Saturday, December 30, 2017

Brayer-applied Images with Stencils

This print was made with Pair o' Parrots stencil (6" x 6").

Today's second print, below, started with my 9" x 12" Mimosa Stencil ... the original print was with a dark acrylic paint, probably green.  Over that I added a topcoat of red acrylic paint.

Then I painted a 6" x 6" square roughly in the center.

Atop that, I laid another stencil, Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini, which measures 4" x 4".  With this stencil, I used a sponge brayer loaded with two shades of green acrylic paint.

Below:  When using a sponge brayer with a stencil, I always use heavy body paint -- or, as in the example shown here, I use liquid/soft body acrylic paint that has been left out for awhile.  This increases its viscosity.  Highly viscous (heavy body) acrylic paints are less likely to cause stencil run-under.  But the amount of pressure applied with the applicator -- be it a brayer or any other kind of paint applicator -- is of even more importance than the viscosity of the paint.  It has taken me a lot of practice to learn the right amount of pressure for avoiding run-under!

I also used a sponge brayer loaded with heavy body paints to make today's top print as well as the print below ...

Above:  6" x 6" Heron stencil

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

Friday, December 15, 2017

A Quick and Easy Project to Make a Christmas Stocking Stuffer-Gift

How many ways can you use a jumbo wood clothespin?  In this post I'm showing it used to hold earbuds or headphones -- a handy way to keep the wires from tangling.  In the first shot below, the clothespin is still untreated, the way it was when I first brought it home.

In this project my first step, not shown, was to cover the clothespin with a base coat of light lavender acrylic paint.

Below, the now-painted clothespin is barely visible.  I've placed it on a "catch-all" sheet of paper (an old calendar page, used to "catch" all the paint that would otherwise fall onto my work surface.)  The green masking tape is helping hold the stencil in place on the clothespin.  This stencil (stained with pink paint from an earlier project) is a strip cut from my 9"X 12" stencil Swatton Borders #1.  (When using a stencil on narrow objects like this clothespin, I find it easier to have cut the stencil apart.)

Above:  The stenciled clothespin,in the upper part of the photo, can be better seen by clicking on this image to enlarge it.  Under it are my palette (a disposable foam plate) and (on the left) the stencil just used.

Below are two shots of the finished clothespin, now a holder for earphones.  But since this is to be a Christmas gift, it may be put to a different use in its new home ...

... since these jumbo clothespins can also be used as artwork hangers, refrigerator magnets, party decorations/favors, and display-holders for photos, greeting cards or kitchen recipes.    I bought this one at my local A. C. Moore, but they're also available at

This stencil in its entirety looks like this:

Swatton Borders # 1 stencil

The border on the far left of this stencil is the one I chose for today's project.  The stencil measures 9" x 12" and is one of three stencils in my series of borders stencils.

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Two More Christmas Cards

Only ten days till Christmas Eve!

Today's post makes use of two identical prints made with my 4" x 4" stencil Fern Fronds Silhouette Mini -- 

For the top card, I glued one of the prints to a 6" x 6" white metallic-finish bi-fold blank greeting card (; I then used a squeeze bottle of silver glitter (Ranger Industries) to add flourishes and dots of bling.

For the second card, I used the same kind of blank greeting card, this one made from bronze metallic cardstock.  And I used the same glitter glue.

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Another Christmas Card!

I stumbled upon a treasure when I discovered "metallic"-sheened greeting card blanks at  ... I always feel that when I start with a blank that's already coated with a pretty surface, I've been given a head  start. 

An added bonus is that these "metallic" cards are cut from sturdy cardstock that tolerates some serious art-making.  (No, I don't own stock in Jam Paper!)

I use the card blanks that are just slightly smaller than 6"x6" so that they perfectly fit my 6"x6" stencils.  But in this case, I used one of my 9"x12" stencils, Facets, because I wanted to create the illusion of a church window for a Christmas card cover.

