Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Greeting Cards

I just finished a small collection of Easter greeting cards, using several techniques covered in earlier posts that included step-by-step photos.

One of these techniques was to spread light modeling paste thru a stencil -- then while the paste was still wet, I sprayed on liquid colors.  Next, I lifted off the stencil and right away put it into a water-filled basin.  I don't mind stencils stained with paints, but I don't want modeling paste to dry on my stencils because it can interfere with the crisp clean lines of the design.

Another technique I used was to simply spray thru the stencil itself, without using modeling paste.

And another was to use Distress Ink pads and a brush applicator to apply color thru the stencil openings.  

On some cards, I added several layers of spray colors, choosing a different color each time and allowing dry time between layers.

You can click on any of the images above to enlarge them.
All stencils used above, and many others, can be found here:


Saturday, March 28, 2015

To Cut or Not to Cut -- That is the Question!

Artist Lissa Goldsmith commented on an earlier post of mine, and, having read it, I decided to do a post about the subject of altering your stencils.  

The first time I cut into a stencil, it felt almost like cutting my arm ... but, I got over it!  Stencils are made to be used as tools.  You can customize your tools -- personalize them and make them uniquely yours.

And, when I first went into heavy use of stencils -- this was, not by coincidence, when I joined the talented group of designers at -- I tried to keep my stencils clean.  I can remember posting, long ago, about different ways to clean them:  alcohol on paper towels or Wet Wipes; Windex; sponge brayer in a shallow basin of soak-water.  

I got over that, too!

My original Marbles 9 (9"X12") stencil looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

These aren't all the pieces -- only what would fit on my scanner at one time; but enough for you to get the picture.
Of course, in many cases, you can simply mask off the areas of the stencil that you don't want to print, as I've done here:

Above:  Modeling paste has been spread thru Carolyn Dube's 9"X12" stencil Use Your Words.

But at other times, depending on the individual project, cutting to customize is the way to go.
As for cleaning acrylic paint off my stencils -- when the stencil is covered with paint, it makes great sun-prints!  The three posts below give all the details:

Apr 29, 2014

May 08, 2014
Often, too, stencils will become really pretty, due to multiple paint applications -- and at those times, I cut them up to use as collage elements. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Last day of StencilGirlProducts Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Today is the last day of the this week's blog hop at

Two of my stencils are used in today's post on the blog of artist Nancy Wethington.

My 6"X6" stencil Pressed Leaves ...

and my 9"X12" stencil Branching Blossoms Silhouette ...

 ... are among the tools Nancy used to create her latest artwork.  Her blog is here:  Enjoy!  And leave comments on all this week's blogs to be eligible to win in the giveaway!

Still Thinking Spring -- Using A Flower Stencil

Above is a greeting card cover created with my Flowers Version 1 stencil.  Today's post focuses on three techniques using this stencil.  The technique behind the image above is the third one listed in this post.

1.  Stencil and Stain technique: 

For your substrate, choose a smooth, nonabsorbent surface such as sturdy and glossy cardstock, Crescent illustration board, Fredrix watercolor-canvas or hot-press Arches 140-lb. watercolor paper; or any heavier watercolor paper, as long as it's hot-press -- cold-press surfaces are not smooth enough for this technique.  Likewise, if your cardstock is not of the sturdy quality (similar to thin cardboard) it will not work well with this technique.
Pour a small amount of Liquitex or other brand acrylic ink across the substrate.

Spray with a water mister to spread the color.  Use as many colors as desired but avoid creating a wide, thick puddle -- that would needlessly prolong drying time, besides wasting ink.
Place the stencil into the color puddle.  Atop the stencil, place a sheet of Plexiglas or glass; atop that, a paperweight. 

Allow several hours' dry-time -- but don't wait until the ink is completely dry; this may adhere the stencil to the substrate.  (Ouch!) 

Be prepared for a stencil that may remain permanently stained -- but still useable. 

Also:  Experiment with other media:  watercolor; acrylic paint; tea; walnut ink, etc.

And finally:  If you can bear to, cut up your stencils and place unmatched stencil-pieces next to each other before pouring the color.
Below is a background created using this technique.  The completed image remains subtle (almost fossil-like) when this technique is used.


Below, I've used this background with pressed flowers ... it will be a greeting card cover or journal cover.

