Blog: Stencils

A Look Back – Cool Stuff You May Have Missed 20 – Fluorescent Colors

A Look Back – This time I’m looking at a color family that maybe has a bit of a bad reputation… but that can be so fun to use and definitely has the power to POP: Fluorescents! Love em or hate em, you can’t deny their ability to grab your attention. Below are some old posts and projects that use fluorescent colors in small amounts and large, creating different moods and effects.

A Look Back is a blog series to show you some projects and posts that you may have missed – sometimes going WAY back in the archive. I think it will be fun to revisit a few ideas that we haven’t seen for a while. I’m excited to see how a little look back might inspire something new in the future :)

First up is an art journal page from this post way back in 2014. I used an array of super hot reds for this one, including Liquitex Fluorescent Red soft body paint to create an intense backdrop for my Elephant Parade stencil.


Next up is a super fun project I did back in 2015 with this nifty cardboard water tower I found from a maker in Brooklyn. I just love the form of these old water towers that you see all over the place in NYC. They make me very happy lol. I used fluorescent orange spray paint along with my Elephant March and What’s the Point stencils to give this charming little object even more personality.


Sometimes you just need a touch of fluorescent as I’ve done here in this 2016 art journal spread. I used a Liquitex Fluorescent Red marker to draw on some marks and symbols. Just some energy coming through a busy background.


How bold can you go? I went super bold in this art journal page back in 2016 when I used fluorescent spray paints and my Art Deco Wallpaper and Circuit stencils for my background. Sometimes you have to go all in with fluorescents and just see what happens.


A hint of pink may be the answer… Fluorescent Pink of course! In this Creative Ice Breaker video from 2016 I use just a little Golden Fluorescent Pink paint with my Amsterdam stencil for a very active page. You can almost feel the elephants running around in this spread.

I hope you enjoyed this look back at… fluorescent colors and are maybe inspired to try adding some to your artwork.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

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No Feeling Final – Art Journal

“Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” – Rainer Maria Rilke. This quote really lifted me up the other day when I needed some lifting.

I used some collage paper in this one – deli paper and magazine paper which I layed over my Art Deco Summit and Art Deco Fairview stencils and then rubbed with sanding paper to reveal texture and pattern.

Along with acrylic paint, gesso, the collage paper, and gel medium, for my background I also stamped with my Triangle Love rubber stamps.

I added the quote in black and white to help give it some dimension.

Here are some of the supplies I used:

Join me today, May 1st, at 12noon EST for a Kaffeeklatsch LIVE chat from my studio. Tune in to my Facebook page for the broadcast and say Hello. I would love to hear what is going on with you these days :) See you soon!

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Weather Report – Emilie Murphy

Hello from my Creative Squad and a BIG welcome to our newest member Emilie Murphy! Today is her first project with us and we are very excited to share this art journal page with you. Emilie is using my Santiago, Space Age Modern, and Exchange Place stencils and this month’s theme: Weather Report – Let’s talk about the weather! Do you love thunderstorms? The crisp air of Autumn? A good snowstorm? Are you a fan of endless sunshine? Create something inspired by that go-to topic of small talk – the weather!

“To appreciate the Beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” – Aristotle

Hi everyone! This is my very first project for the Creative Squad this month. I’m so happy to be a part of Nathalie’s Design Team.

I have to say that Spring is probably my favorite season of the year, but as I didn’t get any snow this year, at least where I live in Maryland, I decided to make an art journal page about snowstorms to illustrate our “Weather Report” theme this month.

Let me guide you on how I made my journal page!

I started to spray some Dylusions ink on a 140lb. piece of watercolor paper until I was happy with the result.

Then, to add some texture, I sprayed over the “Space Age Modern” stencil with the same dylusions inks. Let it dry.

Then I sprayed again through the same stencil with some ocean glossy acrylic (new product of Dina Wakley) and let it dry.

One thing that I like to do, in almost all of my journal pages is to add some splatters.

Next, I laid down the “Santiago” stencil and applied a thin coat of acrylic gesso with a sponge through only the portion of the stencil that looks like a cross. I saw Nathalie using it that way for one card of her “Deck of Cards” challenge last November 2019. What an awesome idea! Love this coat of gesso that stays transparent and gives a dreamy look to my background. That’s exactly the effect I wanted.

I repeated the same thing adding some circles from the “Exchange Place” stencil.

At that point, as I was satisfied with the background, I added a thick layer of texture paste to create some snow covering the ground. After I let it dry, I noticed that the ink stained my texture paste too much, so I kept adding some of this paste (about 3 coats) until I was satisfied with the sort of slight bluish whiteness of my snow.

