|Multiple colors from one stencil|
|Multiple overlay stencils|
|Calico overlay stenciling|
|Basic stenciling tips menu|
Some designs are well defined with ample space between stencil openings. In other words, there is enough of a bridge (gap) between the parts of the design to allow you to easily apply more than one color in the design. If you are trying to decide whether to use multiple colors in your design, simple take a piece of masking tape and begin to cover various stencil openings. If the bridges between the stencil openings are too small, you will find it painstakingly difficult to cover the appropriate openings. In this case, use of a single color would be best. If the bridges are large, simply mask off the areas and begin stenciling with the appropriate color.
To produce a continuous design that does not contain the usual gaps between design elements, multiple overlays must be used. See Sunbonnet Sue example below. Multiple overlays allow you to easily apply more than one color per overlay, without masking off certain areas.
Multiple layer stencils are usually designed with registration marks. Registration marks allow you to correctly position each overlay with respect to the previously stenciled area.
Calico stencils are single overlays of tiny repeated patterns that provide a fabric-like texture to a previously stenciled area. Simply position the calico over a previously stenciled area. Secure in place with masking tape. Do not use spray adhesive. The calico openings are very small and can become clogged. Next, properly position the stencil (which used to produce the previously stenciled area) on top of the calico stencil. Secure in place using masking tape. Apply paint. Never overload your stencil brush when using calico stencils. Too much paint will produce smeared and blotchy calicos.
There are several stencil brushes on the market. Most brushes contain either natural or nylon bristles. I prefer the natural bristles. Natural bristles provide flexibility, which is necessary when applying paint using the swirling method, while remaining stiff enough for the stippling method. Nylon bristles tend to be much stiffer and therefore better suited for the stippling method.
Most stencil brushes have bristles that are all one length. Domed brushes have bristles that are slightly tapered near the ends. Either brush works well. One main advantage for using a domed brush is you can produce a greater variety of shaded effects.
Sponge or Foam Brushes
A popular paint applicator is the foam or sponge brush. It is easy to use and produces a different texture to the design. See picket fence image. I recommend diluting your stencil paint with a small amount of water. This prevents the pores of your sponge from becoming clogged.
Other Paint Applicators
The list of applicators is limited only by your imagination. The list includes cotton balls, foam rubber, old rags, air brushes, and spray paints. Each one will produce a unique texture, adding interest and creativity to your finished design.
If your stenciled is located in a high traffic area, you may wish to apply a protective finish. Allow the stenciled area to dry for approximately 3-5 days. Then apply a water-based acrylic varnish (flat or satin finish).
For those of you who have stenciled one of my Wall to Wall Quilt designs, hanging a shelf or shaker peg quilt hanger near the top of your quilt produces a more realistic appearance of a hanging quilt. I made a simple shaker peg quilt hanger by gluing shaker pegs to a piece of wood. I stained the entire piece and then hung it near at the top of the quilt.