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!



  1. Fabulous tutorial! Thanks for this great post.

  2. Wow, Gwen, what a stunning tutorial, I just love this project!! Your color choices are gorgeous too :)

  3. Great project. Love all the pictures. Thanks for sharing. Gives me great ideas.

  4. fab! can't wait to try this technique

  5. I love this idea! I'll be trying it next month when I have some free time! Thanks for showing us how you did it.

  6. What a great idea! Thanks for showing the process.

  7. Thanks everyone! So glad you liked it :)

  8. Lovely tutorial--this looks so very rich and regal. Thanks!

  9. Oooh, I love this Gwen - thanks for sharing it with us.

  10. Gorgeous! There is something relaxing about doing reverse painting of the negative spaces... :)

  11. Wow this is an amazing tutorial and technique!! Love it!!

  12. Magnifique ! je ne connais pas ces stylos. Bine le bonjour de la Provence.


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