The more techniques you learn, the more ideas you'll have!

Simple Tracing

1. Trace around edges with color pencil, opaque stix, markers.

2. Trace with watercolor pencil, remove stencil, and blend all or part of the color with a water brush.

3. Trace using any variation of a broken line: dashes, dots, bubbles, whatever.

4. Use a chalk stick, Conte stick, charcoal, or pastel stick, remove stencil and smear.

5. Trace with permanent ink onto clear acetate and use as an overlay.

6. Trace with Tombo Glue Pen, remove stencil and sprinkle glitter over your glue line.

7. Trace with Tombo Glue Pen, remove stencil and spread glue line out with cotton swab. Brush Jacquard Pearl Ex powder over thinned glue.

8. Trace with Tombo Glue Pen, remove stencil and leaving glue thick or thinning out with cotton swab, sprinkle embossing powder and let glue dry. Heat embossing powder until melted.


Complex Tracing

9. Shadow: trace with a thin tip pen or sharp pencil then shift the stencil and trace a shadow with a brush tip, broad tip marker, or fat leaded pencil in a lighter shade on just a part of the stencil.

10. Trace first with a permanent pen and do the second tracing without moving the stencil with watercolor pencils and blend with a water brush.

11. Trace, shift, trace and keep going as much as you like. Shift in any direction.

12. Trace with a solid line, trace again with a different color or type of pen/pencil with any kind of broken line.


Filling In

13. Tamp in color with a stencil brush and acrylic paint. Using low tack tape, tape your stencil into position. Pour a little paint out onto a piece of foil, barely dip the brush in the paint, rub the paint into the brush by circling on a clean area, rub off excess paint onto scratch paper so it is 'dry,' now, tamp up and down or with small swirling action into the stencil.

14. Use a marker and fill in the whole space. Use multiple colors in the same space as an option.

15. Rub oil stick onto paper and load up a stencil brush with it and tamp or circle away.

16. Use a pompom or cotton swab to grab some chalk powder or crème chalk and fill in solid, or with shading.

17. Squeeze alcohol ink onto a cotton swab and fill in onto glossy or clear surface.

18. Use stencil brush with pigment stamp pad. Rub on.

19. Brush on glue, remove stencil and wipe away any glue on it, sprinkle glitter or anything that sticks to the glue. (dirt, sand, whatever.)

20. Doodle in any design with an ink pen, marker or pencil within the edges of the stencil.

21. Doodle in with the Tombo Glue Pen and pour on fine glitter.

22. 3D Crystal Laquer colored in design. Works best when colored in by paint or pigment ink. Let color dry completely. With stencil removed, trace around color edge with crystal laquer. Let dry. Fill in the middle with as much crystal laquer as the dried edges will hold back. You may add more coats as you please. Laquer dries in about 15 minutes.



23. Dilute acrylic paint with water into a spray bottle and spray at the stencil laying on top of your paper, without taped edges. Most spray bottles will give big droplets of color.

24. Before you clean the stencil, take another piece of paper and lay it on top of the stencil that has the sprayed paint on top of it to get a negative image. Porous paper will absorb the paint fast and you will see big droplets. If you use glossy paper, you will get a smeared look that is very neato.

25. For a fine mist, use Stewart Superior's Memories Mist, Tattered Angels' Glimmer Mist, or Maya Mist. Follow above instructions.

26. Bleach colored paper by spraying with a dilution of bleach. Rinse bleach off stencil right away.

27. Use blow-pens or air brush in a can products.

28. With any of the spraying techniques above, use a shield for the spray like plastic canvas, netting from produce, hardware cloth, chicken wire, toothpicks, rubberbands, etc.




29. Rub a very light layer of Judikins Microglaze, a wax mix, through the stencil. Remove and spray color or do a light wash of watercolor. Gently wipe away color on top of the resist. You will end up with a resist of the stencil image. Use this technique on glossy or matte surfaces: papers, photo paper, acetate, glass, etc.

30. Layering resist with Microglaze. Only rub Microglaze on a part of the stencil area. Apply color. Let dry. Apply more Microglaze, on the newly colored area. Repeat coloring. Continue as you please.

31. With glossy cardstock, (sometimes glossy photo paper works) stencil in Microglaze and then use a spin-art machine to spin color onto the glossy paper. You can use sprayers, drops of alcohol inks, or a soft brush with diluted dye re-inkers.