2. Stippling Technique:

This old-fashioned method for using a stencil still works!  Start by masking-taping the stencil to the substrate.  Then use a sponge-type stipple brush to apply acrylic paint through the stencil.  I thickened my paint with matte gel medium but heavy-body (high-viscosity) acrylic paint would have worked just as well...
3.  Light Modeling Paste and Ranger Industries' Distress Ink:
This technique has beautiful results on a semi-finished collage, on the cover of a greeting card or the cover of an illustrated journal.  Be aware that dried modeling paste remains slightly fragile, forever, if it's been applied in a thick layer -- the way I like to do it!

Masking-tape a stencil to a substrate and spread a layer of light modeling paste across the stencil. 
Immediately place the used stencil in a basin of water.  Modeling paste, while still wet, will wash off easily.
After the modeling paste dries on the substrate, apply Ranger Distress Inks with a brush applicator.  A barber brush or large makeup brush will work beautifully.

Or, experiment with blending chalks, dry-brush-applied acrylic paints, or any other dry medium.
Also experiment with adding acrylic paint to the modeling paste before applying it through the stencil.
And finally, try experimenting with other dimensional products similar to modeling paste.
Below is a greeting card cover made with my StencilGirlProducts stencil Flowers Version 1 using the technique just described:


Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Visit today's edition of StencilGirlTalk to join this week's StencilGirlProducts blog hop and giveaway!

In today's hop, the post by Sherry Cheever, a 9"X12" stencil of mine, Vintage Script, is used  --

 This stencil is available here:

Another stencil of mine, 6"X6" Silhouette of a Wildflower Bouquet, is also used in Sherry Cheever's blog hop post, today --

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Second Day of Giveaway StencilGirl Blog Hop!

Yesterday's post introduced this week's StencilGirlProducts blog hop and giveaway -- and today's post brings me happily back to it again.  Today another stencil of mine is featured in the hop --

And you can join the hop here:

So have fun!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Don't Wait!

My 6"X6" stencil Pressed Leaves --

 -- was used in today's StencilGirl's blog hop by artist Ken Oliver:

Check out the blog hop either via Ken's blog, or here:

Prizes to win!  So don't wait ... 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

HERON Earth Did I Forget Your Birthday?

 That's the blurb I used on the cover of a greeting card, shown below.

Using a pink and blue monoprint as my background, I made a heron print with a Sofft Sponge, Payne's Gray acrylic paint and my 6"X6" stencil Heron.


While the stencil was still wet with acrylic paint all around the edges of the heron shape, I turned the stencil over, placed it on a sheet of foreign newsprint, and rubbed it with the heel of my hand.  That made the ghost print you see below:

Above:  this ghost print will be used on a collage or on another greeting card cover.


 Above is the 6"X6" stencil itself, available at

Friday, March 20, 2015


Since today we're having yet another snowfall (4-5 inches predicted), I am determined to THINK SPRING!

I started today's project with a dark background on a sheet of 140-lb. watercolor paper slightly larger than my 9"X12" stencil Facets.  The background below is not identical to the one I used, but it's very similar.

Next, I altered the background paper with Titanium White acrylic paint.  I applied the paint using a cosmetic sponge (lower left corner, below) thru the Facets stencil, which I'd secured with green masking tape.

Below is the background paper with the stencil lifted off.

Below is the same paper, after I added an overcoat of translucent pale green acrylic paint.

Below is a close-up of a section of this paper, where I've followed the original lines to mark off several rectangles and one circle.

My next step was to cut along those outlined shapes.  Then I assembled them to form a flower. 

I auditioned several new background papers to see which I liked best as the base of the flower collage.

My favorite is the middle one.  Yours?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

9"X12" TWINSHIP Stencil

This mixed-media collage on canvas isn't quite finished, but I want to show (circled in green) the area where I've used part of my 9"X12" stencil Twinship.

This is the stencil in its entirety --

Its unusual title comes from the fact that I developed this design from a photo I took several years ago in a historic little town near near Atlantic City, NJ.  The original photo showed a round wire basket hanging on a white wooden fence.  The sun shone brightly that day, casting a shadow from the basket that resembled an elongated "twin"-- and I doubled this image to create the stencil design.

I love this stencil because it reminds me of that warm day, spent with friends.

