Friday, June 18, 2021

Mini Stitched Collages with StencilGirl® Stencils


Hi, Judy here and I am excited to be here to show you how I make my mini stitched collages.  For many years I have been obsessed with making miniature artworks.  My background is fiber art and once I discovered I could stitch my papers, there was no turning back.  I hope you enjoy this mini tutorial.



Acrylic paint

Watercolor paint

Golden Modeling Paste

Blue Tape

Watercolor paint brush

Foam paintbrush


Various papers: watercolor paper/book pages/copy paper/cardstock or old artworks

StencilGirl® Stencils – 

Nested Squares Full 

Little Eddy Rose

Fragmented Lines Columns

1 by 4 Rails Set 1

Stone & Mortar Version 2


*optional: sewing machine, needles and thread



Start by gathering all your supplies.  I like having everything within reach.  Look through your papers and determine colors.  Generally, I choose two to three colors plus black and white.  But for this project I limited my color choices to one color with black and white.  Sometimes simplicity is best.

I started creating my black and white stenciled papers on vintage book pages, music sheets and copy paper.  I love the textures that these papers give and the hidden words that pop out.  

Next, I created beautiful textured papers on watercolor paper with Golden modeling paste.  You can use plaster, spackle, or any other thick paste like mediums for this.  I chose the modeling paste for the more transparent texture.  Here is a hint, if you don’t like the transparent white color add a drop or two of ink to the paste to give it color.  Explore!

This next step is so much fun.  Here is where I decided to see what watercolor and stencils would do.  I have never had much luck, but this time…Boom!  This time I painted a very wet watercolor background on the watercolor paper.  

Next, I laid my StencilGirl® stencils on top of the wet watercolor paper and taped them in place.  I used a version of blue tape for delicate surfaces, but washi tape works great too.  Once the stencils were secure, I gently went over the stencils with a little more watercolor to add more vibrant colors in different sections.  The most difficult is the next step…let it dry overnight and do not move it.  Funny, I am so impatient, but trust me just let it dry overnight.

Now the fun begins, let’s make some fun mini collages!


I know some of these papers are just gorgeous by themselves, but time to tear and cut them up.  It’s only paper and you can make more.  There are lots of ways to do collages, straight line, rough edges, layers, just have fun re-arranging the papers.   My papers are approximately 2” pieces, some smaller and some larger.  What I was looking for is color and contrast.  I use a glue stick of scotch tape to temporary hold my pieces together to carry them to my sewing machine.

YES!  You heard me.  I have lots of art friends that question why I sew my collages.  My response is that sewing is my mark making opportunity and it gives structure to the collages.    Plus, I used to be a fiber artist.  So why not?


Sewing paper can be a little challenging to do curved lines so I would suggest straight, zig zag and random.  I try to make sure every paper has at least a stitch on it to hold the papers together.

Finishing your little collages is a personal thing with many options.  Some people like them framed with a mat and others like them attached to a wood panel.  It all depends on the finish too.  If framing in a frame, just finish it with a final fixative spray.  If you adhere to a wood panel you can finish it with a varnish, resin, or encaustic medium.  Here I finished a piece with encaustic but like I said it is a personal choice with many options to choose from.

Now go create those beautiful collages and you tag me on Instagram with your creations @judy_applegarth

Happy Stenciling!

Judy Applegarth





  1. Thanks for sharing your techniques for these delightful mini art pieces!

  2. Wow! Love this!

  3. Wow, what a great project! Thank you for sharing your methods.


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