Again, I used the “Santiago” stencil to apply some white embossing powder. I used a VersaMarker watermark pen so that I got a more precise crossed shape from the stencil.

With a white Posca pen, I drew some details to complete the crossed shapes into some snowflakes. Adding some details is my favorite part.

At that stage my journal page was looking nice, but staring at it a little bit longer, I thought that something was missing. I expected you to see the movement of the snow falling on the ground with a feel of cold and/or chill.  Therefore, I applied some IZINK Diamond glitter paint with my finger through the circles of the “Exchange Place” stencil, which again, to give me that feel. Hope I succeeded and gave you the exact same feeling!

Also, I added a final coat of white gesso over my texture paste because even with the 3 coats I had applied, the ink was still tinting it too much and I didn’t like the look of it.

To finish my art journal page, I rubbed my finger with some white gesso around the edges of my paper, added more splatters with the white glossy acrylic, and then added this beautiful winter quote from Aristotle: “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold”.

I hope you have enjoyed my process in making this journal page about snowstorms and perhaps you have been inspired to make your own.

Have a great day and see you next month! – Emilie

Thank you Emilie! What a magical representation of snow :)

Want to give Emilie’s project a try? You can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop. Here are some of the other supplies she used:

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Weather Report – Maura Hibbitts

Hello from my Creative Squad! Today we have a series of cards from Maura Hibbitts that are sure to brighten your day even in these difficult times. Maura is using my Amsterdam 6×6, Mesa Verde, Art Deco Wallpaper, Signals, and Art Deco Empire stencils. The theme this month is: Weather Report – Let’s talk about the weather! Do you love thunderstorms? The crisp air of Autumn? A good snowstorm? Are you a fan of endless sunshine? Create something inspired by that go-to topic of small talk – the weather!

April certainly is a month of changeable weather! One day it can feel like a beautiful spring day full of sunshine and warmth (and I certainly want more of these kind of days!). The next can bring in snow and cold, but luckily these storms don’t last too long and the snow melts away quickly. And of course, there is the saying about April showers bringing May flowers, but be sure to check for rainbows too! So, check the weather report before you head out!

I’ve been making and sending out cards to let people know I am thinking about them during these difficult times, so I knew I wanted to use this month’s theme to make some more cards.

 I started off with an array of rainbow colors, my gel plate, and several of Nathalie’s stencils to create some papers to use for the project. I used a brayer and a mix of red, orange and yellow along with a stencil, like the Amsterdam stencil here. First time the stencil goes on the plate and the paper on top; then put the painty stencil on paper, and third take another print off the plate. I used watercolor paper to do this.

I also keep some deli paper handy when I am printing to use for excess paint. Quite by accident, I happened to have the deli paper sitting on a stencil, and when I rolled the brayer over it, it picked up the pattern.

I repeated the printing process with the green, blue and purple blend on watercolor paper and deli paper. First print here is off the plate with the Art Deco Empire stencil, and the second is printing with the stencil.

I decided to add in more color with a rainbow mixture of fluid acrylics. Here, I blended in the opposite group of colors with a baby wipe. Since the heavy body acrylic was dry, it acted like a resist, so all colors now show.

On some of the printed papers, I used a splatter brush and fluid acrylics to add a subtle layer of color.

Gold accents always take it up a notch, so I used the Signals stencil with gold paint to add a shimmery layer to some printed papers.

Now I have a mix of rainbow painted watercolor sheets and deli papers to use for my cards. Plus, a quick look at some of the rainbow assortment of supplies I used.

Now, the fun begins! I cut out all kinds of shapes related to weather and pieced them together to make my images….sun, clouds, an umbrella, snowflakes, raindrops, and a rainbow. I did use a pencil to sketch out a few. I adhered the heavier paper with tacky glue, and the deli paper with matte gel medium. Oh, and I had previously used the paper trimmer to cut white card stock for the base, and yellow for the background, which I edged with black ink. 

Once the cards were dry, since it was such a beautiful day, I headed out to the deck to do the doodling on the cards. I am using a carbon ink pen, but any black permanent pen will work. I also added in thoughts about the weather.

Softly falling snow (well, I hope not, lol!)…The sun shines behind the clouds…Singing in the rain…Look for the Silver lining…Bringing some sunshine…and Look for rainbows! I hope these thoughts and the rainbow colored cards will bring some much needed encouragement into our lives right now. Be well, be healthy, and find joy in April’s weather! – Maura

Thank you Maura for lifting our spirits today!!! These cards are so happy and beautiful.

