Blog: Stencil

Medieval Minds – Art Journal

“We are living in modern times and yet we are dominated by medieval minds.”

Isn’t this the truth.

For this background I played with my Buenos Aires Stencil and Star Struck Stencil using Acrylic Spraypaint. I outlined some of the areas with acrylic marker to add some colors that were used in the painting in the collage calendar page.

I remember when I created the original painting that the colors were unusual to use for me and yet I still love the painting- which is for sale here: Highline Original Painting also available as prints.

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Holiday Sale – 30% Off Stencils

My annual Holiday Sale is on in the Online Shop and everything (except gift certificates) is 30% off! Including all my different Stencils!

Here’s a little peek at some of those stencils in action. Hurry in though, this sale ends December 4 at 11:59pm ET and is only while supplies last :)

Art Deco Fairview with it’s lovely design sensibility and then Flower Maze with bold geometry…

Star Struck that is all about pattern and ATC Mixup that has 9 different patterns!

Or my 4×4″ stencils that although are petite, pack a big, beautiful punch like Buenos Aires or Park Blvd.

Come and shop the Stencils and all the other sections of my Online Shop too. Save 30% using the coupon code holiday30 and enjoy!

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Sending Signals with Pattern and Texture

Pattern and texture are two elements of artwork that always catch my attention. If you know me, I am pretty big on using both in my own work too. I think they add so much – movement, complexity, and that little something that makes you want to look more closely. They invite the viewer in and hey, that’s a good thing.

One way I add pattern and texture is through stencils and a favorite is my Signals stencil. It is definitely abstract and a little bit random too. The pattern was inspired by a vintage German roller stamp and it is just the thing for instant mark-making.

When I want pattern in a background of an art journal page to balance with some heavy duty journaling, Signals really works. I think it’s so successful because of its smaller scale and also it’s not super perfect with harsh edges. It isn’t geometric – it has a hand drawn feel to it that is very human.

Here my Creative Squad team member Robin uses it in muted tones over book pages for a quiet background that still has interest.

Besides backgrounds, Signals was my solution in this art journal page to give my building a little visual texture. Is it masonry showing through the mural or maybe just a little gritty urban texture? You can decide :) I think it works.

Signals plays nicely with other stencils too for layering, probably because it is more about texture and marks. Here it’s layered with my Space Age Modern stencil in pink and orange Distress Ink for a more complex look. Kinda gives an agitated vibe to the art journal page and fits the pose of the figure.

If you need a bold pattern though, Signals can work in that way too. I love layering it in black over bright colors. It has serious energy here.

Or do the opposite like my Creative Squad team member Maura does here – use the Signals stencil in bold colors over a black acrylic background. I love it!

Hope you enjoyed seeing how you can use the Signals stencil to add pattern, texture, and interesting details to your mixed media artwork. Give it a try! Here are some of the supplies used in these examples:

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Creative Squad: Favorite Art – My Way – Robin Seiz

Hello from my Creative Squad. Today we have a post from Robin Seiz who is sharing her beautiful and final project with us today! We have been so lucky to have Robin with us on the Squad and have always appreciated her thoughtful takes on our themes and also her skill at combining colors and elements within her compositions. She will be missed and we wish her all the best as she continues on her art journey!

Today she shares a repurposed bag project with us, using my Star Struck, Central Ave, Grove Street, and Park Blvd stencils and our theme: Favorite Art – My Way – Look at a favorite work of art and create something inspired by it, drawing from the colors, shapes, subject matter, feeling etc. that strikes you most when you look at it.

Hello friends. This month’s theme is Favorite Art – My Way. My partner gave me a painting on canvas for an engagement present. It’s a realistic painting of glass jars in the most beautiful shades of blue. By far, it’s my most favorite piece of art in our home. This painting was what I thought about when I started this project. While I didn’t use shades of blue, I did start with teal as the basis for my project this month. 

My studio is being renovated, as is much of our home. I have a tiny little space right now to create with most of my supplies packed up in boxes in the basement, so using recycled materials seems to make sense right now. I recently got a shipment of art supplies in glassine bags and decided to use one of those bags for my substrate. This finished bag will make a terrific hostess gift bag. 

Since the glassine bags are quite shiny and smooth, I started by adding a layer of white gesso to give it some tooth. Once the gesso was on, I realized the teal paint would look better on a black background; so I put down a layer of black gesso. (One of the things I love about  mixed media is more layers often make the piece more interesting).