First, I (masking) taped a stencil over the front of the card; then I traced the lines of the design with a black Sharpie pen.  

Next, I dropped the alcohol inks over the stencil and let them run and mix at will, with a little drop-by-drop encouragement of rubbing alcohol.  (For some reason, the blending solution that comes with the alcohol inks didn't work.) 

Next time, I'll use the dauber tools that are meant to be used with alcohol inks, but this time around, I wanted to experiment with just dropping on the inks and letting them dry.

I made the mistake of letting them dry TOO much.  So the stencil stuck to the card surface and, when lifted, it made a tear in the upper right area, above.   (This was repaired, after the above scan, using a layer of liquid gloss medium.)

Thanks for your visit today!

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Never Too Many Christmas Cards!

Here's an idea that I've used in the past to make Christmas cards.

For this project, I recommend wearing disposable gloves and gathering just a few supplies:  iridescent Shiva Paintstik oil crayons; a stencil; thin, dark papers; and an  X-acto knife.  I used black and other dark mulberry papers because of their thinness.  The best iridescent Paintstik colors to use on dark papers are silver, white, and light gold.  For this projects, I chose gold and silver.

Just before use, a Shiva Paintstik needs to be "primed" because, when not in use, it naturally forms an outer "skin" which must be removed. This is easily done with an X-acto knife -- but it should be done by an adult, never a child; these knives are sharp.

The stencil I'm using here, in Project One, is my 4"X 4" stencil Fern Fronds Silhouette.

The stencil is held secure with one hand, while the other rubs across the top of the stencil with the Paintstik -- held flat on one side, as shown below --

The above photo shows that all spaces in the stencil design have been completely filled with a layer of metallic Paintstik crayon.  In the photo below, the stencil has been lifted off the paper and placed above the imprint.
Above:  The oil crayon-coated stencil is at the top; under it is the imprint.
Below is a close-up of an imprint made this way.

At this point, the stencil is heavily coated with leftover oil crayon.  To create another imprint of a different kind, without using more crayon, the stencil is placed on fresh paper and held in place with one hand, while the other uses a soft rag or a paper towel to rub across the stencil and the open areas of the stencil --

An imprint made this second way is shown close-up below.

More than one "ghost print" can be made in the way I just described, until most of the crayon has been removed from the stencil.  Then the stencil can be completely cleaned with an alcohol wipe.

Now comes Project Two, using the same materials. 

The first step is to slide the stencil under a fresh sheet of dark, thin paper.

Above:  the stencil is being pushed under the paper.

The second and last step is to rub the sideways oil crayon across the paper, pressing into the outlines of the hidden stencil below.  Below is one rubbing created in this way:

One place to purchase these oil crayons is --

Another vendor is --

The second link, for Dharma Trading, takes you to a webpage where you can watch a video of these oil sticks being used to make rubbings on fabric.  I'm not into fabric arts, but I suspect that when these oil crayons are used on fabric, there are follow-up steps for setting the color permanently.  Dharma would have information on this. 

The stencil used in this post, Fern Fronds Silhouette, is available at

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Foil Christmas Cards, Embossed with Help from Stencils

From time to time, I like to remind myself of past projects that I've done in the Christmas spirit.  Today's post features one of those ...

Above is one of the Christmas cards I've made using Inkssentials self-adhesive foil from Ranger Industries.  Foil is very difficult to photograph, but I love working with this surface because embossing it is so easy and quick.  The results are subtle, not flashy (unless alcohol inks are introduced.  Something for me to try, one of these days!) 

My first step was to measure the foil needed to cover the front of a blank greeting card--

Then, I placed my 4"x 4" stencil Fern Fronds Silhouette Stencil Mini atop the foil, holding it in place as I traced the openings with a stylus, as shown below.  (A no-longer-working ballpoint pen will handle this job as well as a stylus.)

