Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Stencil It! Wear It! From Trash to Treasure Cuff with Claudia Neubacher

Hi and servus! Claudia here and I am so excited to share with you my first project as a regular member of the StencilGirl® Creative Team! ( I so hope you will like what I have created for you!!!)

I recently found that some of my older kitchen towels didn't look too appetizing anymore. They once had a lovely natural beige color but had started to nastily yellow (obviously having moved to the far back of the kitchen drawer and therefore been forgotten for a long long time). They definitely didn't look good enough anymore to be hung up in my kitchen, but I thought they would make perfect fabric cuffs once they would be covered with yummy layers of stencilled on acrylic paint! 

Here are the stencils I used:
I have also done a short video in which I show the stencils that I have used and talk a bit about the fabric painting medium as well. You will find it at the end of the post.

This is how my favourite cuff looks when being worn: 

But instead of showing off let me take you through the process!

I started with one of my favorite things to do: select the stencils and paints I wanted to use for my cuffs! (of course I had put the towels into the washing machine before I used them to create my cuffs). I used DecoArt media fluid acrylic paints and Americana Fabric Painting Medium.

My wrist was measured to find the right length for the cuffs and I added an overlap of about two to three centimetres (which would be a bit more than an inch). I needed the overlap to sew on any buttons or other closures.

I roughly marked the space I needed for about three to four cuffs using a pencil and a ruler.

To turn my fluid acrylic paints into fabric paints I added some Fabric Painting Medium (according to the instructions given on the bottle). This way I made sure the paint would adhere well to the fabric and that the cuffs were also washable if necessary. I mixed the medium and the paints directly on my palette sheet with a palette knife.

Then, I started with the first layers of paint and worked my way from left to right (and sometimes back to the left again). I didn't pay too much attention to divide properly between the single cuffs' areas as I hoped that overlaps of patterns and colors from neighboring cuffs would add some beautiful randomness to the designs (which I think they actually did).

I used a cosmetic sponge to apply the paints through the stencils. I worked on all three cuff designs simultaneously - letting the patterns and colours take the lead and moving back and forth, adding layer over layer.

The final layers though, like the text on the left cuff or the skyline on the right cuff, were done with the finished design of the cuffs in mind and therefore put in the exact spots where I wanted them to be.

For additional texture I loaded a sewing wheel with black paint and added some dotted lines here and there.

Then, it was time to cut the fabric into strips to finally form the cuffs. I frayed the fabric edges before I continued. 

To tone down the cuff with the beautiful numbers, I mixed my own walnut ink mist and sprayed it on. As the walnut ink stays reactive to moisture, I sprayed on a matte acrylic sealant after the ink had dried (and after I had added some doodling with a white gel pen - which will be shown a bit later).

I mixed some white Gesso with the fabric painting medium and randomly scraped it on the other two cuffs.

Using a black fabric marker and a white gel pen, I added a bit of doodling and outlining here and there. The white gel pen stays water soluble, so that needed to be sealed as well.

Then, it was time to get out my sewing machine and add some stitching around the edges (to prevent the cuffs from further fraying) and also across the whole cuffs to create additional patterns and texture.

I rummaged through my stash of vintage buttons, beads and press buttons to find the matching closures and adornments for each design...

...and also added some hand stitched marks (using a six strand embroidery yarn in a rusty colour). 

Everything was sewn on by hand. Only the button holes were done using the sewing machine again. 

I hope you like my little cuffs collection as much as I do! These were such great fun to make and I will definitely have to do more (to give away as presents to dear friends and loved ones).  

I would also like to share some close ups of the focal pieces I have added: 

(a little Chinese fish bead)

(a vintage button from the sewing chest 
of my husband's granny)

(a large metal jeans button from my stash)

And here's the video I talked about earlier in this post. It is my very first and I am still on a learning curve with this (as you will undoubtedly notice). 

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you have enjoyed your visit! 
Happy stenciling!


  1. A fabulous way to use the stencils. Love them and the colours. Tracy ❤️😘

  2. Fabulous tutorial! Definitely going to try and those stencils are amazing! I need some!!!

    1. So happy you like my cuffs and the tutorial, Juli! Thank you! xxx

  3. I love the bracelets! Thank you!

  4. Great tutorial, Claudia! So many wonderful layers made three beautiful bracelets! One question: Are the bracelets only one layer of cloth?

    1. Yes, Terry. It's just one layer and you can see the stitching on the back.But you could also add another layer of fabric to cover up the sewing and stitching and just have the seam around the cuffs' edges. I didn't add another layer of cloth because two layers tend to warp when being bent too much (as long as you cannot sew them together in bent shape already, they will always warp a little). Hope that answers your question. XXX

  5. Denise Neumark-ReimerMay 8, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    Beautiful and so well thought out - WOW, let's hear it for dish towels.

  6. Love the cuffs, and what a great way to repurpose dish towels! Great first post and welcome to the StencilGirl team!

  7. Thank you, this is a really fun project. I love the colors and stencils you have used. So pretty.

  8. Your video is excellent Claudia (nice to hear your voice too) and your cuffs are beautiful! Anne x

  9. I really love your cuffs. Beautiful. Each so different

  10. Thanks so much for all the lovely comments, everyone! They're much appreciated!
    Claudia xxx

  11. Wow, what a creative juxtaposition of so many stencil images on the cuffs! I like what you did with the City Scape stencil along with other stencils, Claudia!

  12. These is really gorgeous Claudia! I love it!!

  13. So gorgeous and looks so comfy to wear. I think I have to give this a try! Thanks so much for inspiring!

  14. A gorgeous tutorial of outstanding cuffs, very pretty!
    Wish you a happy day!

  15. Gosh! I am so overwhelmed by the positive response to my cuffs! Thank you all so much for the lovely comments, Andrew Borloz, Cheetarah, Kim and Rike! XXX

  16. Thank you so much, Stephanie and maj.! Hugs! xxx


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