Want to give Maura’s project a try? You can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop. Here are some of the other supplies Maura used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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NEW Stencil Designs! December 2019 Release

Today I am releasing 8 new stencil designs with StencilGirl Products and am very excited to share them with you! You can check them out now in my Online Shop.  I’ve been playing with them for the past month and I just love the diversity of the group – some art deco fan stuff for you pattern lovers, abstract stuff for layering and texture, and more Mid Century motifs because we love modernism :)

Here are the new designs – hope you are as excited as I am to create with them!

First up is Art Deco Empire – I’m showing it here oriented upside down because I think it can work either way and I love how it kind of looks like crowns here.

Next is Art Deco Summit – A nice mix of pattern and solid shapes that I think is perfect for creating a balance of color and open space.

Here is Art Deco Fairview – another that I am showing here upside down to show how you can use it either way. Love this pattern.

Art Nouveau Wallpaper is another that mixes pattern and solid areas so you can really play with color here.

Kyoto is a fun mix of abstract marks that can oomph up your mark making in backgrounds and such.

Tokyo is a more energetic field of marks and again, really awesome for backgrounds.

Space Age Modern is a funky cool modernist pattern that is another fav.

Finally we have Signals – a field of abstract pattern that is ideal for backgrounds, layering, and creating visual texture.

So I hope you take a look at all the new stencils in my shop – it is an interesting mix of styles, shapes, and patterns – something for everyone :)

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Happy Holidays – Jennifer Gallagher

Hello everyone and welcome to a Happy Holidays post from our Creative Squad. Today we have a group of super cool looking cards from Jennifer Gallagher that you can make with the whole family! Jennifer is using my Kassel, Park Blvd 4×4, and Flower Maze stencils and this month’s theme: Happy Holidays – It is a time of year where we are celebrating and coming together and enjoying some merriment. Create something holiday related (whatever holiday you may be celebrating) and enjoy the season!

This month we are celebrating the holiday season and what better way than to create some fun holiday cards. You’re going to love this tutorial because it’s fun, easy, and family friendly. So break out your favorite n*Studio stencils and let’s get started.

I began by drawing a simple tree shape onto craft card stock and cutting it out with a craft knife. I kept both pieces, one we will use as a stencil and the other as a mask.

Using the tree mask and Nat’s Park Blvd 4×4 stencil, I placed the designs down using a low tack washi tape. The mask allows me to protect the area where I don’t want to apply color.

Next, I applied distress ink in blueprint sketch to the Park Blvd. stencil. This creates a lovely halo around the tree.

I placed the tree stencil in the spot where the mask was and applied mowed lawn distress ink. Next, I laid Nat’s Kassel and Flower Maze stencils down and applied lucky clover distress ink over that.

Now is the time to pull out all of your favorite washi tapes. I chose one of my favorites and used a small piece to create the tree trunk. Then, using a Sakura Gelly Roll in black, I outlined my tree and halo.

Now it’s time for the remix! Change up your ink colors, stencil designs, and washi tapes to create different designs. I suggest trading out the Kassel stencil for Nat’s Flower Maze stencil in your trees. Some additional ink colors I used are picked raspberry, wild honey, and shaded lilac. Check out these variations:

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. This would be a great craft to make with your kids and grandkids. There is nothing better than receiving a handmade card around the holidays. If you try out any of this month’s tutorials, be sure to share with us. Happy Holidays!

Thank you Jennifer for this kick off to our December Creative Squad posts – love how doable the cards are and the very fun results – great design!

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

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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Layered Stencil Holiday Cards – DIY Play Date

Last week Kim and I got together to make some holiday cards based on this snowflake card I made for my Deck of Cards Challenge – Kim was really excited about playing with the process. It is so simple and easy and wow does it make some gorgeous cards. We made a stack of layered stencil cards – snowflake inspired designs, patterns that reminded us of stars, and just festive layers of color and shape that would bring joy to the season.

All you need is: blank cards, stencils with a radial pattern, Distress Inks, ink blending tools, masking tape, and some pens or markers to finish them off.

We began applying the Distress ink through a stencil, held in place with masking tape, onto the front of a blank card. Here is my Valley Road stencil.

This one we blended out the color – the inks work really well for blending – and kept the design a single layer. I would later add a top to the design as if it were a tree ornament.

But the real magic happens when you start building up layers of color and pattern. Here is my Toledo stencil as a first layer in blue.

Then we rotated the stencil and added another layer in green. Be sure to have several different ink blending pads for different colors – so you do not contaminate the colors.

The resulting layers of color and pattern have a softness that is quite lovely. Here I added in some extra sparkle and lettering with a fine point pen.

In this way, layering up different stencils with different colors, we created some beautiful holiday cards.

Sometimes we used larger stencils like my Manhattan stencil here, and only stenciled a small part of them.

