Thursday 10 August 2017

Post 238: Ideas on How to Use Stencils/Tips/Techniques- Guest Designing for ICraft (Stencils)- August, 2017

Hi friends :)

How are you this Friday ?

This is a general blog post in which I will be sharing a little bit about stencils, how to use them, some ideas and tips along with a few helpful youtube videos I found on the subject. There is tons of information out there and the only thing to remember is to have fun and just play with your supplies and see what you come up with :)  

I think Stencils are a great supply to stock up on in one’s craft stash and these are my reasons:-
  • They are a durable resource, once bought, one can use them again and again, for years together as long as one uses them gently and keeps them clean
  • There are many techniques one can do with stencils and we can use them with multiple products so it is a very versatile product to play with.
  • It is easy to use and quite intuitive, so for the most part, one doesn’t need any special supplies or skills to use them
  • It is an economical supply. Compared to certain other art and craft supplies we buy, stencils tend to be more affordable.
  • They are easy to store. Depending on the size, how many we have and how often we require them. As they are flat, they can be easily stored in folders or files or can even be hung on hooks.
  • They are easily available. Stencils are available from many vendors now- Indian and International. We can even create our own stencils and masks using dies or cut our own designs using machines like the cameo. They are also available locally at stationery shops. So we have loads of options
Some of the ways in which stencils can be used/Techniques:- 

1) Heat Embossing- We can do heat embossing using a stencil and essentially create a heat embossed pattern just like we do when we heat emboss with stamps. 

How to:
  • Prep the cardstock with an anti-static powder pouch (some corn flour or baby powder sewn into a cloth pouch does the job) by dabbing it onto the cardstock
  • Then use a blending tool and foam to dab some versamark watermark ink or any other embossing ink you own (ranger/simon says stamp etc) through the stencil 
  • Then sprinkle embossing powder over the design and use a heat tool to melt it.

  • Dabbing is to go in a soft up and down motion with the blending tool and foam on the design instead of circular motions which is what we usually do while ink blending, this is to get a cleaner embossed image. If we use the mini ink pad directly onto the stencil, often, too much ink transfers and in case of delicate patterned stencils, like florals, the design is lost. So it is best to use a foam with embossing ink and go over the design twice to ensure that the whole surface is inked up.
  • Tape down the cardstock first and then tape down the stencil over it, while inking, else one of them might shift and ruin the design
  • Medical Micropore Tape (easily available at pharmacies) is a good and economical option to tape down cardstock as it doesn’t tear paper
  • Heat the heat tool for a few seconds before you bring it to the paper to minimize warping and paper curling
  • You could even use an embossing pen (Ranger/Versamark) to trace through the design or a versamark refill bottle, see what you have on hand and experiment!
  • To clean the sticky ink off the stencil, some warm soapy water helps or a little bit of some stamp cleaner, I have tried rubber stamp cleaner and staz on cleaner (remember to gently wash off the stencil with water after using any chemicals).
2) Dry Embossing- So this is when we use a stencil to emboss the design onto the cardstock (similar to what we do with an embossing folder).

Here are a few youtube videos to help you in case, you haven’t ever done it before:
Using make shift mouse pads--- here
Using Spellbinders tan pad----here 
Using Sizzix Silicone and Impressions Pads---here 

Just remember, to experiment and see what works in your die cutting machine, since all machines are slightly different. Watching a few video tutorials is always helpful and remember to never force anything through your machines.

In my Sizzix Bigshot Plus Machine, this is the sandwich I used.

Bottom to top: Platform+ Sizzix Impressions Pad (this is a hard pad) + Sizzix Silicone Rubber Pad (this is a squishy pad) + Cardstock + Stencil+ Cutting Plate (I did not use either of the 2 adapters A or B because with the above sandwich I got the impression I was looking for, no more pressure was required)

3)  Sponging and Ink Blending

Usually done with Distress Oxide Inkpads and Distress Inkpads. Distress Oxides blend very well and are very smooth. The only thing to remember with these is that the color does lighten a bit over time. Just use a blending tool and foams and blend over the design, it is one of the easiest and prettiest ways of using stencils. Use a light touch and move in a circular motion to get the best blend. In case, there is an intricate design with many little projections, best to lightly dab over those parts, else the foam may bend those areas in the stencil and spoil it. 

