I’ve used spackle for a number of years. But not just any spackle. Fast ’N Final is a lightweight spackling product that is actually a kissing cousin to gel medium because it is acrylic based. It’s the only product you should use for this stenciling technique, unless you are planning to work on a very stiff substrate. Fast ’N Final is perfect for papers and fabrics that have been stabilized with a backing like craft felt.
As you can see in the picture, spackle is thick, about the consistency of very stiff icing! It spreads easily with a credit card, but I use a small squeegee that we sell on my website.
For this demonstration I am using a large stencil from StencilGirl. This is a particularly good stencil to use because it has a lot of detail, but not a lot of large open areas with little bits that might not lay flat when I squeegee the spackle over the stencil. In general, small, overall patterns are easier to use than large open ones.
For example, in the picture of my StencilGirl expanded square “spider web” stencil, you can see how much the spackle smeared because the large areas were too open and had thin elements that didn’t stay flat when I pulled the squeegee. As much as I adore that stencil, it isn’t a good choice for this, although I could put down a flat layer of spackle and allow it to dry, and then add my stencil on top in paint later. Keep that tip in mind, if you have stencils you would like to use that aren’t a great choice for spackling applications.
Follow steps to make spackling through the stencil easier. The first pull of the squeegee across the stencil should be almost parallel to the surface, as you see in this picture. That helps spread the spackle out on the surface of the stencil.
Once the spackle is spread out on the stencil, hold the squeegee so it is at 90 degrees to the surface, as you see here. Pull the squeegee lightly across the surface to remove excess spackle that’s on top of the stencil. This ensures a complete and even image once the stencil is removed.
Peel the stencil back carefully to reveal the spackled pattern. I didn’t print the entire stencil on this project, because I was planning to work into the image and wanted it to be incomplete.
You can color the spackle with acrylic paint. The more paint you add the less depth you will get when you print the spackle. Add a little paint at a time, especially if you want a tint more than a deeper color.
Stir the spackle and the paint together to mix thoroughly. Print just as you did when using the white spackle. You can see how vivid the color is here, using just a little of the acrylic paint. Don’t worry, though. If the color is too strong or bright, you can always paint over the spackle when it dries, to knock the color back.
I’ve used spackled paper
and cardboard pieces in many of the mixed media collages I make. Here are two
examples of vase forms I’ve created, with raised patterns, thanks to the
stencils. Before they are painted they look like milk glass as you can see in
Try putting spackle over gelli-plate printed papers and card stock. And remember, you can always paint over the spackle once it dries, because it is an acrylic product. So the coloring options are endless.
In this still life example, made with some of my botanical prints, and collaged with vintage silk embroidery and gold leaf, I used a stencil I cut myself, to apply spackle to the wall behind the vase of flowers. It adds dimension and another level of interest.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you would like to try Fast ’N Final with stencils of your own.
• Remember to lean the squeegee toward the substrate to get the first layer positioned and then straighten the squeegee up to remove extra spackle that might prevent the print from being clean and crisp.
• Always let spackle dry before coloring or altering.
• Spackle can be sanded once it’s dry.
• If you want to apply spackle to fabric, it must be stabilized with some sort of backing. It will chip or flake off if the fabric is too flexible. This is not a suitable process for clothing or fabric that is functional.
• You cannot sew through spackle with a sewing machine as it will gum up the machine. However you CAN hand stitch it to add details or interest!
• Never iron over spackle without using a pressing cloth or parchment paper as it could melt onto the iron and make a mess.
• Clean up tools with water before the spackle dries, as it will ruin anything it dries on.
I was intrigued by the fabric piece that had the bright magenta spackle on it, but I really didn’t like the color. So I decided to try using Inktense blocks on top of the spackle. The trick is to spray the surface lightly with water first, so the color will blend easily.
I was pleased with how it looked so I decided to be daring and add some additional color.
Then I got a wild hair to add a portion of a doily I’d dyed previously. So I used Misty Fuse to fuse the doily to the background. The purple was pretty intense and the stencil pattern ended abruptly, so I got out the stencil and added more spackle.
Once the spackle dried, I added more color with the Inktense blocks to blend the elements together.
I had planned to add stitching to the doily's lace edge, and when I did, and flipped the piece around, it suddenly became a mountain or a cathedral! So I grabbed the lid from my vitamin bottle, and used it to add a circle. I colored in the “sun” with Inktense, and the piece was finally complete.
What I find most joyful in my own work is the spontaneity of discovery. I hope this essay grabs your imagination, and that you have some fun with this! Let us know how it turns out!I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post and found it inspiring. If you would like to see more of my work and be entered in a drawing for the artwork I created for the blog, sign up for my newsletter here! Shipping included. Looking forward to connecting with you!