Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Artful Celebration - Christmas Card and Bag with Claudia Neubacher

Servus, hi and thanks so much for stopping by today! I am pretty sure you are in full Christmas swing already and if you are still in search of an idea for a Christmas card or a little self-made something to give to a loved one I might have the idea for you - why not customise a bought cotton bag and turn it into a gorgeous Christmas shopping bag?! And of course - if you plan to give it away as a present - you need a matching Christmas card! 

StencilGirl® stencils used:
- Peace by Cathy Nichols
- Woodland Blackbird by Jennifer Evans

When using special tools (like stencils in this case) to create patterns or images I like to make their "presence" visible so you can tell there was a special technique or tool used to create the image you look at. On the black cotton bag and the brown kraft card, I used the lovely StencilGirl® stencils in a way that created the impression of a screen printed image (which is where stencils are a crucial part of the process...only the paints are applied differently). I think this effect looks especially good on cards or T-shirts (or black cotton bags ;) and it also gets you the most out of a single stencil (instead of just applying paint in a single layer). 

The trick to this effect is actually quite simple. But let me talk you through the process bit by bit...

When using fabric paint on T-shirts or cotton bags you have to insert some acetate or a plastic bag to prevent the backs from being stained (or glued to the front sides) by the paint that gets soaked up and seeps through during the painting process. 

I used a clear sheet protector and inserted a sheet of printer paper for better sturdiness.

My first layer was done in white using Cathy Nichols' beautiful "Peace" stencil. I used DecoArt Americana Snow White acrylic paint that I mixed with DecoArt Americana Fabric Painting Medium (two parts paint, one part medium as indicated on the label) and a stencil brush.

I made sure there was good coverage on the black fabric - so I went over most areas twice. I also dabbed the loaded brush onto a piece of paper before I applied the paint through the stencil to avoid any smudges from paint overload on the brush.

The result was a clear crisp image! Yay!

I set the cotton bag to the side to let it dry and repeated the process on my Christmas card - this time with the gorgeous Woodland Blackbird stencil designed by Jennifer Evans and pure Snow White acrylic paint of course.

I heat dried the first layer of white paint before I went in with the same stencil again - this time using DecoArt Extreme Sheen Vintage Brass acrylic paint for the bird. And here comes the essential trick to the screen print look effect: I placed the stencil on top of the white stenciled image but moved it a tiny bit to the top and to the right (not farther than a millimeter in each direction!)

Then I stippled the metallic paint on top of the white bird image using a finer stencil brush than before (so not to apply paint through the other shapes around the bird). The result is a visible white "shadow" that lets the base layer show through around some edges (depending on where you have moved the stencil).

I heat set that layer again before I went on so I would not smudge any wet paint by moving the stencil on top of it when placing it over the image again (moving it up and to the side again). Then I added some red and green in DecoArt Americana Primary Red and Plantation Pine using a very small bristle brush.

The eye and the bird's breast were painted in by hand using a detail brush.

Voilá - the finished card with the stamped on Christmas wishes.

In the meantime, the white paint on the cotton bag had dried so I could go on with applying red, gold and green paint there too. I mixed it with the Fabric Painting Medium again to make sure it would not come off during usage or machine wash.

I took a picture of the smallest bristle brush I have used for the finest details on the stencil. As you can see it is already very worn - which makes it useless for painting but perfect for applying paint through a stencil.

Some greens here, a bit of Vintage Brass paint there (mixed with the Fabric Painting medium again of course)...and not to forget about the sheet protector that is still in place inside the bag...and it started coming together really nicely and very festive I think.

For fixation I ironed the cotton bag from the back for about a minute at cotton setting once the paints had fully dried. It can now even be put in the washing machine if needed (turned inside out and at low temperature setting). 

I love this! And it didn't take long either! Next time I do this I will work on at least two bags at a time (maybe even three). This way I can put one to the side for drying and work on the other in the meantime. A quick and easy lovely little give-away, isn't it? Perfect to do some Christmas shopping!

Happy Christmas crafting!



  1. Love this project! You chose perfect stencils for this!

  2. Wonderful tutorial. I have paints, I even have a plain bag. I'd better get a stencil and try this out. Thanks so much for the idea

    1. Thank you, Darla! I am sure your bag will look beautiful! Have fun! xxx

  3. Wonderful tutorial. I have paints, I even have a plain bag. I'd better get a stencil and try this out. Thanks so much for the idea


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