Stencils are a great tool to use for creating images and effects on just about any creative project. You can decorate a journal with them, create card backgrounds and textures, use in your paintings, or in home décor projects. Imagine’s inkpads, inks, sprays, and texture mediums can all be used with stencils. In addition, Imagine has you covered with applicators such as Sponge Daubers, Palette knives, and Stipple brushes. In this article, I’ll discuss some ways to organize, use with different products, proper care and cleaning your stencils.
Organizing Your Stencils
There many ways to organize your stencils. One excellent way is to search crafting, office and home goods stores for options on storage containers. Whichever you choose, it’s important to lay them flat. I think on of the best ways to keep them flat is to use dividers in storage bins or drawers. File folders can be found in office supply stores. Label your dividers by type, theme, or designer. Another way to store stencils in a three-ring binder book inside plastic page protectors. Place color cardstock paper so that you can see the stencil and maximize storage by storing two stencils on one sheet.
If you have an open crafting space then hang stencils with metal hook clips on a rack. I like the idea of hanging my stencils because I can easily go through them and find what I am looking for. I punch a hole in the corners of my stencils and place them in a binder ring.
I have an IKEA wooden shelving unit to store my crafting storage bins. I’ve attached long screws on the side to hang my stencils. Hanging them freed up space and I can easily access them. Some alternatives are to hang them on a clothes hanger with a metal hook or binder clips, store them flat in bins or drawer or hang them on revolving wire three-tier shoe rack with a metal hook or binder clips.
Stenciling with Imagine Inks
Imagine’s Inkblushers and Sponge Daubers work great with stencils because the soft sponge material presses ink down past the edges of the stencil’s details. The sponges produce sharp edges and finely detailed inking better than most other tool. If you have a highly detailed stencil, the sponge materials are especially handy for getting into small and intricate opening, or getting around the tight areas of the stencil.
Stenciling with All-Purpose Ink and Inkblushers. Add a couple of ink drops to your crafting mat and pounce the Inkblusher over the ink. Inkblushers are highly absorbent and work well with Imagine’s All-Purpose Inks.
Inkblushers can also be used to stencil with acrylic paints. Like with inks, you can get clean edges and good detail. Wash the Inkblusher under running water immediately. If you cannot get to the sink right away, wipe off as much paint as you can and then keep it in water, like your paintbrush water. If left out without being washed, the paint will dry and harden the Inkblusher. Unfortunately, the paint cannot be washed out. However, all is not lost; only the area that had the paint will harden, and not harden the entire sponge. Using your scissors, cut off the piece with the hardened paint and continue to use.
Imagine’s Jumbo Daubers provide fine detailed inking. The handle allows you to have great control and pressure over the stencils. Imagine’s Jumbo Daubers also work great Acrylic paints. Add a few drops of paint to your craft mat, pounce the Dauber on the paint, then pounce the Dauber onto a clean area on your mat. Get the paint evenly on the Dauber and avoid globs of paint. If you get too much paint on the Dauber, it will go under the stencil.
Imagine’s Creative Mediums are smooth acrylic pastes that provide yummy textures for any project. This is where stencils are very different from stamps because you can create an image with texture. Use Imagine’s palette knives and Squeegee to add the Creative Medium. Silver Metallic Creative Medium using a palette knife. Imagine’s Multi-purpose Squeegee has a wider surface; perfect for using with larger stencils with large openings. Use a palette knife to add the medium onto the Squeegee.
Imagine’s Fireworks Craft Spray makes stenciling a breeze. To get clean patterns, start spraying from the outside edges of the paper and spray inwards. Change up the starting point and spray. By starting from the outside, avoids harsh spray edges or heavy splotches of ink. Clean up is easy, simply wipe off your stencil and craft mat with a dry paper/cotton towel. To double down on the stencil effects you can “stamp” the wet ink from the stencil onto another piece of cardstock.
Create unique effects with Imagine Stipple brushes. These brushes have a flat, firm bristle head for stippling. It can be used on just about any surface. They are great for stenciling on fabric for getting into the grain. This creates patterns of fine dots by pouncing the brush onto the substrate. Scumble by brushing at a slight angle in a random fashion. This creates brushstrokes and because of brush’s firm bristles, it won’t get under the stencil.
Cleaning the Stencils
One of the hardest things about working with stencils is cleaning them. Even so, keeping your stencils clean will help to maintain clean edges, last longer and you’ll have a clean stencil for your next project. The key to success for keeping stencils clean, regardless of the medium, is to clean them immediately with a wet paper/cloth towel or baby wipe. Depending on the medium you will have ink/paint residue.
When using pigment inks, All-Purpose Ink, or dye inks, wipe the stencil immediately with a wet paper/cloth towel, or baby wipe. Since these inks are water-based the stencil will clean up quickly and completely. When using permanent inks, simply wiping the stencil off with water, will not get it clean. Use a stamp cleaner or Rubbing Alcohol to clean your stencil. Imagine’s StazOn All-Purpose Stamp Cleaner works well for cleaning ink off your stencils. Dab the cleaner on the stencil and wipe with a dry paper/cloth towel. The cleaner tends to leave a little bit of an oily residue. Simply wipe it off with a clean wet paper/cloth towel.
Acrylics paints are harder on stencils than inks. Acrylic paint can leave heavy buildup on your stencils and distort the edges. As with inks, clean the stencil immediately after using with a wet paper/cloth towel or baby wipe. Get as much paint off of it, as possible.
Use a cleaning or nail brush and soap to clean your stencils. Mix handwashing/dishwashing or Artist Painter’s type soap with water in a container. Dip the brush and scrub the paint off the stencil. Lay the stencil flat and rub gently, avoid bending the openings.