DIY Art: Using Stencils

I’m working with a friend on a piece of art for over her fireplace.  We were inspired by a piece that I found online, but it didn’t fit our budget.  We both like DIY projects, so we figured we could totally do this.

051I figured the easiest way would be to use some stencils.  Stencils are everywhere, in case you haven’t noticed.  There are so many styles and options, and you can find them online and in stores.  It’s almost mind boggling.  Which is why I have none.

Never fear.  I did have some cardstock and scissors, as well as an hour on the couch with Ave while we folded and cut random shapes and patterns.

013 Then I just laid them out in a random pattern on some scrap wood I found.  You could do this on canvas or artist’s paper for a less rustic look.  I didn’t spend much time on it, as I was just trying to figure out my method.  I imagine if you had spent a little more time and thought with your design than I, it wouldn’t turn out so weird quirky.  I didn’t care.  I figured I could always take the finished product to the lake, where everything else quirky ends up.

006Then I took some spray adhesive like this

010 - Copyand lightly sprayed it on the back of the stencil.

011 - CopyUsing my fingers, I lightly pressed the edges down onto the board so the paint wouldn’t bleed through.

017 (2)Then I got my paint.  Just my usual suspects.  I picked colors from my palette at the lake, red, yellow, turquoise, etc…

020 - CopyI used a dabber, or whteveryoucallit.  Just remember when you load it up, don’t over blend your colors.


025This will help them to blend easier.  I wanted my piece to be full of color, and for those colors to blend into an almost airbrushed look.  Anyways, again I was totally random in my application of my paint.  I just tried to keep it fairly symmetrical.

029I went ahead and filled in both the positive and negative spaces.  I’m not sure I meant to, but once I did there was no turning back.  At this point, I knew it would end up at the lake.  I just didn’t know if it would end up on a wall or in a bonfire.  Totally freaky looking.  I still rolled with it.  Heck, I even added more stencils.  Why not?  I figured I couldn’t mess up something that I had no plans for, right?

031 (2)Skipping forward (I think it got too dark to take pics and I couldn’t wait till morning to move forward), I removed the stencils.  After adding a little more detail by freehand, like little dots, and giving it a good sanding here’s how it ended up…

055 (2)See how the colors blended and faded into one another?052Some of that is from painting it two different colors, then sanding to reveal the bottom color.  See my corners?  I love how the red is coming out from under the turquoise.

056 - Copy053In the end, it turned out nothing like our awesome inspiration piece, but I’m not too disappointed.  I gained some perspective on a method, and am able to give her some tips when she decides to tackle this project for herself:

  • Take your time with your design.  It’s the one thing you can’t necessarily change in the end.  But, at the same time, don’t over think it.  Keep it simple.
  • Add layers of both color and detail.  It gives depth to the finished piece.
  • Have fun with it.  There’s really no way to plan out exactly how it’s going to turn out.  Just focus on the colors and in the end I think it would be successful.

051I’m thinking this piece is going to end up on a wall, after all.  We’ve got lots going on at the lake these days, including some new floors.  I’ve been taking some photos, and when we get a little further along, I’ll share them with you, as well as a photo of where this thing ends up.

Go out, be inspired, and be inspiring today peeps.





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