vertically (on a wall).
Regardless of the method used, the best way is to always try on paper or an old magazine to check the expected result. Do not forget to remove stencil from the support before paint dries and hardens.
Did you know that? Stencil’s lovers distinguish the stencil from the ‘mask’. The mask is actually the negative part of the stencil.
How to choose your stencil?
- Traditional stencil – Usually made of plastic, thin, and quite resistant, this ready-to-use stencil is used with a repositionable spray adhesive. The spray adhesive then prevents the paint from flowing under the stencil.
- Self adhesive stencil – Ready to use and very useful, it is made of thin resistant plastic. Its adhesive side allows you to fix it perfectly on to the surface avoiding burrs. If you clean it after each use, you can use it for longer.
- Foam stencil – Thick and made of foam, it is suitable for the production of relief surfaces. This ready-to-use stencil can be used with modelling paste, clear gesso or modelling clay.
- Handmade stencil – Can be handmade with a rhodoid sheet (or laser-cut polyester) and an X-Acto scalpel (or stencil knife), and can take any shape. Creating your own stencils requires good control, and taking your time whilst doing the cutting. If the stencil is not damaged, it can be reused.
- Disposable stencil – Handmade with cardboard or thick paper, this stencil is used without spray adhesive. You can use this kind of stencil to add small patterns to your creation.
Choice of colours:
Colour in all its forms for more stencilling creations.
- Crayons or oil pastels (assured styles and graphic effects)
- Soft pastels, PanPastels (cloudy and vaporous effects)
- Acrylic paint
- Acrylic gouache paint (matt effect)
- Ink (used with an airbrush or from an ink pad)
- Pencils or markers (for hatched colouring, dots all over)
- Modelling paste (reliefs, 3d effects)
Did you know? For your choice of paints, choose water-based.
Choice of tools:
The tools will depend on the colour used (just above). Feel free to draw from the following lists. According to your needs, you may use:
1/ To stamp colour (different choices):
- Stencil brush
- Foam stencil brush
- Ink Pad
- Sponge (fluffy texture)
- Latex make up sponge « beauty blender » (compact and fine texture)
Did you know? Before applying colour to the stencil, always unload your brush onto a cloth to remove excess paint.
2/ To spray colour (different choices):
- Acrylic paint spray
- Foldable diffuser (for spraying ink colours)
- Spray bottle (for mixing your colours)
Important note: When spraying paint, always work in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask whenever possible.
3/ To apply colour (different choices):
4/ To have to hand:
- Disposable plate or tear-off palette (for mixing colours and modelling paste)
- Repositionable spray adhesive and adhesive tape (for stabilizing the stencil)
- Cotton bud (to apply paint in small areas of the stencil)
- Spray fixative (for pastel)
- Painting knife or spatula (for mixing)
- Water jar (for washing tools)
- Cloth or paper towel roll
Most of these products are currently available at GreatArt Online or in their art supply shop in London Shoreditch..
How to clean a stencil?
Clean tools and plastic stencils after use. Most inks or paints simply wash off with water and soap.
Did you know? With strong paint, soak for 5min in hot water then rub or peel off paint with a spatula.
Some pictures from Amylee’s studio!
Painting: Volupté (100x80cm) – Artist : Amylee Paris
Find all Amylee’s posts published in GreatArt online Magazine by clicking here!
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