Twinship is available here:

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Jumbo Clothespin & Stencils -- Quick & Easy Project

How many ways can you use a jumbo wood clothespin?  In this post I'm showing it used to hold earbuds or headphones -- a handy way to keep the wires from tangling.  In the first shot below, the clothespin is still untreated, the way it was when I first brought it home.

My first step, not shown, was to cover the clothespin with a base coat of light lavender acrylic paint.

Below, the now-painted clothespin is barely visible.  I've placed it on a "catch-all" sheet of paper (an old calendar page, used to "catch" all the paint that would otherwise fall onto my work surface.)  The green masking tape is helping hold the stencil in place, atop the clothespin.  This stencil (stained with pink paint from an earlier project) is a strip cut from my 9"X12" stencil Borders #1.  When using a stencil on narrow objects like this clothespin, I find it easier to have cut the stencil apart.

Below are two shots of the finished project.

These jumbo clothespins can also be used as artwork hangers, refrigerator magnets, party decorations/favors, and display-holders for photos, greeting cards or kitchen recipes.    I bought this one at my local A. C. Moore, but they're also available at

Monday, March 9, 2015

9"X12" stencil TANGLED PODS

 I often fall back on old favorite stenciling techniques, including the use of a Sofft Sponge to apply heavy-body acrylic paint thru the openings.  I usually do this as a second step, having first created a background.  Over the background already established on the canvas below, I've used my 9"X12" stencil  Tangled Pods to apply acrylic paint thru it, with this sponge. 

After using the stencil a first time , I often add spray paint.  The spray reinforces the layered look that's already begun -- and it's useful for hiding areas where paint may have bled under the stencil.  I often use Adirondack color wash spray from AmazonSmile.  Other times, I use my own acrylic paint in a mister bottle, thinned with water and a few drops of airbrush medium.

On the current painting, I decided to add some opaque paint to part of the canvas, creating a base for the spray technique.  This is not always necessary but it was what I wanted to do this time.  See below:

Below is a close-up of the stencil taped to the canvas, ready for me to apply the spray paint.  (Notice I have cut the outside border off the stencil, which is stained from having been used earlier with burgundy paint.) 

Detail close-up

After spraying paint thru the stencil, I lifted the stencil, leaving what you see in the close-up below. 

Detail close-up
Another old favorite technique that I often fall back on is to use the reductive (also called subtractive) approach:  First, I paint a layer of new color in a limited area.

While this layer is still wet, I place a stencil over it.  Holding the stencil in place with one hand, I use the other with a paper towel or soft cloth to rub off still-wet paint in the areas that are exposed in the openings of the stencil.  The results are shown below -- where I have used the reductive technique on both the left (purple) and right (aqua) lower sections.

Below is a close-up of the left lower corner where the reductive method was used:

 Next, I painted the upper right area of this painting, again applying acrylic paint thru the stencil.  See below.

Below is a close-up of this upper right area:

After the burgundy paint had dried on the upper right area, I secured the stencil to the canvas with green masking tape, shown below.  Notice again that I've cut off the stencil's outer border.

Once more, I used water-thinned green acrylic paint in a mister to spray thru the stencil.  After I lifted off the stencil, the central right area appeared as shown below.

Below is a full view of this painting, further developed -- what I've done:  (1) I painted out the left-middle section with opaque green paint; (2) over the green layer, I applied full-strength pink paint thru the Tangled Pods stencil; (3) I weakened the lower part of this imprint by lightly covering that area with green spray paint.  At this point, this painting is nearly finished.

Below is the painting, finished.  The final touch was to add part of the cut-up stencil (now painted purple) along the left side.  This meant cutting the stencil almost completely apart and reassembling it as I collaged it onto the canvas.  This artwork is entitled The Beans because my friend Vicky Culver gave that joking title to the dangling pods that inspired me to create this stencil.  At our local art guild, Vicky parks her car near these pods, which hang from a tree that goes by three names --  take your choice -- Sophora japonica; Japanese Pagoda Tree; Chinese Scholar Tree.  The pods resemble strands of pearls.

 These are only a few ways I've found to use my 9"X12" stencil Tangled Pods. 

Below is another painting on canvas, in which I've used the same combination of techniques with the same stencil:

In the lower left corner, I've added a strip of burgundy paint and collaged over it the remaining stencil, stained green and burgundy -- with its outer border removed.