Thursday, July 24, 2014

Use Your Stencils to Make Windows

If you are looking for the Traci Bautista Blog Hop, keep scrolling down the page.

Hi all, it's Gwen Lafleur back again today with another project tutorial to share. A few weeks ago I shared a mini cardboard art journal that used a lot of different stenciling techniques, and I got quite a few questions about one of the pages so I thought I'd do a tutorial showing how to use layers of stenciling to create your own little "windows."

Here's the original page I did using Circle on Circle by Mary Beth Shaw, the 6x6 peacock stencil from Jessica Sporn's January Stencil Club set, and the Quatrefoil Mix by Michelle Ward.

And here's the project I did for today's tutorial using the same process:

To get started, I put down a layer of Victorian Gray Matisse Background Paint (I found this through Mary Beth's last webinar and I really like it!) Then I used the Diamond Dance stencil by Terri Stegmiller along with some Imagine Crafts Goosebumps to get a slightly textured background - the cool thing is that it also works as a resist. It's pretty subtle... also, I didn't worry about being precise since this is one of my bottom layers.

The Goosebumps are clear, so the gray still shows even after I spray on top of it and then wipe to let the diamonds show through.You can pick any background stencil here, and use paints, inks, sprays... whatever you want. Just think ahead to what you're going to put on top... Dylusions or other water reactive products will surface color up from the bottom as you build on it, so decide whether or not that's going to matter to you.

Next, it's time to add your main image. Animals work great for this - I think the Elephant March stencil from Nathalie Kalbach or Mary Beth Shaw's Dragon stencil would be super fun. But it can be anything... I decided to do something a bit more abstract and used the Splats, Blooms, and Bones stencil by Orly Avineri. I use a stiff bristled brush to stencil with acrylic paint, but you can use a sponge, dauber, or whatever works best for you.
I put two images in there, and then used ink and a dauber to add some splats, just for a little extra background texture.
So here's the basic image I'm going to have behind my "windows."
I went in with some Molotow paint markers and added more visual interest, and also used some dimensional paints for a bit of detail.
Now... you can totally stop here. Especially if you're not comfortable covering up parts of your work (if you know me, you know I LOVE to cover stuff up!) But if that does make you squirm, try doing two pages in your journal - do one page where you go this far and stop, and at the same time, make another page where you'll keep going and cover up. It's just as easy to make two pages while you're at it, so it can be fun to experiment a bit with going outside your comfort zone!

Ready? Now it's time to grab the stencil you're going to use for your "windows." You want to make sure that there are openings big enough to see through, but you also want to make sure it's something where you can paint around the windows - you'll see that in a few steps. I took Michelle Ward's Maltese Mix stencil (she has a lot that are great for this) and laid it down on my dry page and used a pen to trace the openings where I wanted them. You can move the stencil around and take the parts of the design you want to use. It helps if you don't trace the really small shapes, unless you really want to paint around all of them!
Once that's done, it's time for some reverse painting (we'll paint the negative space.) I like to use a darker color for this - Payne's Gray works great. Take your time going around each shape.
I wanted the left side to be slightly less opaque, so I did the right side of the page first and then added some acrylic glazing liquid to my paint. You can see a bit more showing through on that side.
Now you have your windows, so it's time for some window dressing! You can use markers, fine line applicators with paint, dimensional paints... I was trying out some Imagine Crafts Irresistible Pico Embellishers and they worked really well to outline and add dots. I also used a Stabilo All Marks pencil to add a little definition to the shapes showing through the openings.
Whatever works for you to get to where you feel finished is awesome. This was it for me on this one!
 I just added a bit of journaling with my Stabilo pencil in some of the openings.

I hope you enjoyed today's project! And I hope you go and try this yourselves. If you do, link up your project! I'd love to see it!

You can see more of my work or leave me a comment or a question here or on my blog. Until next time!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

StencilGirl Guest Designer Jackson Gray

Hi my name is Jackson Gray and I'm a studio potter and today I would like to give you a look into the process of my pottery and how I incorporate stencils into my work. I am using the Sand Dollars and Sea Horse stencils designed by June Pfaff Daley for StencilGirl.

First I roll out a slab of clay between 3/16" boards and lightly trace my template into the slab. Looks like I can get 3 mugs from this slab. Then, I sponge on the first layer of underglaze. I am using Mayco brand, True Teal first.

Before sponging on more colors, I must make sure that each layer is no longer shiny so that the colors don't smear and get muddy. The other colors are Electra Blue, Bright Blue and Apple Green. It is easier to work with the stencils when the clay can be moved around and the stencils are cut apart, so I make the cuts and now I can focus on one mug at a time.

Once I am certain the underglaze has completely dried, I place some of the stencils and holding them tightly to the surface, sponge away the color, then carefully apply a layer of slip (fluid clay) and lift away the stencil.

Now I cut at the bevel, rough up the surface that is to be joined and apply some of the slip to the seam (scoring and slipping). I wrap the piece around a form that I have previously made. This provides a stable surface that I can press against to insure that the seam is well joined.

Now I roll my wooden tool from side to side forcing a little slip out from the joint. After cleaning up the inside seam area, I cut a circle of clay from the scrap and stamp it with my logo.

