Friday, May 20, 2016

Carol Wiebe: Stenciling Doors and Hats!

The Evolving Door

Let me tell you my modus operandi anyway, plus reveal just how far I got on my insane project, which I have dubbed “The Evolving Door.”

I stenciled with black paint onto copy paper:

I scanned the results and made different collage papers out of them in Photoshop Elements; I needed a LOT of papers, so this was a good way to go. I could also reverse my results, so that I had different choices for collaging onto the door:

I cut up my printouts, and my stenciled paper, into workable collage pieces.

The doors purchased for the bathroom are simple sliding doors and were already painted with an undercoat. This saved me the step of having to gesso them. My husband, Ted, set up saw horses and boards to place the door onto.

Using a soft gel medium, I added my collage pieces all over the door. It helps to give yourself a few parallel lines, drawn with a ruler, to keep the collage pieces relatively straight.

When these were dry, I painted fluid gel matte medium all over the door. This gives enough tooth that I could now either stencil directly onto spaces that were too open, or use a pencil to create connections between the different machine parts on the door.

I liked the variable nature of the different sections of collage (some dark black, some white, some more grey (especially those I printed out). However, I wanted to unify everything, so I “watered down” gesso with fluid matte medium and applied a thin coat all over the door.
Alas, afterwards I considered the door too veiled for my liking — I wanted a more graphic look. Start over? Retrace all those lines?

This stalled me for quite a time. I wasn’t sure how to move forward. As the door kept evolving (and revolving) in my mind, I had to assess my own nature, my strengths, aesthetic, and goal for the project. Making accurate, perfectly straight diagrams is not my forte. Luckily, I love a slightly looser style that translates as more spontaneous and hand drawn. I decided that was how the door needed to proceed. Proceed I did.

I started using my favorite little squeeze bottles with metal tips to draw, and a paintbrush to fill in bigger places. I also started creating lines all over the large paint areas so they would have lots of tooth when I was ready to grunge up the door at the end.

When all the machinations marks are complete, I will give it a few more coats of a clear matte medium, let that thoroughly dry, and then grunge everything up a bit. Fling some black drops of paint. Blot paint with a sponge and dab it back with paper towel. I am not at that stage yet, but I am excited about what I have done so far. I know it will fit in beautifully into my black, white and grey bathroom.

Here're a pic of where the door is at now. I am close to half done, and fully committed to finishing it as soon as possible! Those visible open shelves in the bathroom are spurring me on.

P.S. I am debating how to proceed with my 2nd door. Once again, I need to find a happy balance between my original “vision” for the door, and my own abilities and proclivities. I may do a giant black and white checkerboard on the 2nd door, and only put machination stencil marks onto the white, using black paint. I think that would look very good with the other door, and be a LOT less labor intensive.

Throwing My Hat In the Ring

I am celebrating my “willingness to take up the challenge” of the evolving door project by adding one more project into the mix. THE EVOLVING DOOR sits in my studio, and every time I have done a bit more, I must wait for things to dry. Numerous smearing due to an ill advised resting of the palm of my hand has taught me this. So, in the meantime, I worked on this hat.

I started with a hat from a local dollar store and a few tools:

I painted the entire hat with white acrylic paint. The best kind to use is fabric paint.

Just as I did with the door, I stenciled with black paint onto copy paper, scanned the results and made different collage papers out of them in Photoshop Elements. This time, I reduced the size so I would have smaller elements to work with. The secret to success on collaging a hat like this is to use lots of smaller elements—if they are too large, they will not conform to the contours of the hat. Creases and other problems will result.

I used acrylic matte medium, applied to the hat and the paper pieces, to glue them in place on the hat.

It helps to press as you work, making sure the edges of the collage elements all stick well to the hat. These can be further checked when dry, and more matte medium can be added at that time to secure any edges that stick up a bit.

Here is the painted hat with a few college elements added.

After gluing all the elements in place, I added lines here and there to connect them. What did I use for this: my trusty squeeze bottle with metal tip, of course.

The finished hat!

Let me know if you make a stenciled hat of your own! I would love to see it.
Carol Wiebe


  1. Carol, I love these projects and love "your story". Always inspired.

    1. Lisa, it is so much fun to tell the story! Thank you.

  2. Carol, I love these projects and love "your story". Always inspired.

  3. What wonderful ideas! I love how both projects turned out!

    1. The hat was fun, and quite addictive. Playing with dollar store hats and stencils is SO much fun. The door is still evolving, lol. Thanks for the comment, Cecilia!

  4. wow.. these are fantastic!!! just so impressed and amazed..

  5. Replies
    1. I can hardly wait to get it in place in my bathroom--every day I get more done on it! THanks for the encouragement, Stephanie!


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