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FAQs about Stenciling with Stewart Gill
Ideas and products to make your stenciling fast and easy

Answered by Marcia Ann Kuehl © 2008

Stewart GIll Stencils

Facts about Stenciling

How to Stencil

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Embellishment Index click here

What are modular system stencils?

Modular system stencils have a series of cutout 'registration marks' which help you to position the stencil in the right place, over and over again. This means you can achieve perfectly aligned all-over patterens on almost any surface, easily. You have total creative freedom to use the stencils as single stand-alone motifs, or borders, or continuous lengths, or even as partial texture mask-off areas.

What surfaces can stencils be used on?

Stencils can be used on any type of surface, depending upon the media (paint, dye) you are using. Paper and fabric are the most common uses. However, you can use stencils for walls, furniture, or even glass surfaces. While most applications will be flat surfaces, most stencils are bendable so they can fit around curved surfaces also. So experiment and be creative!

Why would I use a stencil?

Stencils are normally used to apply a design to a plain surface. By using a stencil, you can achieve perfectly aligned all-over patterens on almost any surface, easily. Sometimes you want to raise the surface, so applying a layer of paint gives a more textured, dementional surface.

What are stencils made of?

Stewart Gill Modular Stencils are made from laser-cut Mylar plastic which allows for intricate detailed images. The plastic is longlasting for repeated usage. Because it is flexible plastic, the stencils can make a bendable fit around curved surfaces.

How do I clean my stencils?

Stewart Gill recommends placing the used stencil in a flat tray and soak in warm water to remove paint.

For fast and easy cleaning, you can use Staz-On All-Purpose Cleaner. This allows you to quickly clean the stencil so you can reuse it on your project over and over again, without fear of smearing or bleeding colors.


How to stencil with Stewart Gill Stencils & Paints

Step 1

Applying the paint

  • Spray a light coating of temporary adhesive onto the reverse of the stencil.
  • Press the stencil glue-side down onto the fabric and pat gently into place.
  • Use the kitchen spatula to 'press' or 'wipe' the paint through the stencil
  • the spatula should be held at a low, shallow angle to simulate a screenprinting
Step 2

Remove excess paint

  • By raising the spatula to a more upright angle, you can scrape off the excess paint and return to the jar.
  • If the spatula is too straight-up, or the pressure is too hard, then you will scrape off all the paint.
  • Adjust the angle and pressure to suit the look you are after.
Step 3

Remove the stencil

  • Carefully peel off the stencil as soon as you have finished applying paint.
  • Place in a flat tray and soak in warm water to remove paint.
Step 4

Correct any mistakes

  • If you have any seepage, bleeding, or smudged mistakes - don't panic!
  • Keep a knife, or tweezers handy and remove the paint immediately by scraping off with the sharp implement.
  • Be careful not to damage the fabric surface.
  • Allow paint to dry naturally for several hours (preferably overnight) before heatfixing and washing.
Finished results

Finished result

Te piece of fabric, at the left, was created using a Steward Gill Modular System Stencil and Steward Gill Paints. Two colors of paints were applied with an even coat of blended shades. The thickness of the paint adds demension to the fabric, as paint sits on top the fabric.

How to use stenciling as an embellishment

Painted fabric w/stenciling

  • Paint your background with a thin base coat of paint.
  • Tape of sections of your stencil, so only a small design portion is open.
  • Place the stencil, and use a brush to daub on the paint.
  • Alternate the colors, or daub over colors with a second color.
  • Remove the stencil carefully as soon as you have finished applying paint.
  • When the piece is dry, use a thin brush to draw an outline around the shape in a contasting color.
  • Stitch decorative stitches around the piece or quilt as desired.

How to make hand-made stencils

Masking Tape techniques

  • Paint your background with a thin base coat of paint.
  • Let dry completely.
  • Mask off areas using ripped painters tape, making a hand-made "stencil".
  • Lightly apply a second color of paint.
  • Using a comb, drag across the wet surface to create a textured look.
  • Remove masking tape and let dry.

How to stencil with foils

  • Place a stencil over the fabric and brush or daub the foiling glue. Soft Expressions has some great Doodling Stencils, Modular Stencils, and books that are ideal for developing unique repetitive designs.
  • Remove the stencil from the fabric.
  • While waiting for the glue to become tacky, clean the stencil immediately while glue is sticky on the stencil surface, using Staz-On All-Purpose Cleaner.
  • When the glue is tacky, place the foil on top of the surface and rub until foil becomes attached to the fabric.
dooding designDooding Templates Examples
Doodling stencils for foiling

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