32. Using Incredible White Mask Liquid Frisket for resist. Outline stencil lightly with pencil. Remove stencil. Carefully paint on liquid Frisket with a synthetic brush. Let dry. Paint around it with watercolor or thinned acrylic. Let dry. Remove Frisket with artist's crepe rubber. You can remove all or just portions of the Frisket and paint again if you wish.




33. On paper drip candle wax onto open area of stencil. Fill in as much as you like, trying not to drip where you already have. Let wax get cold and hard. Use a craft knife to cut wax along edges of stencil. Scrape wax off stencil. Crack the wax on the paper by bending it back wherever you like. Paint over the wax with thinned acrylic or watercolor. It is not necessary to over saturate. Just enough for the paint to get to the paper through the cracks. Use a heat gun to warm the wax. Do not melt it into the paper unless you want wax paper. Scrape off wax using a stiff scraper.

34. On fabric, melt beeswax and brush on through stencil. Be careful not to push too hard and get the wax under the stencil. Remove stencil while wax is still warm. Let wax cool to hard. Crumple fabric and brush dye on. Let dye dry. Pick off any big clumps of wax. Using paper towels, iron out as much wax as you can. Over a bucket, pour boiling water over fabric to remove more wax. The wax that floats on top can be remelted. Wash in hot water.



Cut Outs

35. Use a craft knife and cut out the stencil design along the edge of the stencil. You can cut out any kind of paper and glue it onto another surface. Combine this with other techniques for a very neat effect.




36. Cut out stencil on foam core board. Using the negative, glue paper to one side sealing the edge of the design in the foam core. Pour confetti or other little things in the cut away. Glue clear acetate over the open side of the cut away to make a window.

37. With stencil on a hard surface, press ceramic clay or warmed and pliable polymer clay onto the stencil. This will prevent the stencil from bending and will keep the clay from being pushed through too far, and make an even impression. Bake and glaze.

38. Use stencil to cut out shapes of clay to adhere onto other clay surfaces. This works nicely when the surface is curved.

39. Use different claying techniques with your stenciled clay: brush with mica powders, embossing powders, or polymer clay foils.

40. After it's baked, mix glass beads and glaze together and put it into the crevices of your design.



Paper Pulp

41. Place stencil onto paper making screen. Pour wet pulp onto whole stencil. Lift stencil away while wet, leaving a deckle edge. Let dry and peal away from screen.

Wood Burning

42. Place stencil on wood to be burn engraved. With heat protection on hands, trace along stencil with hot tip. Alternatively, trace the stencil lightly with a soft pencil, and burn along the tracing. Fill in as desired using different tips for different intensities and textures. Use squiggles, lines, criss-cross, diamonds, loops, zig-zags, any pattern.



Dry Embossing

43. Dry Embossing - !caution!: some stencils have lines that are too thin to hand emboss with thick paper and we recommend using a die cut machine( such as Spellbinder's Wizard, Cuttlebug, Sizzix, Accucut or Revolution) with a rubber gasket to apply even pressure all around so your stencils don't break! The paper should be in-between the rubber sheet and the stencil. Another safe way to emboss is by using the Fiskars Texture Tool and to rub the back of your paper with it.

44. The cheapest light box is a glass baking dish with a flat LED light underneath it. No need to buy expensive light boxes. Place your stencil, front down if there is lettering, on a place where the baking dish is smooth. Put some low tack tape on a couple edges to keep the stencil still. Place your cardstock (papers can rip because they are thick enough) over the stencil and tape it in place. Rub a piece of wax paper over the paper so the stencil tool will glide better. Using the thicker ball tip of the stylus, gently trace around the stencil. For finer detail, touch up with the smaller tip.

45. To color on the raised image, you can do it free hand, or place the stencil back on top. Color with things that don't push the paper back down. Chalking, spraying, inking with a stamp pad, or watercoloring work great.

46. To color the areas that are lower, you can take small cotton swabs and chalk. If you're paper is glossy, you can brush acrylic paint over the whole thing and then quickly wipe the embossed areas clean, leaving the paint in the lower areas.

47. If you use cored paper that has a different color in the middle, than the outside, you can take a sponge sander for manicures, and sand the edges of the embossed paper.

48. You can buy cored paper, or make your own. Paint a couple thin layers of acrylic paint over the top of any cardstock and let it dry completely. You can paint a solid color or any design. Stencil and sand.

