There are many ways to use stencils in card making which are simple to use but give stylish results. They can be used as a central design or to make background patterns. A stencil is a sheet of paper, card, plastic or brass which has a design cut through it. It can be used in many ways.
Cutting Your Own Stencils
You can make your own stencils at home with basic equipment by cutting through paper or card (an old cereal packet is ideal). However by using paper or card the stencils can only be used once or maybe twice before they are thrown away because they become soggy with the paint.
Brass Stencils for Dry Embossing
Stencils can be used in conjunction with a light box for dry embossing. This is where the paper or card stock is placed onto the light box with the stencil underneath, then using an embossing tool to press down around the image to stretch the paper fibres giving a raised effect. The stencils for dry embossing are usually brass and these can be used for other types of stencilling.
Peel-Offs as Stencils
If you don’t have a ready made stencil and are not confident of cutting your own design, then you can use a peel-off sticker as a stencil. The same principle is used where the peel-off sticker is placed on to the card and colour applied through the gaps in the design. The peel-off is then removed to reveal the outline.
With a brass stencil you can apply colour through the design to transfer to the paper or card below. The medium used could be acrylic paint, coloured chalks, ink from a rubber stamp ink pad etc. This can be applied using a sponge, brush or sprayed through using a mister. There are also special pastes which can be spread through a stencil which give a raised, 3-D effect.
Choose your stencil and card stock. Remember all paper and card types have different absorbency depending on the colouring medium you are using so it may be best to test a small piece first. Place your stencil onto card and secure in place with low tack tape.
Here a piece of regular sponge has been cut from a larger block to make it more manageable. It is then dabbed in to an ink pad to pick up the colour. Dab it is several times.
Now gently press the sponge through the stencil. You will see the colour transfer to the card stock. Continue pressing the sponge to colour the areas. You will need to pick up more colour from the ink pad. When the area has been coloured carefully remove the stencil from the card. You can now reposition the stencil over another area and repeat to make a background design all over the card. Or you can change colour by using a new piece of sponge and different coloured ink pad. Clean the stencil if you are changing colours.
Note: Always clean the stencil before putting it away.