My Favorite Mixed Media Essentials: 5. Stencils & Masks

I often get emails asking me about my favorite tools or supplies and I actually love those emails because they make me think of why I tend to use some things all the time.

Is it laziness? What is it about these items that make me grab for them whenever I create a Mixed Media Project?

One of the answers that came up for almost all of them is “I use them because of their versatility of usage” . That is an easy guess for an answer- LOL- since I named my favorite Online Workshop series Über*Media playing on the fact that you can use some items so MANY different ways.

But let me take you the next couple weeks on a little journey on my favorite Mixed Media essentials and explain why I could bathe in them and show you where I used them.

If you missed the other posts in this series – you can catch up here 

5. Stencils & Masks

Stencils and Masks are a constant companion of mine while creating. If you would see the stack of stencils I own you would think I am a hoarder (well I am in some perspective ;) )- but to my excuse I have to say- I might own like 15 times the same stencil because I use them in my workshops a lot. Because they are AWESOME to use in all kinds of projects!

What I love about Stencils & Masks:

  • You can add with many different paint media wonderful images to a project
  • You can use them to create dimension and layers
  • They can be an awesome tool to add texture
  • They can be wonderful stamps
  • You can use them for Embossing
  • They can be easily created by yourself
  • If made out of the right material they can be used FOREVER
  • They can ground a background
  • You can also use them for tracing patterns

Here are some examples:

Using Stencils to trace the stars and make dimensional embellishments and with paint medium

Creating Texture with Black Gesso and Stencil

Stencils with Graffiti Spray Paints layered for a plant pot

with mostly self made stencils

Texture with mixed acrylic paint and artist spackle

Stencil used in a Die Cut Machine with Canvas Fabric to dry emboss

Masks used with ink pads for a background

Masks used with heavy bodied Acrylic paints

with water based spray paints

with a marker

Cut out stencil image

And there is so much more!

Which Stencils & Masks I love to use:

As always in this series- the answer to this question is based on my preferences, my style and my experiences

  • Since I do love to create texture with my stencils and masks I am always on the hunt for thicker material
  • I do love to use plastic or similar material ones because I want to use them FOREVER and with wet paint media too
  • Of course since I create my own designs for Stencil Girl Products – I love my own designs for them :) (It would be weird if not ;) ) and I love their designs by the other artists too! Very cool stencils.
  • The other brands I use that in my eyes have the most awesome designs and are of thicker design and the material I like  (and I might miss some of course – I can only list the ones I own and tried!) are by: The Crafter’s Workshop  (I think I probably have almost all of them – mostly Julie Fei Fan Balzer Designs and Ronda Palazzari but also some of Dyan’s – still missing on Dina Wakley’s –  this has to change!), Tattered Angels (they do not make them anymore at the moment so I hold on to my old ones), and Pink Paislee (only had a few desings- but I do love them!)
  • I do love some of the thinner masks too  – I try to use those more with spray paints or dry paint media, so that I do not ruin them. The thinner the material the more you can expect detailed images and intriguing images. So it is a bit: one or the other. As designs for thick ones I love a lot of the Prima Marketing Masks that are out there – but again they are very thin and must be treated carefully in order to not rip them.
  • self-made stencils – I love to use thick plastic sheets or cardboard for this. Crafter’s Workshop Templates is now actually now also offering sheets to make your own stencils.
  • House hold item stencils- there is a lot of things that you can use as stencils that you probably have: lace, punchinella, screen mash, nets that hold your potatoes or onions, plastic place mats that have a cut out pattern, die cuts…just look at your supplies and think how it could look like if you would use spray paint or other paint media over it.
  • Letter Stencils from the Hardware or Art Supply store because I love to add titles with stenciled letters


I hope you enjoy this series- next Mixed Media Essentials is coming soon :)

What are your Favorite Mixed Media Essentials?



Comments (11)

  • Marjie Kemper


    You’re singing my song, Nat… love love LOVE stencils. If you get your hands on some Stencil Girl Products you will like them too… funky designs and a fair weight. Loved seeing all these gorgeous samples especially that cool pink/purple LO with the big alpha letters. Happy Kitting!


  • Carrie


    Trying to catch up on my blog reading again – I’ve missed so much! Love this post on stencils and masks. You’ve got some fantastic ones. I love them too, and have been using them more and more. Do you have any of Michelle Ward’s stencils yet? I have some of them, and they’re great, really good material too.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Totally have to get some of hers too ! Thanks for the reminder!
      Have a wonderful day! Hope you were not hit too bad by the storm! hugs


  • Alicia


    Thanks for the info Nathalie…!! I think all your works are great and all the technics seems very interesting…!!! Keep you informed.!
    Best regards!!


  • Jessica


    I love this series! It reminds me of different ways to use my supplies. My latest fave is modeling paste – I like to spread it over stencils with a spatula and then let it dry overnight. Great raised texture!


  • Sherri Sinclair


    Thank you so much for doing the essentials series. I love to try some if the products you use and it gets my creative thinking going in different ways on some items. Thanks!


  • Jean Marmo


    Love the versatility!! I definitely need more stencils and masks!


  • Sue Clarke


    I never tire of seeing the “TRUST” piece. Just wonderful Nat!
    I like to use embossing paste with some ink in it to get rough texture with a stencil.


  • Toñy Hernandez Ramos


    Nat todas las técnicas utilizadas me parecen geniales. Muchisimas gracias por mostrar tus creaciones. Un abrazo


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