Friday, June 21, 2024

Flag Book with Kirsten Varga

Welcome to another bookmaking adventure with StencilGirl® and me, Kirsten Varga! This month I am featuring the flag book. 

The Flag Book structure was invented by book artist Hedi Kyle. The structure is an accordion-folded spine with rows of flags attached to opposite sides of each fold. It is more sculptural than other book structures and the variations are endless. (That is one thing I enjoy about book arts, the endless variations!)

This was the first type of book I ever made! Back in college my professor had our class create multiples of a business-card sized artwork and we had an art exchange with our classmates. We each created a flag book and glued all the cards inside. It is a wonderful keepsake and a showcase of all our mini artworks!

For the book I created for you I am using painted papers from my stash for the flags. I think I will later glue on quotes, poems and fortunes from fortune cookies onto them. But, please don't limit your flags to just paper! You can use wood veneer, photographs, fabric or other thin materials. 

I used stencils to decorate 140lb. watercolor paper for the spine as well as a lighter weight mixed media paper for the covers. I limited myself to a small palette of acrylic paints and layered the designs until my eyes were happy. :)

I created a tutorial video to show you all the details! Find it on the StencilGirl® YouTube channel HERE!

Happy Creating!

Find me on Instagram: @kirstenvarga

Stencils used:

Rock Wall (L897)
Grout (L898)

Other Supplies:

140lb. cold press watercolor paper
mixed media paper (maybe 98lb?)
gel medium
Yes! Paste
bone folder
craft knife and ruler
glue stick
Golden Acrylics: 
Quin/Nickel Azo Gold
Prussian Blue Hue
Sap Green Hue
Transparent Brown Iron Oxide
Burnt Umber
Titanium White

Friday, June 14, 2024

Wildflower Greeting Cards

Hello stencil friends! Nicole here with a fun tutorial. Today I'm to creating a handful of wildflower cards. I love how quick and simple it is to use a couple of stencils and some paint to make cards that definitely look like you spent a lot of time making them.

For my cards, I went with a grungier, earth tone palette. However, this design would look gorgeous in any colors. So, choose your favorites, and let’s get started!

I began by lightly gessoing some ledger paper. If you don’t have ledger paper, old book pages would be just as lovely. You could also find some ledger printables (Be careful about printer ink running; you might need to seal them.) or create your own background interest with stamps.

To lightly gesso, I simply plopped a few drops of gesso on the page, sprayed with water, and quickly spread it all around with a brush. This does a couple of things. First, it adds a little more integrity to the pages. And second, it seals them just a bit for all the layers I’m about to add. 

Once that gesso was dry, I added some sepia colored India ink. I concentrated the ink on the edges of the paper where I planned to cut the card fronts. This process is a lot of fun. Simply water down the ink, spread, spray with water, splatter, and add more as needed. (You can watch my process in the video below!)

It does take a bit for the ink to dry, but don’t rush that process too much with a hairdryer. The ink will pool and puddle to create nice effects on your papers as it dries.

Some of my papers weren’t dark enough, so once they dried I added a bit more ink in places and more splatters.

Next, I grabbed the floral waterfall stencil to add a bit more texture to the background. I had two ideas for this, so I tried them both!

For my first idea, I used an applicator and some titan green pale acrylic paint on a few papers.

For my second idea, I used some parchment spray paint.

For both applications, I mainly stenciled on the sepia ink areas. I wanted the stenciling to be on the edges of the card fronts as to not interfere too much with the wildflowers. Both ideas worked great, and honestly, I like them both! Spray painting might win out just because it was a little faster. I did miss some of the green color in the spray-painted ones, so I added some green splatters and even stenciled a couple green florals here and there on those as well.


After the stenciling and spray-painting were dry, I cut out my card fronts. Since my cards are 4.25 inches wide and 5.50 tall, I cut the card fronts .25 smaller (4 by 5.25). 

At this point, my pages were feeling a little chalky from the gesso, ink and spray paint. I decided to add a nice layer of matte medium on top to smooth out that feeling and seal the pages even more for my next step.

Once they dried, it was time to add the wildflowers! I grabbed the wildflowers and grasses stencil and my Payne’s gray paint to begin. For each card front, I positioned the stencil how I felt it looked best with the background layers. 

I gently used the applicator through the stencil to add the flowers. This is a simple process, but let me to share a couple helpful tips that might make it even easier. 

Don’t load too much paint on your applicator. Then, as you stencil, hold the stencil tightly to the back paper and use the applicator gently. I often work in small circles, and sometimes I pounce to get more paint in spaces. Most importantly, if the foam part of your applicator gets too messy or wet, get a new one!  I always throw my used ones in my paint water so they don't dry out, and I wash them with my brushes.

When you think you’re finished, lift the stencil partly and check! You can lay it back down and stencil more as needed.

Before the wildflowers completely dried, I added some watered-down Payne’s gray paint and messed up some of the stenciling. I like how this adds imperfection. It also helps disguise any problem areas!

The final step is to stick your card fronts to some colored cardstock, and you’re finished! I like to make several cards at once so I always have cards on hand. It’s easier to make 12 at one time, than one or two here and there.


To watch my process, check out this video.

I hope this inspires you to make some cards. I can’t to see what colors you choose.

Thanks for following along!


