Tips for Using and Creating Your Own Stencils

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

If you have yet to dabble in the world of stencil design, this is a great place to start! Even if you are a seasoned pro, maybe we’ll share something that you haven’t thought of yet. Either way, stick with us and then share with us some of your thoughts and ideas in the comment section that follows!

A stencil is a material with a cut-out design to which you apply your choice of pigment in order to transfer the design onto a separate surface. The benefits of using a stencil range from helping those of us who struggle with drawing a straight line ( ✋🏼 we’re all welcome here!) to those of us who like to create and duplicate intricate patterns, time and time again, quickly and with ease.

Stencils can be made of all sorts of materials and created in a myriad of ways. What we share here is just a sliver of the possibilities these multifaceted tools are capable of.

MATERIAL OPTIONS

The very first step in stencil design is determining the product you want to use for your stencil. You can purchase ready-made stencils or create your own. If you are creating your own, consider the following information about these popular materials:

Stencil Sheets. Our stencil sheets are made from a medium weight stencil film. They can be machine cut, die cut, or paper punched and used with wet and dry applications. The see-through quality of stencil sheets, makes stencil placement easy—this is especially useful if you are layering images. Stencil sheets are the most durable way to go if you are hoping to reuse a stencil over and over again.

Cardstock. Stencils cut from cardstock have a limited use but are very economical. Placement can be tricky, however, since you can’t see through the stencil. Cardstock is great for edge stencils and positive shapes.

Vellum Paper. Vellum stencils work a lot like those cut from stencil sheets, but with one major drawback. These can only be used for dry applications and cannot be washed off. They are also not as durable as stencil sheets.

TIPS FOR USING MACHINE-CUT STENCILS

1. Get the most out of machine-cut stencils by choosing layered shapes. Always keep all of the negative pieces and store them together with the stencil. You never know when you may want to use one of these pieces for additional texture, color, or dimension in your art.

2. Use the contour feature (in Cricut Design Space™) to make multiple stencils from a single image. Block out different parts of the image for each of the different stencils. This will allow you to create unique designs, but also to easily separate colors in different sections of the image if you want to use the stencils together, like we did with the two flower cards you see here.

3. Use basic shapes to weld images onto and to restructure shapes for easier stenciling. To create the cloud stencils, above, we welded cloud shapes (#M418DFA) onto a rectangle base. If your shapes don’t quite cover the size “base” you need or want, remember that you can easily duplicate and resize your shapes to make them work. When you are using a stencil like this one, move it around on the page as you add the color, or flip it over and use the back, to create variety from the one stencil pattern.

TIPS FOR USING DIE-CUT STENCILS

4. Just like we suggested for machine-cut stencils, keep both the positive and negative pieces that are made when you cut a stencil from a Thin Cuts die. They may be used for different looks and effects.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

5. Create stencils from stamp coordinating Thin Cuts, too! You can use these alone or to add dimension to a stamped image.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

The butterfly above was sponged with color then stamped. Use these sorts of stencils directly on your projects or cut them out, like we did here.

6. Make letter and word stencils out of stencil sheets. You want these to be as durable as possible because these generally get used a lot.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

7. Keep the separate letters of favorite “words” together in a storage envelope for quick access. Make sure to keep the negative space pieces as well. Take a look at the letters “a,” “p,” and “o,” below. Easily attach these to your stencil with a small amount of adhesive tape to have ready to place and use when needed.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

8. Explore different media to use with your stencils.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

If you use alcohol markers, these can bleed slightly past your stencil image, as you see in the red Y. Metallic markers are another option. These work especially well on darker papers (see the Y on black cardstock). For a more textured look, consider heat embossing. Using embossing ink pens, like on the Y on the blue cardstock, you can have a more controlled inking experience, like you would with a marker. Use your stencils to create dimensional, shadow effects, too. In the case of the Y on the green cardstock above, we used the negative stencil shape to color in a black shadow with a journaling pen, then attached a die-cut paper Y on top, slightly offset.

TIPS FOR USING SPECIALTY INKS WITH STENCILS

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

9. Achieve a subtle shadow, watermark-type look by using embossing ink with your stencils. You can dab the VersaMark™ ink pad straight through your stencil and onto your art, or have a more controlled inking experience using embossing ink pens.

10. Use inks from our Exclusive Inks™ re-inker bottles or ink squeezed out from our shimmer brushes with a sponge or dauber. Add the ink to an all-purpose mat and pick it up with a sponge (or dauber), then pounce the sponge on a scratch piece of paper to remove some of the excess ink before adding it to your project through the stencil.

Of course, you can use a shimmer brush directly on your artwork, too, without squeezing out the ink, for a brushed on ink effect. It will look different than the pounced-with-a-sponge look. Similarly, you can also use a waterbrush to brush on the Exclusive Inks™.

Now that we’ve given you a few tips on how to make and use stencils, let’s explore a few ideas on how to store them. In the video below, our Creative Arts Manager, Karen, shares several tips:

(Here’s the link for the Design Space file Karen mentions in the video!)

Stencils are a great way to quickly and easily add dimensional elements and general pizzazz to artwork. Do you use stencils? Let us know in the comments below how you incorporate this versatile tool in your art!