Note: this stencil is stained green as result of a previous project.  Click on the image to enlarge it and better see the embossed lines made with the stylus.)

My 4"x4" Fern Fronds Silhouette Stencil Mini is what I chose to use this time, but the greeting card blank was large enough for me to've used  any 6"x6" stencil.  I buy these sturdy, square greeting card blanks from

After I lifted the stencil, its embossed outlines were revealed, as shown below.

After this, I introduced Titanium White acrylic paint -- 

 -- which I brushed across the surface.  While the paint was still tacky, I removed most of it with a paper towel.  This method was called "antiquing" back when I first learned it.  The goal is to leave a hit-and-miss look, with foil showing thru in most areas, but with most of the paint remaining in the embossed areas:

Click on the above image to better see the remaining white paint.

Next, I got out the glitter glue.  Below are two photos showing the border I created this way:

Now I wanted to add some color, so I used red glitter glue to apply dots--

Above These dots are easier to see in the finished greeting card, shown at the start of this post.

Once the glitter dried, I peeled off the foil's white backing paper and applied the foil to the front of the Christmas card -- as shown in the top photo in this post.

Check with the Postal Service before mailing 6" x 6" greeting cards -- there is a non-machinable surcharge for sending mail of these dimensions.  I use two Forever stamps, for convenience.

Thanks for visiting my blog today!

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Gelli Plate Print Christmas Card

I've noticed – to my delight – that the round 8-inch Gelli Plate greatly changes the “look” usually achieved from making prints with stencils.  This happy fact stood out for me when I used my 9”X 12” stencil Facets ...

The first print shown above  --

 --reminds me of a stained-glass window.

I'd made this print starting with black-and-white patterned scrapbook paper; then I had layered red, orange and green acrylic paints over it with a brayer. 

Once that paint dried, I'd used my round Gelli Plate, a gesso-teal mix of acrylic paint, and my 9”X 12” stencil Facets to pull the print.

To make my first Christmas card, I covered a blank 5”X 7” greeting card with a background -- green mulberry paper embedded with gold threads of tinsel.
My next step was to add the half-circle I’d cut from my Gelli Plate print.  It was really easy to cut out the printed area, because this stencil’s geometric design is divided equally by its axis. 

On a scrap of the same green mulberry paper, I used a gold-paint pen to write “Christmas Blessings” – I did it on a scrap, not the card itself, because I wanted to make sure it would turn out the way I wanted.  Then I cut out the lettering and glued it to the card cover.  That card is below:

I used part of the leftover print to decorate a matching envelope -- it became a trim that runs along the bottom edge, right under the area where the name and address will be:

Another print I pulled, using the same teal-gesso mix, was on dark blue cardstock that has embedded glitter-like sparkles.  Here, again, is that print:

To make a second Christmas card, I chose a 6"X 6" card blank made from "pearlized" cardstock.  Because of the change in card size, I cut out a bigger part of the print than I had for the earlier card.  I glued the cut-out to my card and trimmed the edges.
I used a rubber stamp and green inkpad to make the greeting on white cardstock.  After cutting out the greeting with Fiskars Paper Edger scissors, I ran the gold pen along its four edges before adding it to the Christmas card.  Here's the card, finished -- except for a red border that I plan to add later:

Here's the matching envelope, again with its decoration along the bottom that leaves room above for the name and address:

For me, it was a natural segue from Christmas cards and envelopes to Christmas giftwrap.  Some of the prints shown at the top of this post were done on foreign newsprint  -- an approach that gives me an interesting background, while resulting in a pliable paper perfect for giftwrap and matching gift-tags.
Here again are those papers:

And here is one of the papers as giftwrap --

And here is the gift-tag, cut from another print, so the prints match but the color backgrounds are in contrasting (complimentary) colors:

Facets stencil, in its entirety, looks like this:

9" x 12" stencil Facets

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I'm happy to say that I've designed 70 stencils for StencilGirl.  The multiple pages of my stencils start here.