Monday, September 29, 2014

StencilGirl Guest Designer Mandi Ballard

Hi! My name is Mandi Ballard and I’m a textile artist. Maria invited me to create a garment project to share with you using some awesome StencilGirl stencils. The stencils I chose to work with were Corrugated Lines, Fractured Glass and Rafters.

Fall is finally coming to Texas and I knew I’d really enjoy making a long sleeved top. I chose to make the Bo-Ho Deluxe Woodstock Tunic from an independent pattern company, Hot Patterns 

As a dyer, I have tons of undyed white and natural fabrics on hand and when I reached into my cabinet I came out with some really nice linen. I wanted to used one of the stencils to create a pattern using thickened dyes and a product that I purchased last year called Color Magnet by Jacquard. I needed to thicken the Color Magnet a bit to use it with my stencil, Rafters. Once I was set up with the fabric on the table it took a bit of time with a foam brush to carefully brush on the Color Magnet. This was a very open stencil, and the Color Magnet was a bit goopy, but I was able to get some good images scattered here and there across the fabric.

Once dry, the yardage was put into the dye bath, a light gray. Color Magnet works by attracting more dye to the area where it is applied. The result I got was very interesting...textured. Part of that I think  is because I applied the Color Magnet rather thickly.

The next step was to cut out the garment and get to stenciling! This tunic has a separate facing that is meant to be beaded or stitched before applying to the garment. I thought this would be a great place to use my other stencils. I also created a separate facing for the sleeve hem to match. Using the Fractured Glass stencil and some Setacolor textile paint (blue and black mixed together), I covered the front and back facings as well as the sleeve hem facings.

Once that was dry I used some Lumiere paints (old brass) and the Corrugated lines stencil to create a funky little edging. I love how this effect turned’s very striking!

After all the paint was dry I assembled the garment, and stitched down the facings using a decorative stitch on my machine. A zig zag or even hand stitch would’ve been just as nice.

You might be wondering why it suddenly looks blue. Well, I changed my hair color by the time this was finished and I decided that under bright lights

You might be wondering why it suddenly looks blue. Well, I changed my hair color by the time this was finished and I decided that under bright lights the gray just wasn’t working for me now. So the entire garment was dipped into my indigo vat. I did a little test before hand to see if the stenciled print
(from the Color Magnet) would still show up and it did, as you can see from the two detail shots. The first is the neck facing area and the second is the sleeve facing.

Before I go I thought I'd show you a skirt that I made recently with the July StencilClub stencils from

This was a fun project and I really enjoyed using my StencilGirl stencils. I have lots of ideas for future garments, but I’ve also used my stencils on simple t-shirts and casual skirts just to add a little something.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Stenciled and Shaped Handmade Books

Hi everyone! This is Gwen back today to share a new project for you to try with your stencils. Lately I've been in a bit of a book-making phase, and this month I wanted to try and step it up a bit and expand my repertoire by going outside of the box... literally! I decided to bypass the traditional rectangular books for something a bit more fun... shaped books made from stencil designs!

I started by gathering up some supplies... a piece of chipboard I'd saved from a package I got in the mail at some point (you can use bookboard or cardboard too,) stencils, gesso, paint, stamps, and ink.

Getting started on the book, I used my gesso, ink, stamps, and a few 4x4 stencils (Mini Tower Stairs Stencil by Mary Beth Shaw and Journal Texture #8 by Pam Carriker.) to create the background. Then I used the Dragon Stencil by Mary Beth Shaw to create the main "shape" for my book.

This stencil is great for this because it actually works as a mask, so you can see the layers underneath through the body of the dragon. I love the effect! Then I went through with my trusty Liquid Pearls to do a little outlining and detailing in preparation for the next step.

Next, time to turn this into a set of book covers. With a little measuring and some slightly tough cutting, it was finally starting to look like a bit more like book in the making!

Then I did the back side of both covers using some paint and the Flower Tiles stencil by Mary Beth Shaw.