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Thinking Beyond the Lines with Unique Thin Cuts!

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

One of the quickest and simplest ways to dress up your artwork is to add a unique Thin Cuts die-cut (or a few) to the mix! Our Thin Cuts metal dies are easy to use and produce gorgeous die-cuts time and time again. Let’s look at some of the more unique Thin Cuts from our July–August catalog and explore the various ways to use them to maximize creativity!

First up, we have our Isabella–Cardmaking Stamp + Thin Cuts set. This Thin Cuts set includes five metal dies and features the large “Love” and “You” and banner dies.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

These dies make an impression all on their own, but when you pair them with the intricate patterns in the accompanying Isabella—Cardmaking stamps, it takes them to a whole new level! Combining these stamps and the larger dies results in dimension that literally bursts off the page. When you create with these dies and stamps, you can either stamp on the die-cut after it’s been cut out of the paper, or you can stamp on paper and then use the Thin Cuts to cut your image. It’s completely up to you!

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

Next, let’s take a look at the Isabella—Scrapbooking Stamp + Thin Cuts set. A few of the floral stamps and dies in this set have been specifically designed to layer over each other for greater dimension within these images. This results in more metal dies, but with our magnetic carrier sheets, you’ll never have to worry about losing a piece.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

With these duplicated stamp images and die-cut outlines, you can easily combine them for a more dimensional image, larger image clusters, or you can use them separately for even more floral fun! To get the most out of these stamps and Thin Cuts, we recommend attaching them with 3-D foam tape.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

The last die we’re looking at is the Butterfly Background Thin Cuts. This fun, stand-alone die yields an intricate image with a variety of delicate stitched butterflies and floral cut-outs. Because this die includes so many small or delicate pieces, you may find that you have a few left over at the end of your project, but don’t throw them out! You can always save the smaller pieces as accents to use in other projects whenever you’re looking for a unique embellishment.

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

One of our favorite ways to use this die is to cut several layers in various colors, patterns, or textures and allow them to peek through the cut-out portions, while leaving the larger stitched butterflies at the forefront. This die even allows for the butterflies to have lifted wings, bringing your artwork to life!

Die-cutting with Thin Cuts #closetomyheart #ctmh #thincuts #diecutting #die-cuts #ctmhisabella #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

For a more in-depth look at how you can maximize the Thin Cuts and stamps showcased above, check out this video, where our Creative Arts manager, Karen Pedersen, takes you through her creative process with each of these dies and stamp sets!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this highlight of a few of our more unique Thin Cuts! If you like what you’ve seen here today or have some ideas of how you’d like to use the dies and stamps, leave us a comment below!


RECIPES

4ÂĽ” x 5½” Love You Card (Horizontal)
Z3969 Isabella—Cardmaking Stamp + Thin Cuts, X7270S Isabella Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, X7270C Isabella Coordinating Cardstock, X6030 Evergreen Cardstock, Z6504 Sage Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4191 Silver Glitter Gems, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine

8½” x 11″ Live Your Best Life Page
Z3963 Isabella—Scrapbooking Stamp + Thin Cuts, X7270S Isabella Paper Packet + Sticker Sheet, X6036 Ballerina Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2825 Mink Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, X7270E Isabella Acrylic Shapes, Z3132 Watercolor Paints, Z3224 Small Round Waterbrush, Z2089 Glue Dots® Micro Dots, Z1151 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine, Pencil

4ÂĽ” x 5½” Love You Card (Vertical)
A1243 My Acrylix® Teeny Tiny Type Stamp Set, X9030 Mix-in Paper Packet, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X6032 Wisteria Cardstock, Z3271 Archival Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z4213 Silver Embellishing Thread, Z3961 Butterfly Background Thin Cuts, Z3515 Black Journaling Pen (.01), Cricut® Basic Shapes, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine

Cricut® Shape:
Basic Shapes
#M369879

4ÂĽ” x 5½” Love You Card (Vertical)
C1900 Isabella—Cardmaking Stamp Set, X6036 Ballerina Cardstock, X6037 Bluebird Cardstock, X6039 Carolina Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, Z2805 Black Exclusive Inks™ Stamp Pad, Z4304 Silver Loose Sequins, Z3559 Waterfall Stickles™ Glitter Glue, Z3961 Butterfly Background Thin Cuts, Z2089 Glue Dots® Micro Dots, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine


4ÂĽ” x 5½” Thanks Card (Vertical)

A1243 My Acrylix® Teeny Tiny Type Stamp Set, X9030 Mix-in Paper Packet, X6048 Blue Belle Cardstock, X6054 Grape Cardstock, X6041 Lilac Cardstock, 1385 White Daisy Cardstock, X6032 Wisteria Cardstock, Z891 VersaMark™ Ink Pad, Z1263 Bitty Sparkles, Z3274 Clear Sparkles, Z3961 Butterfly Background Thin Cuts, Z2068 White Super Fine Embossing Powder, Z4220 Anti-static Pouch, Z4252 Heat Tool, Z2060 Thin 3-D Foam Tape, Die-cutting & Embossing Machine

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