Thursday, December 21, 2017

Le Quatrième Jour de Noel: A Christmas Infinity Flip

Le Quatrième Jour de Noel : A Christmas Infinity Flip
By Jill McDowell

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everybody! I’m so excited have this opportunity to be on StencilGirl Talk today to share a special holiday Infinity Flip with you.

I just can’t seem to get The Twelve Days of Christmas out of my head. I took that as a sign and used it as inspiration to make a Christmas Infinity Flip. Then I ended up having so much fun decking out one of the French birds with a Damask StencilGut that I decided to push the theme one step farther and added the names of the four gifts in French. (And while I’d have really liked to impress you with my knowledge of the French language, I used a translation posted on the web by Gruff Davies.)

Le quatrième jour de Noel, mon amour ma donnè
 quatres merles,
trois faverolles,
deux tourterelles,
et une perdrix dans une poirier.

Today, December 21, 2017 is also Winter Solstice, or Yule. So I couldn't help but include a nod to the longest night of the year in one of the panels. Can you find it?

I’m sharing the techniques I used to decorate the first panel of my Infinity Flip, “Quatres Merles” (aka Four Calling Birds) in this post. (If you're interested in learning how to construct the base of an Infinity Flip, I’ve written a companion tutorial on my blog here.)
I started by arranging the large and the small tree masks from the Christmas #1 stencil by June Pfaff Daley on a 5” square piece of 90#, gessoed mixed media paper. Then I sponged light blue acrylic paint around the masks to fill in the background.

I let it dry and then replaced the tree masks with the tree stencils and pounced dark green acrylic paint through the stencil with a makeup sponge. Next I arranged the large tree mask towards the outside edge of the tree on a slight angle and gently wiped upwards using an almost dry makeup sponge and acrylic paint in hues of greens and blues. I worked from the outside of each tree into the middle, continually moving the mask to create branches here and there.

I put the stencil back in place and darkened up the edge of the branches with the darkest green paint.

I used the masks again to protect the trees while I stenciled a holly border along the top. I painted the holly leaves gold and added a splash of color on the trees with dots of red, white, and gold applied with the with the tip of my paint brush.

Time to add my birds…. I applied gesso with a makeup sponge through the Tall Birds stencil. I’m a sucker for patterns and decided at the last minute to add some in the background. So, back on went the protective tree masks while I added some whimsical designs from the 6 Point Starry Night Stencil with a makeup sponge and gesso. (In retrospect, I should have done this step before stenciling in the trees, but no worries; as my Mom used to say. “It all comes out in the wash”.) Then I painted out my birds in red and I used a star pattern from the 6 Point Starry Night stencil as feathers.

I fashioned hats and scarves for my four feathered friends from tiny pieces of vintage wallpaper scraps and then glued them on with matte medium. And then finally, I added the French text with a marker and used a Wink of Stella Brush for gold sparkle followed by a few coats of Satin Glazing Liquid. The glazing liquid adds both depth and protection since it will be handled frequently.

I used similar techniques to decorate the other three panels. Here are some closeup of the final pieces:

And here is a list of the StencilGirl Stencils that I used with links:

Quatres Merles
            Tall Birds
            6 Point Starry Night Stencil

            Trois Faveroles
            On The Farm
            Art Deco Borders
            Damask StencilGut (Available from time to time)

            Deux Tarterelles
            Christmas #1
            Feeling Groovy 4" x 4"
            ATC Mixup #2
            Art Deco Borders

            Une Perdrix Dans un Poirier
            Peacock 6" x 6"
            Windswept Tree
            Winter Solstice 6" x 6"

Happy Holidays, Everyone! Stop by my blog anytime to visit!


  1. Jill, I just love this!!! Made me instantly think MB Shaw's Stencilclub set, June 2016... I think that's the month,anyways the birds would be awesome for this too.
    Now I want to make one! Love your idea.

  2. WOWZERS!!!!! Totally AMAZING!!!!!!

  3. Thanks for reminding us about these Infinity Flip, Jill. I have to make one. They are so seriously cool, kind of like a little album and a puzzle all in one!

  4. Wonderfully creative and beautifully designed and executed!


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