Connect with me on


  • Vintage paper (ledger, book or a printable)
  • Bombay India Ink (sepia)
  • Golden So Flat Acrylic Paint (Payne's gray, titan green pale)
  • Spray Paint (parchment)
  • Applicator
  • Gesso
  • Cardstock
  • Tape-runner adhesive
  • Matte Medium

Friday, June 7, 2024

Guest Designer Frieda Oxenham

A big clear up is happening in my studio at the moment,  and I’m discovering lots of things I had long forgotten. One of these were 5 left over 5 x 7” watercolor cards, cold pressed, by Strathmore and they seemed very suited to my June Project.

Here is the tutorial:

1.     Using a 5 x 7” gelli plate, brayer on 3 colours of acrylic paint in horizontal layers and take a print. Do this for every card. Clean your gelli plate and brayer on a sheet of copy paper after every colour change.

2.     Using the 5 x 7” gelli plate, brayer on transparent gold acrylic paint and take prints of the entire plate on all the cards.

3.     Again using the 5 x 7 gelli plate, brayer on a small horizontal layer of paint in different colours for each card and including black and white. Put a stencil on top and take a print on selected areas of your cards. Then remove the stencil and take another print on the left over paint on another card. I used stencils S898 Abstract Water Surface, S423 Grindstones C small and the medium stencil of the December 2017 StencilClub. Again use the copy paper sheet from step 1 to clean plate and brayer.

4.     Stencil partial text to the cards using blue acrylic paint, a cosmetic wedge and stencils L827 Emotions and Feelings 1 and L318 Wall of Words.

5.     Using the sheet used for cleanup in step 1 and 3 together with stencil L583 Figments of Imagination, outline some of the figures onto the sheet with pencil and cut out.

6.     Mark out outlines from stencil L888 Mid Century Modern Circle Patterns using a pencil and paint them using permanent paint markers.

7.     Glue on the figures cut out in step 5 onto the cards.

8.     Outline the figures with a white permanent marker and the circle patterns with gelli pens. 

9.     Glue on transparent tissue paper fragments (mine are by Tim Holtz). 

10.  Using the same stencil as in step 5 to mask the area around the figures, put stencil S423 on top of the figures and spray through the stencil with a blue sparkling spray paint (I used Perfect Pearl Mist). 

11.  Drip down silver pearlescent acrylic ink onto the cards. 

12.  Glue on text (from magazine) and outline it with a black Stabilo All pencil

13.  Edge the cards with a permanent black inkpad.

Frieda Oxenham © 2024

Friday, May 31, 2024

UpCycled Lamp Base with Jane Bellante

Hello friends!  Jane Bellante back with you this month with an up-cycled creation I really love! 

I just got the L652 Garden Montage stencil from designer Cecelia Swatton and I instantly knew that I wanted to use it on this project.

This is the lamp that I use to record all of my video content.  It's been banged around and it is well used.  But it just doesn't lend itself to the beauty that is my studio, my sanctuary, my flow. 

So, I cleaned up the drips of paint and resin on this base and got started.

I ended up painting 5 coats of the Daydream Apothecary White Base to start with.  I wanted to use this particular paint because it is a chalk paint/clay paint combination and it really sticks to most surfaces easily.  Think of it as the gesso of home decor products.  I'm starting with a blank slate.

Then I grabbed a pile of RoyCycled Decoupage papers because one- it's 20 lb tissue which is so easy to work with, and two- because she has so many gorgeous designs to work with.  

I absolutely love my gloss sprays, so I selected some of my favorite colors.  I ended up only using the Blackberry and the Fuscia.

I placed the stencil on the base to see which part of the design I could position to be my favorite.  Now- that being said, I had to actually use this lamp to film the video, so I had to get creative. 

I knew I was just going to have to hold down the stencil in each of the areas so I could get the look I was going for. 

I used a make up sponge to apply the gloss spray, and just switched back and forth between the Blackberry and the Fuchsia sprays.  Because the stencil was not flat in all of the places, spraying the sprays through the stencil would have been a disaster.  This worked so great.

Then, I grabbed the portion of the RyCycled tissue paper that I wanted to use, tore it out to fit, and used a soft matte gel to adhere the tissue.  

I wanted the white of the background to be a little more cohesive, so I took my Distress Ink pad in Antique Linen and applied it all over the white areas in the stenciled area.

Loving how it's was looking, but I needed something else to balance out this composition.  So I grabbed the L827 Emotions and Feelings 1 from Carolyn Dube and instantly the word "worthy" popped out at me.  As artists and creators we tend to struggle with these feelings of imposter syndrome, and abundance in general (and social media does not help with that at all- hello comparison....).  So I knew this would be an amazing daily reminder to me that i am worthy to create whatever I want to create, whenever I want to create it.

I used a black permanent ink to stencil with so I would show through, but also bring together the black lines in the paper with the brightness of the stenciled area.

Then I finished the sides with the Garden Montage Stencil, repeating the process with the gloss sprays and the Antique Linen Distress Ink.

I absolutely love this result, and now I feel like I need to paint the whole lamp (hee hee), but this will do for now.  A quick project that makes my studio a little more colorful and a lot more inspiring.

If you like to watch videos, here is the step by step video tutorial:

Supplies used:

RoyCycled Decoupage Paper

Daydream Apothecary White Base Paint

Distress Ink pad in Antique Linen

Soft Matte Gel

Black Permanent Ink Pad

I truly hope you enjoyed this tutorial and that it inspires you to up-cycle something in your creative space so that it looks and feels more like you.

You can find me at and @janebellanteart on all social media platforms.

Have a great day!!