Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Two of my new 9"X12" stencils are released today at STENCILGIRL(TM)Products --



And this post focuses on the Buds stencil.  Below are some artworks I created with it --

I used one of my prints from the Buds stencil as giftwrap --


 And I used some of the printed papers to make greeting cards like this one --


Friday, December 26, 2014

Don't Throw Out that Used Giftwrap!

Rather than throw away that used giftwrap, I use it to make next year's Christmas cards -- or thank-you notes for gifts received this year from distant friends.  Today I'll show my way of doing this.

No giftwrap to recycle?  

Any paper can be used; in the past, I've worked from my stash of "catch-all" papers.  These are foreign-print newspapers used for off-loading leftover acrylic paint from just-used paintbrushes, before dunking those brushes into water.  (This practice is best for the environment.  The less acrylic paint that goes down the drain, the better for all of us.)  Here are two of my catch-all papers --

Having chosen an area that I like on this paper, I placed a stencil over it, using masking tape to hold the stencil in place ...

Heron (shown above) was one of the stencils I chose for today's "re-run" post because I needed a design that lets me easily trace inside its cut-out areas.

Some of my other stencils work well, too --

Queen Anne's Lace (9"X12")
Boxed Vines (9"X12")
Cats (6"X6")
Osprey Wings (6"X6")

For tracing along the cut-out stencil edges, I used watercolor pencil since it can be easily removed afterward, if desired.

Below is the Heron tracing, after the stencil was lifted --

Above:  the heron has been cut out with fine-detail scissors and placed on the cover of a 6"X6" greeting card.  On the left, atop the stencil, is the watercolor pencil I used to make the tracing.
When I used the stencil Queen Anne's Garden, I decided to place the stencil on the back of the catch-all paper, instead of working on the paper's painted side.

Above:  the back of the paper, after the stencil has been lifted off.

After I finished cutting out the flower, I decided to add leaves that I cut out free-hand.  I also added a few additional "rods" and "blooms" to create a greater contrast with the background I had chosen -- a pearly white 6"X6" blank greeting card, shown above.  (If you would rather not freehand-cut leaves, you can use Striped Leaves Stencil by Terri Stegmiller.)

Above:  the finished greeting card with the heron on the cover.

In tracing part of Queen Anne's Garden with a red watercolor pencil, I simply drew lines inside the narrow openings at the top of the flower, rather than try to faithfully trace every fine detail. 


Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy News


Today I learned that one of my abstracts won Honorable Mention in the current show at our local art guild; its title is Lace and Letters --

Clicking to enlarge the above image, you can see that I used at least one, but probably two, stencils by Carolyn Dube, the queen of letter-pattern stencil designs!  In the upper right you can see where I used the stencil Calligraphy by Mary Beth Shaw.  And in the central lower section, I've used Warped Holes 9 by Lizzie Mayne.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Happy Surprise

Good news today ... I sold a print of one of my original artworks at Fine Arts America --

I think that I still have the original on hand; it was created using several stencils from  What sold today is a print of the original.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

I haven't been able to verify this, since my Internet search failed to locate the right Maggie Crawford, but I think that this lovely artwork created by her --

-- came to life with the help of my stencil Queen Anne's Lace.  If I'm wrong about that, then I can still say that it might have been my stencil.  Maggie Crawford's handling of color and text are a beauty to behold. 

Her artwork is featured in the 5X5 Collection curated by Seth Apter.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas Preparations with Stencils

Aluminum tape -- found in hardware stores and home improvement centers -- isn't just for repairs.  It can also brighten up Christmas cards, tree ornaments and party place-cards.  Altho I posted this write-up back in summer, it deserves a repeat during this season of preparing for festivities.

This beautiful tape, just shy of 2" in width, comes with a white paper backing that, when peeled off, reveals a self-stick backing.

For this project, besides the tape, I used stencils, alcohol inks, Sharpie pens, an embossing stylus, padding (a craft foam sheet and an old mouse pad), masking tape, and a non-stick paper (non-stick aluminum foil or freezer paper, shiny side up) to spread over the work surface for its protection.

 Above, at the top of the photo, is a view of the tape as it comes, in a roll.  Here, I have cut off 2 lengths of it and secured them with masking tape to (left) a sheet of yellow craft foam and (right) an old mouse pad. 

