Enjoy Stenciling

Margaret Riley history inspiration products

Stenciling has been around longer than you think. No doubt you know about stenciling. But have you given it a try? According to Wikipedia, stenciling is defined as the following:

It produces an image or pattern by applying pigment to a surface over an intermediate object with designed gaps in it, which will create a pattern by allowing only the pigment to reach parts of the surface.

Let’s share a little history with you on stenciling:

Ancient hand stencils

Hand stencils (spraying pigment over hands placed on a wall) have been found in Asia and Europe dating back to over 35,000 years. Stenciling on cloth for clothing has been found on silk in Japan from centuries ago. Woodcuts were a form of stenciling in 1450 in Europe, which was to colour master prints in black and white. And stencils were used for mass publications so books didn’t have to be handwritten.

European immigrants brought the stenciling technique to the United States colonies. Artists traveled around to stencil walls and floors working for food, lodging, or a bit of money. The paint they used consisted of ground mineral colors, charcoal, brick, and sour milk. European designs along with patriotic designs were popular during this era.

In the early 1800’s, women created designs by using an overlay of stencils to create trompe l’oeil pictures plus murals. Also during this century, stencils allowed non-professionals to achieve artistic results giving a sense of artistic satisfaction with little effort.

Now laser cutting makes thousands of designs for the non-professional to adorn their homes with personalized and detailed creations. The imagination can create and be “one-of-a-kind” in any type of décor. Stencils are even being used to give texture to a surface. It is wonderful to see what every generation creates and passes on to their children.During the early 1900’s, stencil designs were used to decorate public buildings, churches, mansions, and modest homes. Along came printed wallpaper placing stenciling out of the public decorating. But in the 1970’s and 1980’s, there was a surge of stenciling mainly due to being inexpensive compared to wallpapering plus an explosion of patriotism in our USA.

So that’s the history, artist friends! Go out and shop for the perfect stencil or search on-line. One thing you might want to purchase is a spray adhesive. Definitely follow the instructions on your container before spraying the adhesive. If you use one, be sure to detack it on your clothing (I wear a pair of sweatpants to press it against) to keep it from lifting your surface that you are applying the stencil to.

There is a cleaner available to tidy up your stencils. I’ve used rubbing alcohol, brush cleaner, and Dawn dishwashing soap to clean my stencils.

Don’t forget a stencil brush! And maybe buy a couple different sizes. It will be round and flat so you can “pounce” your brush up and down on your surface. Practice on something before starting on your project. After all, we want your project to look perfect!

Acrylic paints, oil paints, oil pencils, and various other mediums will work when stenciling. You just have to play with what works best for you and what will work on the surface you are stenciling.

Watch our video from Carissa Bonham showing how to stencil on a tea towel. What a great gift this would make for a special occasion. Add a jar of honey, a honey wand, and some crackers in a container to top it all off for the perfect gift!

This is just a start to stenciling for you….walls, shirts, curtains, and so much more! What are you waiting for? Go start stenciling!!



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