Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Sketchbook Project with StencilGirl Stencils!

 Hi, everyone! Frieda Oxenham here today. In this project I’m showing you how I used StencilGirl stencils to make my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project. For those of you unaware of this project, the idea is that you buy one of their empty sketchbooks, select a theme and fill it however you want and return it to them. They will also digitize your sketchbook if you pay for that option. Your sketchbook itself becomes part of the Brooklyn Art Library and goes on tour to various venues. I selected the theme Design Patterns for this particular sketchbook. You can see my previous sketchbooks and read more about the project itself at The sketchbook they use is sized 5 x 7”.

Here is what I did with mine:
1.       Undo the sketchbook so that you are left with the cover and the loose pages (8 double pages).

2.       Using the 8 x 10” Gelli plate with 2 different colors each time as well as a wide variety of stencils add paint to the pages. I used the original plate with stencil for one side of a page, and the plate with the stencil removed for another side. In the process I also made lots of collage materials with the left over paints on the plate which is always a bonus. Let the pages dry really well after each pull.

3.       Using just one color do the same for all the pages on top of the precious painting layer, again using both the positive and negative pulls.
I used the following stencils for these steps but you can use whatever StencilGirl stencils you have. Here is my list: Large stencil from November 2014 StencilClub, Garden Dreams, Loopy Ladders, Clustered Leaves, Stripes and Alternating Circles.

4.       Now stencil all over the resulting pages with an all over pattern using the large and medium stencil from April 2016 StencilClub, as well as Inky Circles stencil. I used white, black and pink paint for this step.

5.       Stencil on a focal point onto your pages after you have decided in which order you want to have them in your sketchbook. On some pages I placed the focal point in the middle, on others in the corners and on others still on all those places. I used the following stencils for this step: Stylized Fireworks. Ornamental Petals, Merry Go Round, Mandala #6, the smallest stencils from the April 2016 and June 2014 StencilClub as well as Bali Doily.

6.       Outline the patterns using black, white and colored markers.

7.       Take the cover of your sketchbook and black gesso both sides of it.
8.       Stencil on a focal point using Mandala #6 and Wendy Vecchi Gold Embossing Paste. I outlined with a white marker and gave my sketchbook the title: Pattern Play.

9.       Put the pages back into the sketchbook cover in the order you selected in step 5 and sew them in down the middle of the center pages. I used black thread and the very longest stitch length your sewing machine offers.

10.   Reinforce the stitching with fabric tape on the outside of the journal.

11.   Glue on suitable quotations and words as well as postage stamps to the spreads.

(C) Frieda Oxenham 2016. To see more of Frieda's work, please visit her BLOG.


  1. I did that project one year. I hated sending to them! But I am glad I participated.

  2. Frieda, your layer-printed papers are gorgeously complex and compelling! May I have your permission to post two of your photos on my blog -- ones where you've used two of my stencils? Giving you full credit, of course. And thanks for choosing to include my stencils with these other stencils -- fabulous designs, each and every one!!!

  3. Did you paint the back side of each sheet also? I may have missed something in the explanation of your process

  4. What a treasure of a sketchbook Frieda!

  5. I too have participated in this project in the past, making nothing as brilliant as this, and getting worried about customs etc, ie if I add a metal shape....... Love that this is paint speaking for itself.


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