Next I drew a butterfly on a post-it note and cut it out. Once I was satisfied with it, I cut out 8 more butterflies. I placed these down on the black glassine to act as masks before I put down Nathalie’s Star Struck stencil. I used Golden Teal paint with a sponge and “pounced” the paint through the stencil. I removed the stencil and the masks which left black butterflies on the page. I thought I wanted to make the butterflies stand out, so I used a white Posca Pen to outline each butterfly.  

I wanted some “Bling” on the page. With a small paint brush, I applied gold gesso to the dots in the Star Struck stencil. See the lower left bottom corner to see how I filled in the gold dots. 

Next I used Natalie’s Grove Street stencil, Central Ave Stencil, and Park Blvd stencil and a makeup sponge to lay down a design on each butterfly. 

After the designs were on each butterfly, I realized I didn’t like the white outline, so I covered it up with gold paint and then applied a black micron #8 to outline the gold providing more depth to the butterflies. 

Thank you Robin for this fun project idea that could be used to repurpose lots of different types of bags! Also thank you for participating in the Creative Squad for the past 2 years – it has been a pleasure working with you!

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and in addition to her upcycled glassine bag, here are some of the supplies Robin used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

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Color Update with Judi – Creative Squad

Last month our Creative Squad member Judi Kauffman shared her lovely little stenciled lamp journal with us (check out the full post here) and in the process, caught the eye of a friend. Sometimes you create something and at that moment the project is complete… until you decide that you could take it further LOL. Well, that’s just what happened here and we thought it would be fun to share the update with you.

First let’s look at that sweet project from last month:

Love how she used my Hamilton, What’s the Point, Crackle, and ATC Mixup stencils to give the scene dimension, a setting, and lots of interest.

And then…

W O W !!! Look at allll that color! Here is what inspired the update:

“My friend in California whose birthday is coming up fell in love with it, but said I had to do “more” to it because she thought it should have COLOR…”

We love it Judi! The lamp light is glowing, the details enhancing the sparkle, and the color palette is very Mid Century cool!!!

Thank you Judi for sharing your color update with us!

Here are some of the supplies Judi used:

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Creative Squad: Goodnight Art Journal – Judi Kauffman

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a post from Judi Kauffman who is sharing a creative way to personalize a notebook cover using my ATC Mixup, Crackle, Hamilton, and What’s the Point stencils and inspired by our theme: Goodnight, Art Journal – Think about the colors, sounds, rituals of night – any aspect of it – and use that as your catalyst to create! 

LAMP LIGHT by Judi Kauffman

I don’t keep an art journal – just an over-stuffed Traveler’s Notebook – so my project deviates from this month’s assignment. We’re tasked with using Nathalie’s stencils to create an art journal page inspired by night time. I took a more literal approach to nighttime, the wonderful, lazy part of my day when I am most often in a comfy chair reading by lamp light.

The project itself started with a 4” x 6” blank book with a Kraft brown cover, small enough to sit next to the chair or tuck into a tote. I can record what I’m reading, make shopping lists for books I want to buy or pick up at the library, jot down recommendations from friends. I plan to glue in book reviews from newspapers and magazines, and – of course – I’ll doodle.

My original idea, shown in the sketch above, was a lamp on a table, divided so that one half was daytime and the other was nighttime – rays at the right showing the nighttime illumination. I knew I wanted a very graphic design with very simple shapes so the stencils would take the starring role.

When I spread out Nathalie’s stencils I took a slightly different approach, a simple lamp sitting on a table with one stencil pattern for the tabletop and another stencil for the wallpaper behind the lamp, a third stencil for the lamp shade and a fourth for the base. A nice bonus: the stencil I chose for the wallpaper (Hamilton) also looks like rays of light in a subtle way! Feel free to use this sketch if you prefer that approach to the one I ended up using.

Using black ink or paint or color(s) of choice: Stencil the designs for the wallpaper (here I used Hamilton) and table top (here I used What’s the Point) onto the book cover. Stencil designs for the lamp shade and base onto ivory cardstock (I used the Crackle and ATC Mixup stencils). You’ll only need a few inches of stenciled cardstock for the shade and base.

Create cutting patterns for the lamp shade and base by using my drawings or your own preferred lamp as inspiration. Lots of options for free designs on the internet. Cut out the patterns.

