Monday, February 13, 2012

How to: Make your own Stencils

I have been experimenting with fabric painting, using stencils. And I discovered the wonderful world of Lotta Jansdotter I just love her simple, almost child-like, drawings. I have been really disappointed with stencils available locally, so I decided to make my own stencils.
First I had to decide on patterns. I went back to my old Scrapbooking albums when I started playing around with texture in my layouts. All my favorite flower shapes were there. None of them conventional shapes. I drew the shapes freehand on some tracing paper.
Then I traced the shapes onto a plastic sheet with a permanent marker. It takes a minute or two to dry and then does not smudge at all!
Now comes the difficult part. Cutting out the shapes is NOT easy and needs a very steady hand and patience. It took a few tries before I got the hang of it. Use a self-healing cutting mat, tape the plastic sheet to the mat with masking tape and using your X-Acto knife, cut the shapes out. That's it! Your stencil is ready to use.
My first try at making a stencil (based on many online tutorials) was to trace the shape on very thick cardboard and cutting it out with my craft knife. Needless to say this was time-consuming and not the best way!
For my first stencil painting effort I used a stencil brush. This may be good if used on other surfaces, such as walls, but on fabric it did not work so well!
The paint was tick and the edges fuzzy...
I made the paint thinner, but it was still not a good result. I decided to try a foam sponge. All I had in the house was the pot scourers and I cut one in half. What a great result! I have subsequently purchased some paint sponges from the art shop. They are inexpensive and work great!
These are bunny shapes printed on skirt panels. The skirt is a gift for a friend. It is best to first cut out your skirt or top panels, then print your shapes on the fabric and then sew your project. It takes several hours for the paint to dry properly and then you need to iron the paint to set it. You either iron with a piece of cloth over the motif, or you iron the back of the fabric with the motif on, but not directly on the paint.
The plastic sheets are from Showbiz but are still not the thickness I want for my stencils. The plastic stencils work so well. Easy to clean and store, can be re-used a million times and the printed image is clear and precise. I will soon share some of my projects! Have a great week!