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Basic Stenciling Techniques

mixed media stencil techniques

Stenciling is such a simple way to bring a fresh touch to your home or make a unique and stand-out gift. It's a craft everyone can get involved in, so we've turned to Nicolette Tabram, author of our brand new book Modern Stencils, to help get us started with some basic stenciling techniques and tips...

Modern Stencils


Very little preparation of surfaces is necessary for stencil projects; the most important thing is that they are clean and dust-free.

Furniture should be wiped down with a cloth and warm, soapy water to remove any dust or stains, particularly if you are using old pieces. Floors should be thoroughly vacuumed to remove any loose debris, then washed with warm water and a suitable floor cleaner. Fabrics need to be clean and without creases.



It is important to use a dry brush, so that the paint does not become diluted and bleed underneath the stencil. Overloading the brush with paint is the most common mistake when working with stencils. This is a problem, as an excess of paint is likely to seep underneath the stencil.

Dip the tip of the bristles into the pot of paint and remove as much paint as possible on the side of the pot, on a piece of paper, or on the corner of the stencil, pushing the brush down and rotating the bristles to ensure that the paint is evenly distributed. When working on fabric, you will not need to remove quite as much paint (or ink), as the surface is quite absorbent.



Hold the stencil in position with one hand. Place the brush on the stencil at a slight angle, push down, and rotate in a small circular movement, applying the paint through the holes.

As the paint is applied so thinly, it will dry almost immediately and the stencil can be lifted and repositioned straight away. If there is an excess of paint, carefully lay a clean piece of paper over the image and gently tap down to blot the paint.


Now you've mastered the basics, why not try the Mini Stenciled Planters project from Modern Stencils by Nicolette Tabram.


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