Fabric Painting 101: Simple Stencils

Today we’ll do a simple two-color stencil.  You will need freezer paper, a Pigma pen, fabric, paint, a Styrofoam plate and a stencil brush.


There are many books on stenciling that cover shading, blending, highlighting, gilding and other techniques.  These books provide more depth than I can here.  If you are interested in those techniques, check out your library or bookstore for those resources.


First, trace your design onto freezer paper with a Pigma pen.  I use Pigma pen so I don’t have to worry about my tracing lines bleeding onto my fabric. 

                 simple stencil #1 


Any design can become a stencil, or you can draw your own.  Mine came from Moon Night Pattern by Rebecca Carter. 


Cut out each section of the stencil using small, sharp scissors.


Adhere the stencil to your fabric with a hot, dry iron.  To center the stencil, mark the vertical and horizontal midpoints.  Fold the fabric in half vertically and horizontally.  Match the fold lines to the stencil marks.  Your fabric should be a light color, but it doesn’t have to be white.

               simple syencil #2 


We could get all fancy here with multiple stencils and registration lines, but we won’t.  I try not to make things harder than they are.  You can see the trunk is very close to the top of the tree.  Since I don’t want to get green in the trunk section, I’m covering it with blue painter’s tape.  You could also use a sticky note or any other tape that pulls off easily.


Either pin or tape the fabric down to foamcore board, cardboard, etc.


Using a stencil brush, pounce the paint onto the fabric.  The key to crisp stencil lines is a well-adhered stencil, dry fabric and a dry brush with just a little paint.  I tap my brush out on a Styrofoam plate to minimize the amount of paint on the brush. 

                simple stencil #3 


You can also use a gentle brushing motion for a different look.  A piece of kitchen sponge will work if you don’t have a stencil brush.


Let the paint dry.  Remove your masking and move it to the painted area.  A few seconds with the hairdryer will dry the paint if you’re in a hurry.


Paint the second color.

              simple stencil #4 


Once the paint is dry, remove the masking and the stencil.

             simple stencil #5 


Next time we’ll do a more complicated stencil using a slightly different technique.

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