Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Stencil Painted Paper Mobile by Sarah Gardner

Hello there! It's Juicy*S, otherwise known as Sarah Gardner. As I write this, I've just finished the 100th paper mobile for my 100 Day Project! Yes, I made 100 of them! I’m very proud of myself, as you can imagine! Along the way, I encountered a few artist community friends who expressed interest in how I made my paper mobiles, so here I am with my first post as a StencilGirl Products® CreativeTeam member. I’m thrilled to be part of the Team, and happy to share a little of what I learned over the past 100 days!

It all starts with the paper! I’ve been making painted papers layered with color using StencilGirl® stencils to use for my mobiles. Anytime you make a paper and cut it up, something magic happens! The whole looks great, but the cut pieces or shapes always have a unique and artful look all their own.

To make a paper mobile I create two of what I call “art papers” (some people call it collage fodder, Mary Beth Shaw calls them “parts” ;) Simply put, they are papers YOU make to use in your art. I use heavy card stock or even watercolor paper for one of the two, and a thinner paper for the other one.

For the watercolor paper (side one of the mobile), I start with some water-soluble oil pastels from Art Philosophy and a Charvin Pastel Painting Stick, spraying the marks and scribbles with a little water to activate. Then I add some liquid watercolors, just dropping them onto the wet paper.  

I let these dry thoroughly and then start the stenciling! I often start the layering process with the darkest color I have chosen. Here, it’s Viridian acrylic by Lukas and I sponge it through Wendy Brightbill’s, Floral Frolics stencil.

Next, a Charvin heavy body acrylic in Eva’s Pink, using Wendy’s Peony Blooms stencil.  

Then, Lukas Naples Yellow using Cynthia Silveri’s Broken Line Columns stencil. 

Finally, Golden Titanium White through Cecilia Swatton’s Pressed Leaves stencil.


I'm loving how this paper is coming along. It’s a little busy. Sometimes, what works best to tame a layered and colorful piece like this is to add a whitewash, but I decide to use a colored wash because I don’t want my white Pressed Leaves to disappear. I water down already-fluid Golden High Flow Acrylic in Quinacridone Red and brush it over the entire piece. I swab a little of the paint up here and there, especially wherever those white leaves want to peek through.

The last step to complete this sheet of art paper is to add splatter with an FW Pearlescent ink from Daler Rowney in Waterfall Green. I put the ink in a dish and add a little water so that I know I’ll get a good splatter.

Now to make the second paper and what will be the reverse of the finished mobile. I decide on a fairly thick piece of vintage ledger paper. I use the Pressed Leaves stencil again, but brush/paint through the stencil with a combination of the same liquid watercolors and ink that I used for the first paper. I also include an acrylic ink from Dr. Ph. Martin's in Iridescent Orchid to add a little brightness and shimmer to the watercolored leaves. I add some splatter with the leftover paints and then take a look.  

I want the papers to coordinate, so I feel like I need to bring some of the dark green into the second paper. I do this with another acrylic ink (Liquitex in Phthalocyanine Green-Blue Shade) and a dip pen. I save the little scoops from my collagen powder ;) and use this to dip my pen. I outline all the stenciled watercolor leaves. To finish, I add some splatters with this ink.

The papers both have to be thoroughly dry before I can cut them for the mobile.  While they do, I paint the mobile string to match the papers.

You can use any shape for your mobile. I created my star templates out of sturdy cardboard (notepad backing) and they are a little worn out from all the mobiles I’ve made with them!   Since I have been adding song lyrics to my mobiles, I’m showing you how I do that. I print out the lyric, planning a word or two for each ‘star’. Then I choose the size and shape of the star according to the size of the word/phrase. I trace around my templates on the reverse side of the art papers, making sure to use the same number of the same shapes for each paper. 

Can you guess the song these lyrics came from?

And here’s a little tip: 

I marked the templates with an ‘X’ on one side. So I trace around the templates with the ‘X’ facing up for the first paper, and down for the second. That way, I can match up the mirroring shapes when I glue the stars together around the string to create the mobile!

I’ve gone through about 30 glue sticks making my 100 mobiles! I apply glue to the wrong sides of both cut-out stars and add a little to the string that will be sandwiched between the two. I start at the end of the lyric, gluing the end of the string between the two cut-out stars. Then I move up the string, gluing the stars in backward (lyric) order. 

To create a loop for hanging, I trim the string if necessary, and glue the end of the string next to itself between the last two star shapes.

Next, I glue on the lyrics.  

The final touch is to trim the stars so that they are even, with no mismatched points or corners.

Now it’s ready to hang with the other 99! 

Thank you for visiting StencilGirl® Talk!

Juicy*S is my DJ name. I'm not a DJ. I would love to be a DJ. It's one of my fantasy dream jobs, really. I got this name when my sister, my friend, and I were slinging paint and working in our art journals, drinking wine and keeping track of the funny things we were saying on a "sign-in" sheet...just craziness. We all ended up with a DJ name that day. I started my first art blog with this name, and I've had it ever since.

I have found that being creative, that making stuff, is a very fulfilling and beneficial activity for me. Creative play, and art journaling in particular, has become my self-care practice. It's so exciting for me to share what I'm excited about, and helping others find their own creative practice is one of my goals in life!

You can find me on Instagram @juicy.s.art and my website is: Juicy*S Art
I also have a YouTube Channel and an Etsy Shop.


  1. What an interesting 100-day theme, and what an interesting stencilling project! Your mobile is beautiful! Do you have plans for using or selling them? I'm thinking that using several together would make beautiful garlands for fireplaces or arches or Christmas trees! Thanks for sharing your technique - and heavy-duty congrats for completing this 100-day project!

    1. Thanks so much, Terry! I am pondering some possibilities for the mobiles going forward..stay tuned! Thank you for you kind comment! I really appreciate your feedback! XO

    2. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful l, inventive, and visually stimulating project with us! So inspiring. I looked forward to seeing each of your posts on IG. An impressive project!


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