For the binding, I challenged myself to learn coptic binding (or more accurately re-learn it, although it had been so many years since I did it last that I'm not sure it actually counts!) I found a coptic binding tutorial on Pinterest that I followed - it goes through creating the template and doing the stitching and I found that it worked pretty well (although, if you're a lefty like me, you'll probably have to flip some of the directions to do them the opposite way. But it's not too hard to figure out.)

And voila!  A stenciled, shaped, coptic-bound book. 

I really love how this turned out... so much that I've since made two more from different stencils with different themes. I love how this gives you the ability to turn stencils that at first glance might seem to have limited use into really unique handmade books... they work as notebooks, sketchbooks, mini scrapbooks, or art journals... whatever you want!

I hope you enjoyed today's project, and if you happen to be in the New England area, I'm going to be making this book (with two other options, all made from StencilGirl stencils) as one of three stencil classes I'm teaching in Westbrook, Connecticut October 17th-18th. If you're interested, keep an eye out on my blog for details!

Until next time,
Gwen Lafleur

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

StencilGirl Guest Designer Rae Missigman


I was so excited when StencilGirl asked me to come back and do a few more projects using their awesome stencils! They have so many great stencils that it was really hard to choose just a few to work with, but I think you are going to love these latest three.

Don't these just look so yummy? I LOVE the way stencils look once they are broken in. Sometimes I hate to use them again because they look so good! For my first project I used the STRAIGHT STEMS STENCIL. I painted over fabric, added trim and details and stitched up a giant art pocket. I love it. And it is a great way to take your travel art supplies with you when you go. I load it up and keep it on hand all the time! 
The best part is, I can toss a pillow form in and it is transformed into a beautiful and artsy pillow! 

 How super cool is that?  I love this stencil for all the potential it has. I could see adding to this when I used it on a journal page, making each leaf a word or detailed doodle. 

For my next project I used the super cool SCRIBBLE SCRATCH HANDWRITING stencil. This might be my favorite.. For those of you who know and follow me you know I am always scribbling on everything, so I just fell in love with this stencil! I sketched and painted a small canvas as I normally would, adding layers as I went. When I liked what was forming, I added one last layer of white paint over the stencil bringing out the under colors in the process. Love it!

For my last project I chose to create a journal page. I use my journal daily and lots of stencils go into creating these pages, so this was the perfect substrate for using the CIRCLES CIRCLES stencil. I am a circle girl anyway. Circles and triangles. They are my go to shapes. I started by painting a dark purple paint over the stencil using a bristled brush. I like the rough look it left behind, giving my first layer some tooth. From there I just do what I do- add layer after layer. I added lots of color using both paint and inks moving it around and over the stenciled paint. Once dry I added lots of marks and journaling with pens, pencils and paint pens. I really love this look and see this stencil getting a lot of use. 
Now do you see why it was so hard to choose? 

Supplies Used: Canvas Material, Hand Dyed Muslin and RIbbons, White Gloss Paint Zipper, Sewing Machine, Thread, Straight Stems Stencil,  Golden Fluorescent Paints in PinkOrange, and Craft paints in BlueSky and Meadowlark and Carrot.

8 x 10 Canvas, SCRIBBLE SCRATCH HANDWRITING stencil, white gel pensketching pencilthese paint pens, Golden Fluorescents in RedPinkGreen and ChartreuseRed Ink, Assorted craft paints.

This art journal, CIRCLES CIRCLES stencil, Golden Paints in MagentaTealYellow and Green Gold, and OrangeWhite PaintInk joy penwhite gel pen, this set of paint pens, Golden Fluorescent GreenSketching Pencil and a paintbrush. 

Rae is a self taught mixed media artist, who loves to create, blog and instruct. She has a passion for re-purposing found items and turning them into something beautiful. Her mission- to integrate up-cycled tidbits of everyday life into her art, has inspired her to approach creating in a whole new light, sending her on scavenger hunts of the largest kind in search of new materials.
Rae has found a real love when it comes to combining paint, textiles, and paper- something that is evident in much of her art. her She has a fondness for both pattern and color, which has led her to create outside the lines, resulting in artwork that is both busy and polychromatic. When it comes to art, Rae is unable to devote herself to just one type media and is forever putting a new twist on old projects. From painted fabric to collaged canvas you will recognize her work for it’s funky feminine style and bright bold colors! Rae, a devoted mother of five, is happiest in her home based studio where she can balance both family and creating. Her work can be found in her Etsy shop, on her website, and in boutiques across the Southeast. She has been published in numerous art based publications. Rae lives in Harmony, FL with her supportive husband and five lovely children. 
To learn more, visit Rae’s Blog HERE  Interested in taking one of her workshops? Read about them HERE  For more inspiration and to see how Rae creates on the fly, you can watch her FREE 15 Minutes of Mixed Media© Video Series HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Guest Post by StencilGirl Artist Cecilia Swatton