Position the cutting patterns onto the stenciled ivory cardstock. Draw around the patterns; cut out the shapes. Design strategy to note: I picked a portion of the crackle pattern for the lamp base that has a rounded look to add dimension to the otherwise flat shape. I carefully centered the pattern on the lamp shade.

Edge the book cover, lamp shade and base with gold paint pen. Glue the shade and base to the cover.

Optional: For a pop of color create a belly band with knotted baker’s twine, ribbon, elastic, or yarn. Make sure the band is loose enough to easily slip on and off or easy to untie and re-tie. (Baker’s twine is tedious so my belly band will remain knotted.)

More Options:
*Start with a photo of your own lamp as the source for the cutting patterns.
*Use a mix of colors instead of only black.
*Make a batch of stenciled cards – this is a very fast and easy project to do ‘assembly line’ style since the shapes are so simple.
*Stencil onto patterned paper instead of solid colors.
*If the finished look is too minimalist for your taste, embellish with pen doodling; add collage or develop dimension with colored pencils.

Thank you Judi! Love the thoughtful positioning of the stencils to suggest light and form!

Give it a try: you can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the supplies Judi used:

Looking for more projects? Follow the Creative Squad on Instagram here.

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Stenciled Garden Plant Tags – DIY Play Date

After a long hiatus, Kim and I are finally getting back together for some regular Play Dates at my new place. We really missed this time together to gab and create and it was so nice to come together for a spring themed project: Stenciled Plant Tags. If you have a garden or grow things inside, these are a sweet way to personalize bamboo plant tags and keep track of what is what.

The supplies for this were very simple and can be found at the end of the post too, but basically you’ll need: bamboo plant tags, small pattern stencils like my ATC Mixup, acrylic paint, brushes, makeup sponges, and an acrylic marker or Sharpie.

Paint your tags with acrylic paint. A flat brush makes this a breeze and you could even start with gesso if you want to minimize the woodgrain more. We liked the natural wood peeking through so just went straight for the paint.

Bright and pastel colors are a great choice, but go with what makes you happy and just keep in mind what color marker you will use at the end to label with.

Stencils with small patterns will fit on these petite tags. My ATC Mixup has 9 different patterns and we used almost all of them!

Auditioning the patterns :)

A makeup wedge sponge works perfectly for this of course.

A subtle color palette looks pretty cool and won’t compete too much with the labeling, but high contrast is good too. There are sooo many ways to go with this. Our set of labels came with 20+ to play around with.

If one of the colors didn’t look quite right, we redid the stenciling on some of them to oomph things up or even get a subtle shadowing effect.

A gelli plate is always a nice surface to blend some colors and then print with that later ;)

Plant tags looking good!!!

If you’re planting veggie seeds, you might need a bunch of these!

When everything is dry, it’s time to label. An acrylic marker or even a Sharpie will do for this.

You can go fancy with the type!

But leave some blank – you never know what you might plant later.

They look great with those small stenciled patterns and happy paint colors.

What are you planting this year? Flowers? Herbs? Vegetables?

There’s no question what these little sprouts are.

And these can go into the garden when the time is right.

Hope this inspired you to get your stencils and think about the garden and how you can get creative there too. Although my garden is a work in progress this year, I will get a few potted herbs to tag soon so that we can have a bit of fresh greenery to enjoy. Happy stenciling and happy gardening!

Here are some of the supplies we used:

Comments (1)

  • jean marmo


    These are so much fuN!


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Common Sense – Art Journal

“I don’t profess to be profound; but I do lay claim to common sense.” — Emily Dickinson

For this one I used the same colors and the negative print of the Art Deco Wallpaper stencil from the Hope art journal page – I just didn’t mix the colors for the background when I brayered them on.

Then I stamped on top with some of my Cardboard rubber stamps and Ranger Archival Sepia ink.

Using a bamboo sketching pen I wrote the Emily Dickinson quote with copper Liquitex acrylic ink – the metallic inks have a lot of particles in them which makes the journaling slightly raised.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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Hope – Art Journal

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

-Emily Dickinson

I painted the background with acrylic paint and a big flat brush. Then I layered the Art Deco Wallpaper stencil on top and sprayed with MTN Acrylic spray paints – using lime green, brown and white colors.

I added some marks with a thin brush and sepia acrylic ink and then used one of my Fan-fare stamps and brown Versafine ink to add some more marks. I layered the stamp up without going for a full image each time and I really like how it looks. I’m definitely using this stamp again for mark making.

It was simple to put together but I like it – simple is ok – not every page has to take ages 🙂

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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