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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Adventures in Stenciling (31 Days: Day 20)

Crafting is always a bit of an experiment, isn't it?  Seeing something that sparks a creative idea, then figuring out the best way to bring that idea to life - it's kind of hit and miss.  Sometimes things come out as I had planned, and some days my ability or my patience falls short (or I'm having a "perfectionist" moment and nothing seems good enough).  But I usually learn something in the process. 
Most of the time when I want to do lettering or patterns I reach for the vinyl or try to find some scrapbook paper that works with my vision.  However, in a few of my more recent projects (ok, honestly these have been in the works since somewhere around JULY haha) paint seemed like the best option, and consequently, so was the use of stencils.  I have very limited experience with stencils but what I do know is that the most important part is trying to get clean lines with the edges of the paint.  And the "cheap" part of me didn't want to spend a lot of money on supplies.
For my first experiment I decided to use the Silhouette machine to cut out a stencil from contact paper.  It was large enough that I had to cut it in parts then piece the parts together on the board.
Then I used a foam brush and dabbed the paint over the open spaces - stenciling 101, right?

I found that the contact paper was a pretty good choice as it was repositionable but still gave a pretty good bond with the wood behind it so that very little paint leaked around the edges.  Woohoo, success!
On to the next project.  This time I wanted to create a background of chevron stripes and I wanted to be able to use the stencil more than once.  So I took the xacto knife and an empty cereal box and proceeded to cut.  The stencil looked fine, but I had a really hard time keeping the edges down and the paint from seeping out everywhere.  I ended up spending a lot of time touching up that one.
So back to the silhouette machine I went, this time with cardstock.  I did a quick zigzag pattern on 3-4 pieces of paper, then pieced them together so I had a stencil large enough to cover the 12x12 board.  Then I used spray adhesive on the back of the cardstock so that it would stick directly to the wood.  With the adhesive I was using, if you apply it right after spraying it's supposed to be permanent.  If you wait a couple of minutes before sticking it on something, the adhesive is repositionable.  The trick was timing it right so that the glue was tacky enough to stick and not hold permanently, but not too dry that it didn't stay down while I was applying the paint.  I had a few ooops moments with it, but overall it worked out okay.

So I'm curious - what have you found works the best when it comes to stenciling??
And yes, I really am going to leave you hanging and not show photos of the final projects I was stenciling... yet :)

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