Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jo Firth-Young: Upcycled Bag with StencilGirl Stencils

Hi everyone, Jo Firth-Young here with you today – I’ve long been a fan of StencilGirl Products so am really pleased to share a project with you. I’ve used a few of my all-time-favorite StencilGirl stencils and masks – and we all have those don’t we?! Stencils that we reach for time and again, and never tire of.

The stencils I chose are:

My project uses a bag from a trade show earlier in the year. It’s made from a woven nylon fabric covered in kraft paper (if you’ve come across my work before you’ll know how much I love kraft!)... I knew it would be great to work on – the nylon weave gives the paper enough strength and structure to take paint. Here’s the bag before...

My plan for this upcycle was to cover the company name and most of the surrounding motifs while still retaining some of the original bag design and color.

Here’s how I upcycled the bag.
I painted the center of the bag with black gesso, leaving the edges rough. I then used the Marrakech Mix stencil to add motifs in black coming off the edges of the black paint.
I stenciled more of the Marrakech motifs across the bag shading from black to various shades of grey. All the paints I’ve used are Fresco Finish by PaperArtsy (Snowflake, Concrete & Bougainvillea). I achieved the blend by applying the paint with a brush rather than a sponge.
I used the Illegible stencil to add randomly placed writing (in Snowflake white paint), overlapping the Marrakech motifs in places.
Now to add the flowers. I wanted to use a quite vibrant color for these to contrast against the blacks and greys, and the color I chose was Bougainvillea from the PaperArtsy Fresco Finish range of paints. I adore this color, but as it is a semi-opaque paint I needed to add an opaque base color to block out the black and give the color maximum pop!

I laid down the stencil element of the Deconstructed Cluster of Lilies and painted white onto the surface of the bag.
When that was dry I laid the stencil over that layer and added a layer of Bougainvillia... LUSH!
I laid the stencil in place once more and laid the mask element inside taping it in place; this would protect the Bougainvillia from the next step.
I painted over the top with black gesso, here’s the result. I really like how the effect is that of a stencil rather than a mask.
I used the same process to add a single flower in the diagonally opposite corner.
The finishing touches were buttons sewn onto the center of the larger flowers and self-adhesive gems added to the smaller ones. I also decided the bag needed more words so I placed the Illegible stencil over the existing stenciling and added one or two more lines of text, fading them out to the edges of the bag.
This bag will definitely be coming with me on my next creative outing!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my project and it inspires you to upcycle bags.. or folders.. or boxes.. or clothes! Whatever sparks your imagination!

PS If you’d like to see more of what I do you can find me in the following places:
Instagram: @jofyjo
Facebook:  JoFY.JoFirthYoung
Twitter: @jofyjo


  1. Jo, this is stunning! what a makeover you've given the bag.

  2. It's simply fab - lovely images beautifully showcased


  3. How clever and effective are those flowers! Lovely project.x

  4. So creative. Love the colours and the stencil/mask technique in the vibrant colour is so effective x


If you are entering a GIVEAWAY, please add your email address in the event we need to contact you.

To avoid SPAM, please write it like this:

marybeth (at) stencilgirltalk (dot com)

Thank You!