 Below is a close-up of the next step I took in this project -- placing stencils over the tape.  The upper photo shows my 9"X12"
Wrought Iron Gate stencil and the smaller photo shows my 9"X12" Borders 1 stencil.

I traced the stencils' line-work with an embossing stylus, the top of which is shown below -- but a ballpoint pen would work, too.


My next step was to lift off the stencil to reveal the embossed tape -- 

Below are two photos showing the embossed tapes with alcohol inks added--

I liked the colors of these inks, but wasn't happy with the way the embossed line-work disappeared under them.  So I began experimenting.  One experiment was to remove most of the ink with rubbing alcohol.  I also got out my Sharpie pens, knowing that these deeply embossed lines would be easy to trace.  But to be on the safe side, I replaced the stencils, lining them up with the embossed line-work --
After lifting off the stencil a second time, I had the results below.
The lower strip of tape has been embossed, alcohol-inked, and wiped with rubbing alcohol.  Some of the alcohol ink remains, highlighting the embossed line-work.
Below is a 6"X6" greeting card I made using this tape, but the next cards I make with this festive tape will be Christmas cards...
... and they will be similar to the Christmas cards below, except that foil tape will be used instead of the cardstock I used below, along with the same two stencils, Wrought Iron Gate stencil and Borders 1 stencil.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Texture Prints -- The Tool Becomes The Art

Today's re-run features a technique learned from Joan Bess.  I loved the concept she introduced so much that I decided to take it one step farther.  Her  post on this topic -- at -- demonstrates creating a textured paper to use both as a tool and as a final artwork, with the Gelli Plate.  Using a squeeze bottle of textured paint and a sheet of paper, Joan opted for a freehand-drawn approach to making this tool.  I decided to add another step, at the very start:

First, I used masking tape to secure my 9"X12" stencil Mimosa to a sheet of previously painted newsprint. Then I began to outline the design with a watercolor pencil --

Above shows the stencil in full.
The above close-up shows the blue outlines as they are being drawn around each part of the design, by tracing the open edges of the stencil.

Above: The stencil has been removed; the watercolor pencil lines remain.
Above:  The outlining with textured paint has begun.  It's just a matter of following the lines drawn with watercolor pencil.  I felt no need to be exactly faithful to each of those original lines.
Above:  The textured outlines have been completed; now comes an important step --
Waiting for that textured paint to fully dry.  Don't start printing with your Gelli Plate till then!

Once I started printing with my Gelli Plate -- I used the 12" X 14" plate since my large Mimosa stencil measures 9"X12" -- the process was quick and easy.  With a brayer, I spread open acrylic paint over the plate, then pressed the textured paper face-down onto the wet paint.  When I pulled the paper up, it had collected some of the paint, and it had left an imprint.

I pulled one - two prints from the imprinted surface of the Gelli Plate, then repeated the process several times with new layers of paint, continuing until I had pulled a number of prints. 

Having previously used the Gelli Plate with the Mimosa stencil itself -- not an outlined version created from the stencil -- I could immediately see the difference between the two in terms of results.  I'm pleased with the results I've achieved both the original way -- using the stencil itself -- and this new way.

 Some of the "new-way" prints are shown below.

Above is one of the original new-way prints.
Above:  This version was made from the original green print, which I scanned into Photoshop and color-altered -- now, it will be printed out for use in an art journal alongside the original green print.

Likewise, the above pail blue print is the original pull.

And likewise, the purple version below was color-altered in Photoshop from a scan of the original pale blue print.


To show a comparison with the "old-way" Gelli Plate prints, created by using the stencil itself instead of a texture-outlined version, I'll include the images below --

For anyone puzzled by my term "the old way," I'm talking about brayering the Gelli Plate print with open acrylic, then placing an original stencil onto the plate.  The stencil is then lifted, leaving its imprint on the plate.  Next, a sheet of paper is pressed onto the plate, and pulled.  The above two images were achieved this way.  Variety is the spice of life!

Last but not least, here is the paper I had treated with texture paint.  This is how it appears now that it has been used multiple times with the Gelli Plate.  It was a tool, but now it's artwork :

My 9"X12" stencil Mimosa is available at
So is my 6"X6" Mimosa, which fits either of the two smaller Gelli Plates.