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Stenciling: The Basics

| Articles | January 30, 2011

Maybe you’re thinking about redecorating your home that’s why you come across this article. Stenciling can be a very simple term for those who are really into arts and crafts. But for those who are not, like you for example, you might be bombarded with so many questions as to what stenciling is really all about. Perhaps, you’ve heard about this term before, or a friend might have shared to you how he used it for his home decorating project. But you don’t exactly know what stencils are and how to go about the process of stenciling. So, why don’t you let this article walk you through the basics of stenciling?

What is a stencil?

A stencil as defined is a template that produces an exact image when it is used. If you do not have a clear picture of what it is, imagine a series of holes cut into a sheet of resilient, waterproof material like plastic or paper. Once you try to apply paint through the cut out areas to the surface beneath, you’ll see that the image is being formed. You can actually use this to paint or draw the same letters, shapes, symbols, or patterns. Now, for some terms, you’ll come across with islands and bridges. Islands are the stencil’s open sections while bridges are the stencil materials used to separate the islands and keep the stencil’s shape.

What is stenciling?

Now that you already know what a stencil is, let’s go to the definition of stenciling. Stenciling is the process of creating image by means of applying color on a stencil and through the removed sections, leaving a reproduction of the image to the surface beneath. Some people refer to this as stencil painting. It allows anyone to decorate with his or her own personal style even if one is not 100% artistically inclined. Like you for example, if you are having a hard time creating images using paints and brushes, then use stencils. You’ll see that it’s not as difficult as you think since stenciling eliminates problems with perspective, proportion, and size. You actually have full control as far as choosing the image, colors, and size of the painted image is concerned.

What can you do with stencils?

A lot. The only limit is your imagination. If you are the artistic type of person, for sure you’ll have lots of fun reproducing images from the stencils that you’ll use. Now, if redecorating your home is your main reason why you become interested with stenciling, then you certainly are on the right track. With stenciling, you can give life to your walls, glass windows, mirrors, and even your fabrics. For the walls, you can paint a border or combine various designs to make a mural.

Or if you like, you can create a single image, like a cartoon character for your kids’ room. As for stenciling on glass, make sure that you choose a paint which doesn’t wash off easily. If you don’t know what is the right paint to use, you can always ask your friendly salesman or your friend who has done stenciling on glass before. And as for fabric, there are lots of fabric paints for you to choose from. Just make sure that it will match the color of your fabrics well for a really enhanced look.

So that’s it for the basics! Have fun stenciling!

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