Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Stencils and Paint

Hello crafters, Kirsten here with my regular Tuesday blog post.
We’ve spent the last few weeks using stencils with inks & Sparkle Medium, so I thought I would do a post about using acrylic paint through stencils, something I do a lot on my own projects. I would say that the two most important things to remember with this technique are:
Less is more
Take your time
I used Martha Stewart acrylic paints for this project. I hadn’t used them before & I’m quite impressed. They’re not too runny, the coverage is good, they mix well with other colours. They dry quickly on card/paper/canvas etc., but you’ve got plenty of working time & very importantly for me, they’re not shiny when they dry. I do not like shiny paint. These have a slight chalky finish, which means you can stamp on top of them with permanent ink.
They’re not on the website yet, but Lisa does have a selection of colours for sale at £2.60 each for a 59ml bottle,  or 5 for £10, which is great value. There are other colours, apart from what I’ve used here, so if you’re interested drop Lisa an email, lisabaker1@btinternet.com, or they’ll be on sale at the next class on April 4.
The colours I used are:
  • Pollen
  • Sea Lavender
  • Hailstorm
  • Summer Linen

You’ll also need some pieces of Cut & Dry Foam, or cosmetic sponges.


I used the Imagination Crafts Bubble stencil for this project. The circles are nicely defined, so it’s easy to see if the paint seeps beyond them.


The first thing to remember is that paint is quite liquid, if you use too much it will go where you don’t want it to. Put some paint onto your craft sheet/paper plate/tile & dab your piece of C&D foam into the paint. Then, remove MOST of the paint by dabbing onto your craft sheet/piece of scrap paper.  This not only removes paint, it also works what’s left into the foam, giving you more paint than you realise.
To show you the difference between too much & the right amount of paint I used the Pollen paint on two pieces of scrap card. Below, I applied the paint without dabbing it off first & pushed it firmly though the stencil. Clicking on the pictures will show you that the circles are not evenly defined. The paint has spread beyond them & is quite thick in places.


On the second piece of card, I removed most of the paint & used a light tapping motion to apply it through the stencil. Result; the circles look better & there's a gradation of colour. As I said above, it’s easier to add than to take away. Remember that there will still be plenty of paint on the foam after removing it, so keep lightly tapping through the stencil until there’s virtually no colour visible before adding more paint.
Using so little paint will not only give you a better result, but when the stencil is removed, the paint will be almost dry, all it needs is a quick blast with a heat tool before continuing with the next layer.


Onto the background proper. I started with Sea Lavender, working from the top left corner to the bottom right.


Moving on to Hailstorm, starting at the lower right & moving upwards to cover the Sea Lavender. Use even less paint at this stage, you want to see a hint of the underlying colour.
At this stage you can easily add more paint. Just replace the stencil correctly, start again with the base colour & repeat until the colour is what you want.


After another quick blast with the heat tool, it was time for another layer. This time I used the Hex/Bubble stencil from Glitz Craft with the Pollen paint. When I used this on the demonstration pieces above I decided it was going to be too bright for my background, so I mixed it with some Summer Linen – very easy to do, just squeeze out some of both colours & mix with a spatula. Again, use small amounts of Summer Linen first & add more bit by bit until you get the colour you want.


The Pollen/Summer Linen mix was still too bright, so I toned it down by swiping more Summer Linen over the top with a clean baby wipe. I did this a few times, drying each time, until I was happy. Using a wet baby wipe is a very easy way to apply layers of paint, much easier than a brush & water when you want quick coverage. Always remember to dry between layers.

That’s it, a very quick, simple background ready for the next stage. Which I will show you tomorrow. I’ll also give you some tips about cleaning your stencils. If you’ve got some acrylic paints - any kind will do to practice with - get some scrap paper & a stencil & have a play. Take your time, don’t worry about making a mess, just get to know how to apply the paint for the best result. Do use too much to start with, push the paint through the stencil to see how it seeps underneath, then start again. And don't discard those practice pieces. You never know when they’ll come in handy…………. #justsaying
And don't forget to rinse out the pieces of Cut & Dry/cosmetic sponges & leave to dry, you'll get a few uses out of them.
Bubble      Hex Bubble     
Until tomorrow, thanks for looking.


  1. Kirsten. Thank you so much for these tips. I bought some stencils at the weekend and have some old acrylic paints I was going to play with this week!! Perfect timing. I think I'd better wait for tomorrow's tips on cleaning the stencils before I start though. Looking forward to the next episode. Jan

  2. It's kind of hard to judge how much paint there is on a piece of foam, I have some stencil brushes somewhere that I need to try, it might just be easier for me!

    1. We all find what works for us, which is what it's all about. I will use brushes for applying inks, or with paint if I'm not using stencils. I prefer sponges with stencils because I get most of the paint off onto scrap paper & I use that paper in my journals afterwards. If I've put the paint onto my craft sheet I use baby wipes to clean, then when they're dry, I use them in my journals too.

  3. Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great technique and will certainly give it a go.

  4. hi, martha stewart knows good craft stuff, look forward to the big reveal tomorrow, x


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