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Studio Snippet #25: 3 Art Supplies I'm Using (and Loving) Right Now

Acrylic Paint + Stencils

My favorite medium to use with stencils will always be acrylic paint.  I primarily use 1 of 3 methods to get the acrylic paint onto my substrate:

  1. A Stencil Brush
  2. A Cosmetic Wedge Sponge
  3. A Gelatin Plate

In today's blog post, I'm going to cover all three for you:

Video Take Aways:

  • Stencil Preparation:
    • I use Dynasty Stencil Brushes, specifically the Stencil Pro Brushes -- like the 3/8-inch and 1-inch brushes.
    • I tape my tags together, making it easier to work on them as one surface before separating them.
    • You can use a repositionable spray adhesive, like Pixie Spray, to secure the stencil to the tag. Remember to use it outside or in a well-ventilated area, and take safety precautions.
  • Stencil Application:
    • I mix my acrylic paint directly on the brush, creating variations in color.
    • You can choose to stamp up and down or swirl your brush to apply the paint.
    • The choice of method depends on whether you've used a spray adhesive on the stencil.
  • Results:
    • After stenciling, carefully remove the stencil to reveal your clean and detailed design.
    • The adhesive on the stencil keeps it securely in place, ensuring precision.
    • You can reapply the stencil if the adhesive remains sticky.
  • Continued Use and Cleanup:
    • You can re-use the stencil in the same way, as long as the stickiness lasts.
    • Stencil brushes can be cleaned by wiping off excess paint on scrap paper, then using soap and water for a more thorough clean.
    • I generally don't clean my stencils.

And now, the humble Cosmetic Wedge Sponge:

The stencil in this video is called "Pebble Grid." 

Here are some key tips from the video:

  • Choosing the Right Paint: When stenciling with cosmetic wedge sponges, consider using slightly heavier body acrylic paint for better control and to avoid excessive "roll-under" (paint going outside the stencil edges). 
  • Preparing the Sponge: Before stenciling, ensure your cosmetic wedge sponge has an appropriate amount of paint. Dab off excess paint to avoid overloading the sponge. 
  • Dabbing Technique: Dabbing lightly with the cosmetic wedge sponge is essential for achieving clean stencil results. Avoid pressing too hard, which can lead to paint seeping under the stencil. 
  • Reloading and Tapping Out: Continually reload the sponge with paint and tap it out on palette paper to maintain control over the paint application. 
  • Securing the Stencil: To prevent the stencil from moving during the stenciling process, consider taping it down or using a spray adhesive for stability. 
  • Mixing Colors: You can mix colors using cosmetic wedge sponges by layering one color over another or applying both colors to the sponge simultaneously for blending effects. 
  • Achieving Intense Color: For more intense color, it's better to apply multiple layers of paint, allowing each layer to dry before adding another, rather than applying excessive pressure. 
  • Cleanup and Reuse: Cosmetic wedge sponges with dried and hardened paint can be reused. Cut off the paint-covered end to reveal a fresh, soft sponge for future use. 
  • Experimentation and Personal Preference: Stenciling techniques can vary, and there is no one "right" way. Experiment with different methods to find what works best for your preferences and desired results.

And finally, the Gelatin Plate:

The stencil I'm using in the video is called "Big Spools."

Video Take Aways:

  • Apply a thin layer of Golden Fluid acrylic paint (or any acrylic paint) to the gelatin plate with a brayer.
  • Place the stencil on the plate and then place a piece of paper on top of the stencil.
  • Rub the paper to transfer the paint onto the paper, creating a beautiful print through the stencil.
  • Lift the stencil, revealing the wet paint underneath.
  • Place another piece of copy paper over the plate and smooth it down to create a second print, highlighting the stencil's negative space.
  • If there's anything left on your plate, you can apply another color of acrylic paint in a thin layer onto the plate.
  • Place a piece of paper on top and rub.
  • Pull the third print.

Using a gelatin plate with stencils is fun and efficient -- offering a versatile way to create multiple prints and experiment with different colors and designs. Don't forget about my mega online course called "A Year of Gelatin Printing" for those interested in diving deeper into gelatin plate printing.

I hope you find these stencil techniques useful and enjoy experimenting with them in your own projects!