Here we taped off a part of my Star Struck stencil.

We found that about 3 layers of pattern and color gave us the most successful designs. We also played with the color wheel – the above cards use all warm colors, just perfect for a star.

The above card was made by layering up my Valley Road, Flower Maze, and Grove Street stencils. To really push the snow element, we added my What’s the Point stencil for the dots.

We hope you give this technique a try – get some stencils and ink and try layering up some designs. You will love the results!

Here are some of the supplies we used for these cards:

Have you stopped by my shop yet for my Five Day Frenzy Sale? You can save 25% off ALL physical products – my biggest sale of the year! It’s a great way to take part in Small Business Saturday – we appreciate your support :) Just use the coupon code FRENZYFIVE at checkout to save. Enjoy!

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Mirror Mirror – Linda Edkins Wyatt

Hello from my Creative Squad. Today we have a beautiful collage and stencil project from Linda Edkins Wyatt to inspire you. Linda is using my Manhattan, Ornament Wallpaper, and Versailles stencils and this month’s theme: Mirror Mirror – A mirror can be a reflection of many things. We look into them every day and can see who we are outside and in. But they can also just be a fun visual tool to play with as we flip and reverse images and patterns. Play with reflection this month.

I adore playing with mirror images! But, when I pulled out my Nat Kalbach stencils, I had a Homer Simpson “D’oh!” moment. They were all geometric and already in a mirror image layout! I freaked out a little. I had to move my orderly Virgo mind outside the box to tackle the mirror image theme in a new way.

I didn’t really have any idea of how to create a mirror image with stencils that were already in a mirror image, so I calmed myself by gelli printing in a rainbow of colors, plus black and white.

An interesting aspect of the gelli plate is that after you pull the first print, the image left on the plate is the exact opposite. I got a bit excited when I saw my pile of printed deli paper growing and started thinking about the mirror image using both color and the reverse images.

I love portraits, so I decided to try a face…after all, that’s what you usually see in the mirror, right? I sketched out a face shape, slightly off center, and added marks for the features and hair.

I decided to make her clothing a mirror image. I used both the positive and negative gelli prints and cut them to fit the space I had sketched in pencil.

Next, the background. I again used a positive/negative, but this time one on the left and one on the right.

My concept was that society often sees things in black and white, but inside my head there is usually an explosion of colors and shapes and ideas. To convey that, I decided to have the hair made up of a rainbow of deli paper gelli prints.

When the hair was done, it was time for a face. First, I painted a skin tone. Next, I chose some Jane Davenport washi tape with eyes and a mouth. I added extra paints, colored pencils and posca pens until the face was complete and the washi tape sections blended with my own colors. I tend to subconsciously make my women look like me, so I tried to do a “not Linda face” and went for a deeper, multicultural skin tone.

Once the gelli prints were all on the canvas (I used both a glue stick and Golden heavy gel gloss to adhere the cut paper to the canvas), I wanted to add words, lines and dots. The words were printed on Avery clear mailing labels; I carefully cut them to fit in the white swirls running through her hair. (Be sure to have very clean hands when handling the printed words. Also, using tweezers helps get the words exactly where you want them.)

I also added colored deli paper circles floating in the hair to add visual interest and to spot the colors around the canvas. Since deli paper is sheer and I wanted the circles to pop, I glued the printed deli paper to white cardstock first, then cut the circles and placed them around the canvas.

For the center of the body, I added a pink “button” with the words of encouragement for both the soul and the world: peace, hope and courage.

Thank you Linda! Love that you were able to interpret the theme in a way that inspired you to create such a striking canvas – looks awesome!

Want to give Linda’s project a try? You can find all my Stencils in my Online Shop and here are some of the other supplies she used:

Feel inspired? Working on something yourself that you’d like to share?  I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me or tag me #natkalbach how you used my stencils and stamps – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.

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Stencilbop Challenge Prompt 31

Wow – this is our last day of the Stencilbop Challenge, August 31, and I thought Free Jazz would be a good prompt- I cannot wait to see what you came up with. I chose to mix my manufactured stencil design with some hand cut free form stencils and masks.

I used an acetate sheet and just created some oval shaped forms and cut those out. I used a blending tool and some stamping inks to transfer and stencil into my artjournal.

I used some of the stencils and masks to determine the area to stencil over with my Stencil Girl Products stencils. Here I am applying the Manhattan stencil.

I also added some of my foam stamps as I thought they would go really well with it overall. 

Free cutting some stencils is a great way to personalize your art journal pages and give them that extra oomph. 

I hope you enjoyed this Stencilbop challenge- thank you so much for being part of it- that was super fun! 

Here are some of the supplies I used in this final prompt:

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