4)Texture Paste/Modeling Paste/Impasto/Embossing Paste/Crackle Paste/Heavy Body Acrylic Paints etc

Basically, one can use stencils with most types of pastes, these vary in (viscosity) thickness, texture and final look. By using a palette knife, it is fairly simple to apply any of these pastes through a stencil. They give a textured 3-D look to the design. One can even color these pastes to create customized pastes. For example with distress inks, acrylic paints, ink sprays or markers.  Just scribble some color/spray some ink onto the craft sheet and mix in some modeling paste. Then use a palette knife to spread the paste through the stencil in a swooping motion much like applying icing to a cake.


Thinner acrylic paints don’t work so well with stencils since they tend to run under the design and we tend not to get a perfect image.

5) Gelli Printing

Gelli Printing is basically mono printing without a press. In simple words, it is a way to get unexpected and fun designs which are totally unique. We can use many texture tools (soft, so the plate doesn’t get damaged) to create patterns onto the plate (like thread, feathers, leaves, corrugated cardboard, net, fingers, rubber stamps which should be cleaned immediately afterwards, cling wrap, scrunched up paper, bubble wrap, bottle caps, lace etc) . The gelli plate itself is a soft gelatin like thing. We apply acrylic paints on it with a brayer or roller and then apply paper over top and pull it off to get a unique print. Now the fun actually happens when we create patterns and designs onto the plate. Stencils are great to use for gelli printing since we can get the negative as well as positive image from a stencil along with layered patterns. So for example along with a stencil design, I can add some thread and corrugated cardboard patterns for multiple layered designs on one print. These prints are great to use in mixed media especially in art journaling.


Just remember to immerse the stencils in soapy water (once you are done with each design) while gelli printing so that it is easier to clean them once all the printing is done. Same holds true while using stencils with any kind of pastes. 

6) Ghosting/Faux Bleaching/Water Stamping

The actual design of the stencil is bleached with water and the negative area of the stencil remains colored with inks.

How to:
  • Blend some distress inks/distress oxide inks onto a cardstock
  • Apply a stencil over top and spray it with water
  • Remove the stencil carefully and wait for a few seconds
  • Then blot off the sprayed water from the cardstock with a paper towel
  • You will be left with a bleached design since distress inks react with water 

7) Monoprinting with stencils- spray/smoosh inks onto the stencil and then spray with some water. Then use the stencil to stamp onto some cardstock.
You can check out a beautiful tutorial on youtube for this technique.----Here

8)  Some other Ideas:
  • Using markers, pencils or pens to trace through a stencil
  • Using the stencil creatively to make other patterns than the ones it was originally intended for. To check out a previous blog post where I did that, click here. I basically converted a christmas tree stencil into a venn diagram. 
  • Turning and shifting the stencil, we can get some interesting patterns especially with geometrical designs by turning the stencils at an angle or by shifting it slightly at each subsequent inking.
  • Water coloring through a stencil. To check out a previous blog post where I did that, click here.

That's all the theory done :)

Today, I am Guest Designing for ICraft using their pretty stencils :) You can check out their Facebook page here and if you'd like to order any of their stencils, this is the link.

I have Eleven cards and a Mixed Media Layout to share today. I made these using icraft stencils. 

These are the stencil designs I worked with. 

You can check out my projects in my facebook album here
(I will be blogging about each project separately in the next few days.)

Thanks a lot for your time :)
Hopefully, it wasn't too boring. 
Love reading your sweet comments. 
Stay Blessed and Happy Crafting. 


  1. This is one wonderful post with all the techniques covered for stencil uses! Very information and one-stop for my inspirations next time! Thank you so much Preety! :)

  2. Whoaa.. that's a treasure post! I am have always found out intimidating to use stencils.. But Preety you make it sound so easy! I have to give a shot to it now :)

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Such a lovely detailed post about stencils. And I really love the pic of the stencils u put in d end. A crafter's delight definitely.

  5. Wonderful tips and tutorial. Learned quite a few new tricks, thanks for sharing.