Thursday, July 30, 2020

Stencil Paper-Cadabra by Cathy Nichols

I love using interesting collage papers for my artwork, and one of my favorite ways to do this is with my StencilGirl stencils! The beautiful thing about making your own paper for backgrounds is that you can then cut and tear the papers to make even more designs.  While you can go as wild with color as you’d like, I find it helps me to keep my colors in the same range for each design. This makes it easier to integrate the collage papers into larger works.

Gather a few pieces of colored construction paper for your first layer.  Then choose mark-making tools like paint, gelatos, caran d’ache crayons and paint pens in matching colors.
For the green piece, I began by layering mint green over my Tree of Change stencil and enhanced it with some darker green gelato marks.
Then I added a bold kilim pattern in mint from my Kilim Patterns stencil.
I mixed and matched patterns from the Kilim Patterns stencil with my own markings and even bright turquoise finger prints.
For contrast, I chose a pale peach piece of construction paper for my next stenciled motif. This time I layered both  more Kilim Patterns and designs from my Boho Patterns stencil. I love using the Kilim and Boho patterns together because the themes resonate nicely!
The big Kilim design looks fantastic when you ‘ombre’ it, too! My son wandered over while I was painting and chose these purple colors, and I love the effect!
Finally, for my neutral piece of construction paper, I added varieties of white, cream and black marks and a few sheets of scrap paper for the initial layer.  This time I layered a few blackbirds over the Kilim Patterns using my Bird Stencil.
Here’s a look at the final StencilGirl collage pieces I created!
And an example of how I integrated these collage papers into a larger mixed-media project:
and another painting where I used the Kilim Patterns stencil:
Creating mixed media collage papers is one of my favorite ways to relax and just be creative! There are no attachments to outcomes because everything you make can be torn and re-visioned into a new project. 

If you like this project I teach a course called Paper-cadabra with lots of other techniques to make your own mixed media paper collections using StencilGirl stencils, mono-printing, and household products!
Cathy Nichols


  1. Lovely use of these stencils, Cathy - thank you!

  2. Cathy does great work! The papers she create are fun to make and great to add to your own art... it's nice to have created ones own paper supplies.


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