Stencil loving collage–a blog hop and tutorial

26 Apr 2012

I love blog hops. Today I’m sharing a fairly long collage tutorial as my part of a bigger blog hop with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Crafter’s workshop Stencils. (You can find stencils like this in our store, too!) I really love how flexible stencils can be. I even enjoy cutting my own stencils (check out the silverware I cut later in this tutorial!)

Spring2012StencilHop-500Any way, let’s get on with this tutorial! When Julie asked if we we’re interested in participating in the hop, I knew I wanted to but I also had to pick out a stencil. That was perhaps the hardest part of participating! I decided to go with the Wedding Ring design because it’s not the one I would normally go to, and I wanted a challenge!

WeddingRingHave you ever gone clothes shopping and tried on something you never would have thought you would like only to find out it was the most amazing, figure-flattering garment you’ve ever owned? Well, the Wedding Ring Stencil is kind of like that for me.

I decided to play with the Creatopia machine from Xyron and use the stencil to emboss my paper. Here’s what I did . . . keep scrolling down to see the final piece! (And it was such a lovely day I was working outside so that I could absorb a little vitamin D, hence the tree reflections in the water!)

IMG_1943 Getting everything ready is the hardest part. I’m using the Creatopia without a cartridge so that I can use the wheels as a printing press.  
IMG_1944 IMG_1946 The next part of the of the “printing” is to wet the paper. I’m using a mid-weight artist paper. You can use watercolor or printmaking paper or even a good quality cardstock. After you soak the paper for a couple minutes, lay it on a towel so soak up the excess water.
IMG_1947 IMG_1948 Now we have to make a printing press sandwich.
First layer is a piece of thinish chipboard. Next we need the stencil and the wet paper.
IMG_1950 IMG_1951 A piece of craft felt goes down on the wet paper. The felt helps the paper squish down into the paper where the stencil openings are.
Lastly, the top layer is another piece of chipboard. Depending on the thickness of the cardboard, you may need to play with this stack a bit. I set the Creatopia on the tightest setting and turned the handle to feed the stack through the machine.
IMG_1953 It’s subtle but you can kind of make out the embossing on this paper. The gray specks are just parts of the paper that are still wet. I discovered that stencils with smaller openings are more difficult to emboss, but it still works.  
IMG_1954 IMG_1957 Next, I lined the stencil back up over the embossed paper and taped around the edge to protect it. Then I went at it with some Smooch SPRITZ! Then I carefully removed the tape and stencil.
IMG_1961 IMG_1962 I added tape back around the stenciled/embossed area. This was a bit of a nuisance but it paid off in the end. I used an old hotel key card to scrape some iridescent fluid acrylics sporadically over the surface.
IMG_1963 IMG_1965 You can subtly see how the embossed parts of the paper affect the scraping of the paint. After I added the paint, I used a baby wipe to rub the paint on in some places and off in others. At this point the embossing is almost disappeared in this small stencil. When you use a bigger stencil, it is more textural.
IMG_1966 Once the piece was dry, I pulled off the tape and this is were I was really happy that I had chosen the Wedding Ring design. Look at that background! It’s a little ethereal and a lot gorgeous!

I could have stopped here but I really wanted to immediately turn it into a collage, so on I went.
IMG_1967 I layered some text from a vintage cookbook with matte medium and let it dry.  
IMG_1969 IMG_1970 Then I used a palette knife to apply Absorbent Ground Medium to my hand-cut silverware stencil. The ground is a cool product that lets you create a watercolor on top of a non-watercolor friendly surface.
After the ground was dried, I added some purpley-blue shades of watercolors to enhance the silverware.


And this is the final piece. I will be showing it an upcoming show called Feed Me: The 7 x 7 show next month.

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

Watch Julie stencil, and stitch!


Valerie Mangan

Check out Valerie’s use of the stencil on cookies!


Christine Urias

Christine is showing off a neat resist technique.


Michelle LaPoint Rydell

Has a two-fer with a card and a really awesome interactive art journal technique.

What do you like to use stencils for? What are your favorite techniques? Let us know here in the comments and…

Happy Hopping!


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BARL wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 10:30 AM

I'll have to try this with the Big Shot and the Vagabond.  It looks like an interesting way to emboss.

mprantner wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 10:48 AM

What a great technique! Thanks for the great tutorial!

Ravenea wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 11:25 AM

What beautiful work!  I just love how your background turned out, and your painted silverware are gorgeous!

Michelle Rydell

Bast830 wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 1:06 PM

I just love it!  I usually try to cut out stencil designs  with my cricut machine or my sizzix big kick.  They are great for backgrounds for photos on a layout or a card.  I have just begun art journaling and love using the stencils for my pages.


TimTam457 wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 2:23 PM

That is very cool!  To answer the blog hop question:  I would love to learn more about lettering and now embossing!  Tammy

StacyC1063 wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 2:50 PM

Very nice project, thanks for sharing....

milkcan wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 3:30 PM

Beautiful project and great tutorial!  Thanks for being a part of the blog hop!

on 26 Apr 2012 6:28 PM

That looks so cool as a background. I love the two colors you chose. Nice job, missy.

emilysnan wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 7:07 PM

hiya Jenn ,hoppin gby from julies blog , fab lo and tutorial too , this is one i would like to try out x tfs


lacyquilter wrote
on 26 Apr 2012 10:16 PM

Awesome technique.  I never thought of using these stencils to emboss.  Love your art piece.

druss33055 wrote
on 27 Apr 2012 3:24 AM

love the tutorial , specially love the stencil....thanks

joyfullyjj wrote
on 27 Apr 2012 12:19 PM

Love this technique! Definitely trying this. Thanks for sharing!

contadinak wrote
on 27 Apr 2012 7:17 PM

love this and the texture final effect!

Madnic wrote
on 28 Apr 2012 3:22 PM

I am so excited to try embossing with a bigger stencil, on my creatopia. I've used it for a lot but not that. I really like your finished piece.

so15 wrote
on 28 Apr 2012 7:35 PM

What a great technique, I'm definitely going to try this. I love the end result.

DianneT in Australia

on 3 May 2012 10:47 AM

Is this the Wedding Ring pattern, or Cathedral Windows?

on 21 May 2012 11:12 AM

Thanks for sharing!  I love this method, and easily use my Big Kick with similar results!  It's been a while, and I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed doing this!