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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Make and Use a Stencil Using Cricut Expression

My family and many of my friends know how much I adore French inspired creations and design. The flourish of the curly-cues and curves are so appealing. An image of the Eiffel Tower in any form sets my imagination into high gear. It will come as no surprise to people who know me well that when I feel the desire to get creative, it is often with a French flair. So, when pondering what to make for Joanne, a dear friend of mine, I designed the stenciled pillow covers shown in this post. 

I constructed the pillow cover/shams myself from a twin sized white cotton sheet and embellished the opening edges with black grosgrain ribbon before sewing the side seam together. If you prefer not to sew your own, you can purchase a pair and begin from there. This image could be reduced a little in size and applied to hand towels, etc.

My Cricut Expression was used to make the stencil for the design and the cartridge used was Storybook. The design used was a flower design which is associated with the letter "W" on the key pad. I set the size dial to 8(eight)inches. You see, this is a big design!





 





























Since I couldn't seem to locate any of the stencil design blank sheets I usually keep for this purpose, I resorted to using this large sheet of scrapbook paper that was on hand. As you can see, it covers the whole mat, which is what it needed to do because, as I said, this is quite a large design. This is definitely not my first choice of material to use for stenciling and I recommend using stencil making sheets, or at least a heavier paper. As stated earlier, this was the first thing I found with the size I needed at my moment of inspiration. You fellow crafters know what I am saying. I was on a mission!



After cutting out the image with the Cricut and carefully removing the image from the sheet of paper, what remained of the paper(less the image)was used as my stencil. When using this type paper, it is important to remove the sheet of paper very slowly and carefully, as it is thin and will tear if you tug at it. Also, since this paper is porous, it had to be sealed, so that when paint was applied, it would not bleed through onto the fabric. So, I took it outside onto the deck(which is in need of painting)and sprayed it with several light coats of Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer. The spray was applied 3 times on one side, allowing it to dry in between coats. The sheet was then flipped over and the sealer was applied 3 times to the reverse side, allowing to dry in between coats.

I allowed the sealed stencil to dry completely and then used the Elmer's spray adhesive seen in this picture beside the can of Mod Podge and let it dry to the "tacky" stage. It was placed, tacky side down, where I wanted my painted image to be situated.[Hint: I had folded the pillow cover and put a light crease at each center point, both lengthwise and crosswise. I also put a tiny light crease at the approximate center of the stencil itself, both directions, I then matched up the little crease marks on both the pillow cover and the stencil, to establish the center placement of my image.] I then applied the paint, using several light coats. It is important not to overload the paint or you might end up with a blobby mess or paint where you don't want it.















For painting on fabric and using stencils or when block or screen printing, I use Speedball paints. I have found them dependable, durable and of good quality. This stuff can be washed many times without it fading. For this pillow sham/cover project, Speedball's Black Opaque Fabric Paint was used. Also used was a sponge stencil paint applicator but I can't seem to locate the picture that I took where I was using this to paint the pillow cover/sham. FYI, this is the kind with a flat sponge on either end of the little handle, with one fairly large sponge attached to one end and you flip to the other end to use a smaller attached sponge. These are good for that "pouncing" action used when stenciling. The 2 sided applicator is good for using when the spaces in your stencil vary. They can sometimes be purchased in a packet of stencil sponges and I believe mine came from Hobby Lobby. I had a photo of the painting process, but I can't find it, but if you have done any stenciling, you know the process.



















This is a close-up picture of the finished graphic right after I peeled off the stencil.




















Another shot of the finished product.


















May you experience many beautiful and creative days ahead, my fellow bloggers!

Lynn




                                                                               









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