After scoring and slipping both sides of the edge of the cup and bottom disc, I press it into place and reinforce it by rolling the pony roller around the edge. Carefully I clean away the slip that oozes from the seam. Then with a tool I made from a Formica sample, I round the lip and then roll it over my hand to give an inviting edge for your mouth.

 I roll a coil to a tapered carrot shape and wet hands, pull a handle shape, allow it to curve in a natural arc and after it has stiffened a bit, I cut to size and smooth the edges.

I score and slip the parts to be joined and while supporting from the inside, I attache the handle, top and bottom. I press a small stamp of a turtle at the base to further reinforce the join. I turn the mug over and gently coax the handle to a pleasing curve and allow it to dry in this position. When the mugs are no longer cool to the touch, I load them into my kiln for bisque firing. This drives out all the remaining moisture and burns out organic materials and tightens the clay particles making the piece less fragile when glazing. This step is skipped by some potters--there are no hard and fast rules.

Jackson Gray is a full time studio potter living in San Diego CA. You can catch her work at weekend arts & crafts shows, on her website HERE or her Facebook Page HERE.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Stencil on a Mixed Media Canvas - "Enjoy All Things" Canvas

A few weeks ago I was asked by a few local scrapbooking & crafting ladies in my area to teach a mixed media painting class to them - they really wanted to know more about how to stencil on a mixed media canvas project. If you've been creating mixed media art, art journaling, or painting for a while, using stencils might seem old hat. But for scrapbookers and crafters who like straight lines and "unmessy" projects, paint and stenciling has a permanency to it that is quite intimidating. It's scary!

What if I MESS UP my piece?

What if I don't like it after I put the paint down and stencil it?

What if it looks UGLY?!


Okay, crafty friends, let's calm down.

The beauty of stenciling is that it can be undone ;) Just paint over it! And, it is much easier than you might think! 

I created the base of this canvas in this class as I taught it, decoupaging book pages onto canvas and then painting and stamping over top of the canvas. Now's where the fun starts - the stencils, of course!

Here are some tips for how to stencil on a mixed media canvas for the first time:
  • Less is better - load your brush with the least amount of paint possible. This helps prevent the paint from bleeding under the stencil, which can happen when you add too much at once. I load up the foam brush and then I dab some off on a paper towel or my palette - this makes it "dry" and better for stenciling. 
  • Dab the brush onto the stencil - painting or brushing over it can make the paint seep under the stencil.
  • "Practice" on a scrap of paper or the back of your project before stenciling directly on the canvas. Then, "practice" again by stenciling the sides of the gallery wrapped canvas. Finally, stencil onto your project directly.
  • Keep wet paper towels or baby wipes handy to wipe away any mistakes as soon as they occur.
  • If a mistake can't be wiped away, paint over it, allow it to dry, and then stencil again.
  • Consider using Workable Fixatif between layers of stenciled images or paint to protect the work you've already done from potential new mistakes.
  • Sometimes the best images are created from "mistakes"!
  • Have fun!
In a couple of spots on this canvas, I loaded my brush with too much paint and it seeped under the stencil. I took my fingers and a paper towel and smeared the paint to create a streaked image with the excess paint. If you don't tell anyone, they'll think you got that effect on purpose! I smeared the doodling on the canvas to continue the smearing theme and look to make the piece look cohesive:

Here are the supplies I used on this piece:
At the end of the class, everyone had a different and unique piece, with various colors and choices of stencils, yielding completely original results for each person! A little time experimenting is all everyone needed to be comfortable stenciling with paint and ink. Now, what are you going to stencil next?

Thanks for visiting us here at StencilGirlTalk today! 

Happy Stenciling,

Jennifer Priest

Visit my blog at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Limitless Flowers of JOY!

Hi! Kirsten Reed here with a quick post about how I didn't limit myself to just one stencil from StencilGirl when I created my floral painting.

I started with one of my collaged backgrounds.  The first thing I did on top of the collage was use molding paste and Maria McGuire's Greek Stitch a Border stencil to immediately add dimension to the canvas. (See top left, top right, bottom right) I then used my stabilo pencil and sketched out my basic bouquet.

After I had my basic idea of how I wanted things to look I began with stencils and paint!
For the table I used Lizzy Mayne's Eye Lattice stencil.  Inside the vase I used Mayne's Flicks stencil.

To add a layer of interest to my background, I used Carolyn Dube's Cross Word stencil.
Each time I painted with the stencils, I went very light on the paint so my interesting collage would peek through.  I also used Golden Fluid Acrylic paints because they are transparent.

Here is a close up of the texture and molding paste.

Here you can see how subtly I used the crossword stencil (in blue).  I also used Carolyn Dube's Jumbo Vintage Alphabet stencils and hid the word "JOY" in the table.

Inside the blue flowers, I added pizzaz with Maria McGuire's Seeds stencil and her Tiny Medallion stencil in the leaves. After most of the painting was finished I took strips of my fabric printed with my past art designs on it, and cut it to add dimension and interest to the flowers.

Here are all the stencils I used:

If you liked this tutorial and more free tutorials by me, visit my blog here and be sure to go to my Facebook page here!  

Thanks for your support!