Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Creative Play & Collage with Stencils

Hi StencilGirl® friends! Nicole here, and today I’m playing with stencils and collaging in my art journal.


In January I began a very unplanned cleaning and purging of my art studio. Phew! I still have some drawers and shelves that I need to tackle, but the re-set and clean feel so good.  


Due to just one of those years, I had a couple piles of supplies and things I purchased that I hadn’t sat down to play with. So, I grabbed the paint and a few stencils to explore to have a creative play session. It was so good. Even though I didn’t love everything I created, I learned, discovered, explored and best of all let loose! Splashing paint around and not caring is the best. We all need to schedule these play times into our art practice!


In that play session, I created a couple of small stenciled papers that I feel in love with and just knew I needed to add them to my art journal.

To make the papers, first I added a layer of watered-down gesso. 

Then, I splashed around some walnut ink on one and watered-down Payne’s gray on the other. 

When those were dry, I grabbed a new to me paint color, purple madder (matte acrylic paint by Blick), and used it through the longwood florals stencil. Before the paint could completely dry, I also scuffed up the stenciled imaged a bit and added some watered-down purple madder too.

Next, I had to figure out what to do with them! I grabbed my art journal and stuck down some blank ledger paper. Then, I broke those ledger sheets by first spreading around some paint and gesso and then loosely tracing inside the bittersweet mini stencil with my stabilo all in graphite. 

I then activated it with my dirty paint water. It had the most beautiful lavender hue from the purple madder paint. After that, I splashed around some walnut ink.

After breaking those pages, I thought a simple collage on each would be perfect. It took me a while and lots of moving around of papers and images to achieve what I wanted. I’m not a seasoned collage artist, and it’s one of my goals this year to play more with collage.

For the papers, I used my stenciled cyanotypes and stenciled pages. You can read how I created them and see tutorials here on the StencilGirl® blog. (The stenciled page sheet was from another play session similar to the one linked to the blog post but doesn’t appear in the blog.)

I topped off the collages with a vintage photograph, some really old stamps, and the string the stamps were tied up with.

My last step was to just add a touch of watered-down Payne's gray around the bits of Boro collage papers.

Watch how it all came together, and count how many times I moved the paper bits around in the video tutorial below.





Connect with me on



   Longwood Florals

   Bittersweet Mini

Cyanotype Stencils

   Vintage Typewriter Numbers

   Journal Texture 12

   Symbol Grid


Stenciled Paper
   Boro (cyanotype version pictured above)



  • Ledger or book papers
  • Acrylic paint
  • Gesso
  • Matte Medium
  • Old photograph, stamps, ephemera
  • Collage Papers
  • Walnut ink
  • Stabilo all (graphite)
  • Dirty paint water

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