Thursday, November 16, 2017

Deconstructed Stencils

Hi, everyone! Darlene Olivia McElroy here!

I like to deconstruct my stencils so they don’t look store bought. I make my stencils directly on my polypropylene plastic covered work table but you can also work on plastic sandwich bags. Once my stenciled shapes have dried, I can take apart the shapes to rearrange and place in a new arrangement.
Here are my top three favorite ways to do these.
Paint Skins - I created Spring Awakening using the Butterfly Journeys stencil. I wanted my butterflies to have a roughly painted look so using my palette knife, I grabbed both the Titan Buff and teal acrylic paint.
Both colors are applied haphazardly together.
The paint was allowed to dry overnight once the stencil was removed. I do this at night so I can start painting as soon as I have my morning coffee. After I gently remove the shapes, I may turn them over reverse side of the plastic has air contact making it less sticky. The beauty of this technique is that you can use either side of the skin in your art. You can cut the shapes later if you don’t like this look or apply gel to the stencil before the paint for crisp shapes. When you are ready, apply shapes to art surface with soft gel.
Molding Paste - First I apply a small amount of acrylic paint to the paste and mix them together well. It doesn’t take much paint for this. Then I lay my Mandala #1 stencil over a sheet of polypropylene plastic and spread the molding paste over it. I remove the stencil and let the paste dry overnight.
I peel shapes off the plastic when dry.
Place the pieces between sheets of wax paper if they will be used at a later date. 
Another option is to create this process over a rubber stamp, textured silicone or texture plate to add a design to the stencil. I used the Marrakech Mix stencil for this project.
Once they dry, I peel them off the background and use the reverse side which has the pattern.
I will loosely rearrange the pieces until they work for me on my art.
At this point I glue them down with the soft gel. When dry, I applied a dirty wash (dirty paint water) to the molding paste to enhance the texture and color it to work with my painting.
Note: If you are unsure of your casting surface,
spray PAM on it as a mold release before applying molding paste or paint.

Have fun playing with deconstructed stencils.


  1. Beautiful work of art! Thanks for sharing

  2. Darlene, such a beautiful piece. Thank you for sharing your tecniques

  3. Who'd of thunk it! Paint skins. All very cool ideas to vary the look. I LOVE your piece - just so majestic! ~ Rachel Bell

  4. Love funding out about new techniques and these are definitely keepers. Thank you for the post, and your art is beautiful..

  5. What clever ideas! Thanks for sharing.


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