This is Heidi Smith with the StencilGirl® Creative Team sharing a stenciled paper garland for today’s blog post!
Well, I am happy to say that I just recently moved in to a new studio space and have been super excited to decorate it and try to make it my own! 🙌 That is what has inspired me this month! The StencilGirl® Creative Team challenge to “texture it or make marks on it” made me want to create some texture on my bare walls by hanging some stenciled-paper garlands and I was excited to use some of my favorite mark-making stencils to give my new studio space some much-needed personality!
My goal was to create something colorful and special... something that would make me smile when I looked at it. 😊 So that’s where my inspiration came from .. and I am quite pleased with how it turned out!!!!!
This is my supply list:
18”x24” 140lb cold press Strathmore watercolor paper
Found paper text ephemera
Acrylic gel medium
Flat Taklon brush
Golden fluid acrylics
Golden heavy body acrylics
2 1/2” circle punch
X-Acto knife with a fresh blade
Self-healing cutting mat
Heavy duty needle (mine is 3 5/8” long)
To start, I chose some cold-pressed watercolor paper so that my garland would be sturdy and last a long time. I took three large sheets of the watercolor paper to make 3 garlands. (One sheet makes about a 14-foot garland that has around 50 circles). I began by collaging some paper text ephemera onto two of the sheets. I used acrylic gel medium to apply the text papers.
After the gel medium had dried, I used Golden Fluid Acrylics to paint on some foundation color washes on both sides of my papers. I also let this dry thoroughly before moving on.
Next, I used a ruler & pencil to measure & mark 3” sections along the edge of my paper. Then I "freehand"-cut my paper into 3" wide strips. I chose to cut up my paper before stenciling because I wanted to work with smaller sections. Plus, this way the paper will feed through the circle punch a lot easier!
Finally, it’s time to break out my stencils!!! I had a wonderful time sorting through my vast collection of StencilGirl® stencils and picking out the ones that I thought would compliment (as well as contrast with) each other to make the garland dynamic! I chose stencils that had good "mark-making" qualities.
Once I'd chosen a "few" (ha!) stencils, I went ahead and used my favorite stiff stencil brushes and Golden Heavy Body Acrylics. I used a bunch of my favorite colors and applied paint to stencils in sections along my strips.
After my paint had dried, I used a 2 1/2” circle punch to cut out a TON of circles for my garland. It took a bit of muscle to punch through the thick watercolor paper, but the punch was definitely up to the task!
After I finished cutting out a total of 150(!) circles..... I played with them as if they were confetti!!!! Haha! :) I mean, how could I not?! Can you say: "giant stencil confetti?!?"
But then back to business, I needed to string up my circles, so I used an X-Acto with a fresh blade to cut out two 5-7mm (-ish) slits in each circle to allow my twine to be threaded through. (I just “eyeballed” my measurements).
Finally, it was time to string up this bad boy! I used a heavy-duty needle to thread my baker’s twine through the slits of my paper circles. I found it was helpful to tie my twine onto my needle so that it didn’t keep slipping out.
After I strung about 50 circles onto a length of about 16 feet of baker's twine, I arranged them so that there was about 1/2-3/4" between each circle (again, just "eyeballing" things) and left about a foot of twine on either end. In all, I made 3 garlands and had a blast (!) playing with them once they were finished.
I really enjoyed making this garland!!!! It was super fun! I really think I will make some more to decorate my house and also use special colors for various holidays!!! This project is super-versatile... you can try using smaller sizes of circle punches (using thinner-weight paper for smaller punches) and create any length you desire!!! There are tons-tons-TONS of StencilGirl® stencils to completely customize this project!
If you decide to make some stenciled garlands, be sure to share your pics with us! You can hashtag #stencilgirl or #stencilgirlproducts to share your creations on social media! I cant wait to see what you create!!! 😍😍😍
Heidi Smith is a mixed media artist and painter and a member of the 2019-2020 StencilGirl® Products Creative Team. You can find her work on Instagram and her newly-launched YouTube Channel.