Stencils make great backgrounds on journal pages, collage, or fabric. Stencils can be used with spray ink or paint, pan pastels, or chalk. I have a bit of trouble using them with paint (the color slips under the stencil and smears), so I use spray inks.
While stencils work well and provide a lot of versatility, some of them create a problem. They are set in frames that shouldn’t be part of the stencil, but always wind up on the page.
This 6 x 6 TCW (The Crafter’s Workshop) Stencil of a spirograph shows the edge on a 5 x 7 page. No matter how I turn it the frame is still on the page. The edge is useful, though. I use it to pick up the ink-sprayed stencil and make a positive print on another piece of watercolor paper.
While I love the incomplete, dots-and-dash look of the piece, the frame came out here, too, and the heaviness really takes away from the piece. (Yes, I should have purchased the larger version and there would have been no problem, but I did and there is.)
To alter the stencil, I took a pair of scissors and trimmed almost all of the edging off.
The upper left-hand corner still has the frame. Not only does it help stabilize this stencil, it also give me a handle to place the stencil steadily and evenly.
Now, the stencil is far more attractive on a page. I can adjust the corner frame to place it so it doesn’t show up on the page at all.
I’m careful when I choose stencils, looking to find those that don’t need or have a frame. (I just purchased two stencils with numbers–a positive and a negative, but that will be another post.) Sometimes the one I want has a frame, but it’s good to know it can be altered and put to good use.
—Quinn McDonald is a creativity coach and an art journaler. She’s also the author of Raw Art Journaling, Making Meaning, Making Art.