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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Printing Tutorial 2 - Creating Stencils

(This post is part of a series - learn how to create your own silk screen to use with these stencils here)

I have started to create stencils for screen-printing onto items that will be on sale shortly at the Showtime Stitches Etsy shop, and I thought I'd give you all a quick how-to, to go with my earlier post on creating your own screen for printing.

Stencil making is easy and extremely versatile - although complicated designs take a little more time and working out, they are possible. Layering simple stencil designs printed with different colours can give an interesting effect (and a clever illusion of complexity!), or you could stick with block images. Honestly the possibilities are endless...so let's get started!

What you will need:

 - Paper/card (regular printer paper is too thin, but card needs to be easy to cut, no more than 1mm thick)
 - A sharp craft knife
 - Cutting board (if you don't have one, use a thick, stiff piece of scrap cardboard)
 - Pencil/pen

Step 1

Find yourself a clear space to work, with a flat and smooth surface. For me (having just turned 18, living with my family but sadly not living in a house with a huge number of spare rooms) my art studio is currently my bedroom floor... So don't lose hope people! As long as you have any kind of clean-ish place to work, you can make beautiful things! Trust me!

Step 2

Design your stencil - draw it out as neatly and clearly as possible with a pen or sharp pencil. It might help to have with you some images for inspiration and reference - I'm using the 'Circus' book (I'll post about this soon, it's a really great book!). If you design becomes complicated, shade in areas that you will cut out. Make sure that no unshaded/unprinted area is isolated. By this I mean that you won't be able to have floating bits of card to stop paint when it comes to printing, so make sure you use little tabs that won't be cut to keep pieces in place. (You can probably see I messed up a bit with this on the 'c' in 'spectacular'!)

Step 3

Using your knife, cut the stencil out. Clearing up all the tiny bits of cut paper can be annoying, so keep them collected as you go along! Once your stencil is all cut, you're ready to print with it. Use a silk screen or sponge with paint - and remember, your stencil can be used over and over so don't chuck it away!

My first print didn't work out too well, although I do like the texture achieved by using less paint...

Here's my second try, worked a little better I think!

And here's a quick test I did with the stencil after printing with it - I like the texture, reminds me of old newspapers somehow?

Want to create your own screen for printing with these stencils? Click here for a tutorial!

Let me know how your stencils turn out, leave a comment below!

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