Quick, Easy & Unique by StencilGirl Artist Cecilia Swatton

Backgrounds for art journal pages can be simple or multi-layered, as the mood strikes. This technique keeps all options open. The first part of this process creates realistic prints, but if you continue with a second (or third or fourth) series of prints, abstract patterns emerge. 

1.  Put down a paper matching the size of the stencil, then set the Plexiglas over it. Here I'm using 6"X6" light-brown cardstock as my guide-paper. 

2.  Place your Gelli Plate onto the Plexiglas, directly above that guide-paper. 

3.  Place the stencil onto the Gelli Plate, lining it up with the guide-paper under the Plexi. 

4.  As shown in the above photo, mark the top of the stencil with a dot, using a Sharpie pen. (This too is for the sake of registration.) 

5.  Lift off the inkpad lid, turn the inkpad upside down, and pounce the ink across the Gelli Plate. 

It will look as if very little ink is there -- but looks are deceiving. 

At this point, one choice is to roll a brayer across the Gelli Plate several times, to evenly spread the ink. The other option is to go ahead without using the brayer. Without the brayer, the prints will show overlapping geometric shapes -- and I like this look; I think it adds interest to the finished prints. Here's finished print created with the brayer

and another final print created without the brayer.

6.  Lift off the stencil and set it aside. Clean the stencils after finishing for the day. Distress Ink will dry quickly on non-glossy paper but, being oil-based, it will never dry on plastic stencils.

7.  Lay down a sheet of printing paper, using the paper under the Plexiglas as a guide. With a Sharpie pen, dot the top of the back of the paper to be printed. This will show which side of the pulled print is the "top," to correspond with the top-side dotted stencil.

After pulling all the prints you want, clean the Gelli Plate.You now have realistic-looking prints -- but if you want abstract images, the time has come to pull more prints, using the same sheets just printed.

8.  Start this phase of the project by placing the stencil on the Gelli Plate, turned it so that the dot-marked side (the "top") is facing a different direction -- it can be upside down, or turned 90 degrees to the left, or to the right. The goal is to have the design facing a different direction from its original placement. Here I have turned a stencil counter-clockwise from its original position.

9.  Again, apply ink with an inverted Distress Inkpad. This time, use a color that contrasts with the color of the first print. 

10.  Lift off the stencil. Then place the dotted printing paper onto the plate with its dot still facing the original "top" direction.

Pull the print -- and you'll find you've printed the second print atop the original print, but with the two imprinted designs facing different directions, in contrasting colors. The result is a variety of abstract images.

Something important to note here is that I purposely made some prints off-
register. Here is an example. 

Note the difference between The off-register print above and one below that is on register. 

The dots that make registration possible are just as useful when you want to purposely make off-register prints. Some artists may prefer on-register prints -- but I think variety is the spice of life. The above steps can be repeated endless times, layering any number of ink colors. With each color change, continue rotating the stencil. Or you can keep it simple, using your first set of prints just as they came out, without adding more layers. Here's one example of an original print. 

Another option is to paint one or more layers of translucent acrylic paints over Distress ink prints. Distress inks dry quickly on non-glossy paper and then will readily accept topcoats of acrylic paint -- as shown here.

Yet another option is to outline one of the single-print images with a Sharpie pen, a color pencil -- or acrylic paint, as I've done here. I used a fine point applicator from Cheap Joe Art Supplies.

Have fun!

As I sign off, I want to give credit where credit is due. I learned this technique from the UK's Barbara Gray. I tweaked the technique in a few 
ways all my own, but the original idea came from Barbara.