Monday, February 10, 2020

Frame It + Fill It With Circles with StencilGirl® Stencils: Magic Tape

Hi there! It’s Marsha Valk, and I’m here today to share a new column with you!

For the past nine years for me, January has always started with Nathalie Kalbach’s annual online event Creative JumpStart. At first, I just followed along as a participant. Then, after a couple of years, also as a teacher.

I love it! I enjoy watching all the daily videos, and I always take away something from each of the lessons or tutorials: A new idea, a new technique, a new medium or even a new way of looking at an old supply.

This year one of my aha-moments was about borders.

Several Creative JumpStarters masked the edges of their paper with tape before they started painting with watercolour, acrylic paint and other media.

Of course, this isn’t anything new. Artists protect the border of their substrate all the time.

I had even done my share of it in the previous months when I had to work with watercolours. And, I have always liked a border around my photos, scrapbook pages and artwork.

However, each time one of the Creative JumpStart teachers removed the tape from their projects, it suddenly struck me what a vast difference the border made.

The crisp (in this case) white border made everything look so much more intentional and pulled together.

It’s like a super simple yet magical trick that makes everything look just ‘right’!

Please don’t take my word for it, though. Watch me create a mixed media page from start to finish to see it for yourself:

As said, I have always had a preference for borders around my artwork. And, I wonder if it’s because of my art teacher in high school.

Whenever we started to work on a new drawing, he insisted we’d prep the paper by drafting a box on it.

The lines of the rectangle had to be between 0.5 and 1 cm inside the edge of the paper. Whatever we wanted to draw went in the frame. The only things allowed outside the lines were our name, class number and occasionally a title.

I cannot remember if he ever explained why.

Did he just like all of the students work to have a uniform border? Or was it a way to force us to think about the composition and to make sure we’d fill the frame from the get-go?

If it was the latter, then I think it worked. Because I certainly know how to fill the frame and after all these years I still love that white border!

Until next time!

Marsha Valk

Stencils used in the video:
Stitch a Doily Stencil by Maria McGuire
Complementary Stencil by Pam Carriker
Sun & Moon Stencil by Cathy Nichols
Merry Go Round Stencil by Terri Stegmiller
Teardrop Doily Stencil by Maria McGuire
Central Ave Stencil by Nathalie Kalbach
Brick Factory Stencil by Daniella Woolf


  1. How fun!! love this and I agree the white frame really does work well!

  2. i love that grid washi tape, what is it called?


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