49. Create multiple layers of "coring" by applying double layers of several colors. After embossing, sand it in a way that you would see the different colors you layered.



Paste Embossing

50. To paste emboss, secure your stencil onto your cardstock (paper will warp from wet paint) on all edges with low tack tape. With an angled palette knife, grab some Dreamweaver Embossing Paste, Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint, DecoArt Texture Paste, or any thick media. Starting at the middle of your stencil opening, glide the knife at about a 45 degree angle towards the edges. Careful not to apply pressure on the paste as you near the edges, so the medium doesn't get pushed under. Keep spreading the paste until all areas are filled, making sure the knife stays at an angle. Remove tape from all but one edge. Tip the stencil up towards the taped edge and then pull the stencil and tape away from the paper. Remove the tape and immediately put the stencil into a small tray of water and wash the paste away so it doesn't stick. Let the paste dry completely before handling again.

51. While the paste is still wet, you can add glitter, glass beads or other elements that will stick into the paint as it dries.

52. Brush mica powders (Pearlex) onto tacky paste. If it has already dried, tap it lightly with a watermark stamp pad like Versamark or Watermark Resist.

53. When the paste is mostly dried and still tacky, you can put leafing papers on. There are the standard metal foils, but also try the variegated green, red & black ones. Watch the drying process carefully so the paste doesn't get too dry. If it does, put the stencil back on, and brush on some adhesive for foils or try any glue that isn't too runny. Put the leaf on, with a brush, push in the foil and brush away any bits that don't stick. You can seal it with any gloss medium if you like, depending on how long you want it to last.

54. Use markers, inks, or paints to color in the stencil and then spread clear or translucent paste over it.

55. Color on top of dried paste like it was a new canvas. Oil sticks, sprays, chalks and paints all work.

56. Squeeze dimensional paints for coloring t-shirts on to paper or fabric and then spread with the palette knife. Use one color or several colors.

57. Do the paste embossing technique with puffy paints onto fabric or anything that will withstand steam. Let it dry for 12 hours. Put your iron on the highest setting and steam the paint until it puffs.



Heat Embossing

58. Heat Embossing - using embossing powders (usually designed for use with stamps) needs 3 things: sticky surface, powder, and heat. These are different ways you can experiment. For paper, experiment whether it works better with it embossed. Press a glue stamp pad through the stencil. Remove stencil and pour on embossing powder. Tap powder off onto another paper and pour powder back into container. Use heat gun and melt the powder.

59. For non-embossed surfaces and to achieve clean edges, use a stencil brush and white glue, and stencil in as for paint. If the glue dries before you are done, mist with water (protect areas outside of the stencil if it isn't a waterproof surface, or else go over it with a wet stencil brush), let it sit for a few seconds and get tacky, then pour on your embossing powder.

60. Spray any brand of pigment paint onto glossy cardstock, remove stencil and pour on embossing powder. Melt powder before paint dries. You can use clear embossing powder over the color paint or colored embossing powder with a spray color you don't use very much, since you won't see that color.

61. For a very thick, built up look, use a glue stick. You may need to help it along with your finger or stencil brush for hard to reach edges, and use the ultra thick embossing powders (utee), putting more on each time it melts. You can dip the whole image into a tray of utee, or sprinkle pinches of it on the melted powder. While you are building up these layers, you can put some Judikins Rox into it for added splarkle.

62. A fun texture is when you paste emboss and then sprinkle embossing powder on the wet paste. Let it dry completely, and then go back and heat the powder.

63. Clear glue in a tube with a dabber on the end can also be used to give a sticky foundation for embossing powders.



Glitter Techniques

64. Rub the back of a Pretty Scrapbooks high quality solid stainless steel stencil with Ivory soap.  With a soft rag or paper towel, spread the soap around so that it is smooth and so you don't have chunks of soap that can come off onto the adhesive. Use an old brush to take off flakes of soap stuck to the edges.  Cut a piece of double-sided mounting adhesive the size of the stencil.  Mount one side onto paper.  Peal off protective paper from the other side.  Or you can use one sided sticky paper in the same way. Place soap side of stencil on the sticky side of the paper, being careful not to touch the adhesive.  Using Art Institute Glitter Ultrafine Opaque, pick contrasting colors between the design and the background.  Light colors for the background work best when using white mounting paper.  For darker backgrounds use clear mounting adhesive and put it onto cardstock the same color as the background glitter.  Sprinkle glitter into stencil design.  Shake off glitter.  Do this on top of cardstock with a fold so you can pour your glitter back in. Flip stencil and paper over so the stencil is on a hard surface.  Peel off the paper without bending the stencil.  Be careful to not let the paper snap back because the glitter will go where you don't want it.  This happens more if you don't have the stencil down on a flat hard surface.  Pour background glitter over the adhesive and shake off.

