How to Stencil


When stenciling with oil-base paints, you'll work out of the crème pots they come in. But when working with acrylics, you'll need to place the colors on a palette. Palette paper is sold in craft and art stores for this purpose, but paper or foam plates work just as well. You can also try a piece of mat-board or cardboard or even an ice cube tray. Just make sure that whatever you use is big enough to keep the colors separated.

Other tools

Depending on the project, there are a few other items that prove indispensable when stenciling. It would be wise to keep all of them on hand.

  • Art gum eraser. This is useful when working with stencil paint crèmes. Because these paints dry slowly, minor smudges and mistakes are easily wiped away with a white art gum eraser.
  • Artist's brushes. Use these small, thin brushes to add details like shadows or leaf veins.
  • Index cards. These make handy masking tools for small spaces.
  • Level. This common tool helps keep a bor­der straight.
  • Paper towels. Use them to wipe excess paint off brushes, to protect surfaces, and for general cleanup. It's a good idea to always keep a roll nearby while you're working.
  • Pencil. Use a pencil for marking level lines and registration marks.
  • Tape measure. Keep one on hand, or a ruler if you prefer, to determine the amount of space available for the stencil when planning projects.

Before you start your stencil project, you'll need to complete a very important step -- picking out the design you'll paint. Keep reading to learn about choosing a stencil design.

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