65. Stipple in glue, remove stencil, and pour glitter. This technique lets you use even the coarse or chunky glitter.

66. Dry emboss cardstock, tap a glue pad over the raised area, either with the stencil still on or with it off, and then pour on microfine glitter. The glue in the glue pad is very thin and works well with the microfine glitter.



Metal Embossing

67. To hand emboss metal sheets, tape the stencil onto a metal sheet for embossing. Trace with a pencil. Remove the stencil and emboss into the line onto a soft surface. Flip it over onto a harder surface and with a refining tool, work both sides of the line to define it more. Flip it over again onto the soft surface and using a big ball, rounded wood, or silicone tool, stretch the metal in the middle so it 'bubbles' on the other side. Fill in the back with filling paste so it doesn't get smashed in.

68. Instead of a bubble you can 'doodle' in designs or give concentric outlines, or use a star wheel on the edges or anywhere in the body. Anything you think up.

69. With a piercing tool or some kind of awl, pierce along the edges of the stencil. Pierce into paper, cardstock, metal, leather, or put in divets into wood.

70. Fill in the holes by stitching embroidery threads in them. Either as a running stitch with two threads, or going across the whole stencil, or with two rows of piercing, you can do a cross stitch.



Moldable Foam Stamps

71. Molding an image to stamp: Cut a piece of moldable foam (Magic Stamp by PenScore,) the size of your stencil. Heat the foam and press it onto the stencil that is on a hard surface. Wait until the foam has cooled. It will retain the image of the stencil until it is reheated again. Use your molded foam as a stamp.

72. Stamp an image with your molded foam, and then place the stencil over your image and trace with black ink for a clean, defined stamp image.

73. Place plastic canvas, hardware cloth, netting, or something like these, onto a hard surface. Place your stencil on top of this, making sure all parts of the stencil will be supported when you push on it. Follow the rest of the directions for molding the foam. Now you have a textured stamp image of your stencil.



Applique Technique

74. Applique technique involves embossing different sections and cutting them out, then layering them on top of bigger embossed parts of the same stencil. Hand embossing allows you to control where to emboss and so you'll save paper. If running through a machine, you would have to do it multiple times with each paper. For example, if you have a flower stencil, you might first emboss the stem & cut it out & glue it, then the leaves and glue it on top of the stem, then the petals that can lay on top of each other, then do the center of the flower last and glue it on top of all the petals. Any coloring or sanding technique can also be done with the appliqué technique.



Specialty Papers

75. Vellum and other specialty papers with a bonder in it that makes it more pliable will create neat embossings. Some papers can withstand deep embossing before ripping. To deep emboss, lay your stencil on a piece of cardstock and cut out the openings with a swivel craft knife. Stencil on top of the stencil and cut out. You can add more cardstock or thin cardboard to make deeper impressions.

76. Try embossing on a clear craft sheet or plastic. Color it with staz-on or other solvent based stamp pads. You can even use sharpie pens to color it.



In The Kitchen

77. Using stencils in the kitchen can be as simple as dusting an unfrosted cake with powder sugar through a stencil. Also using colored sugar or sprinkles on frosted things is great. Hold the stencil a tiny bit up from the frosting so it doesn't ruin the frosting.

79. Cut out stencils on rolled fondant or gum paste. Leather

80. For leatherwork, metal stencils make it easier to score into the top layer of leather by following the outlines. Follow directions for cutting the scoring your type of leather.




81. An antiqued look can be achieved with your stenciled work if you first prepare your paper so that it is waterproof. I like Lumiere paints from Jacquard. Brush on a few coats of this paint and wait for it to dry completely. Emboss your painted paper. Then, lightly brush on colored glaze or thinned "re-inker" pigment inks, and quickly rub off with your fingers, leaving the glaze or ink in the crevices of your embossed design.

This is a growing list. Enjoy your stencil!! To read how to marble paper, go to my blog page.