Master the Art of Stenciling: 18 Creative Techniques for Paper Crafting

We’ve covered stamping, embossing, and layering – now it’s time to turn our attention to one more easy but versatile crafting technique: stenciling!

When you think about “stenciling”, do you think of those punchy designs people used to paint around their walls just below the ceiling? Well, you can wave goodbye to 90s stenciling techniques. In paper crafting, stenciling is an easy way to add layers and dimensions to your designs without requiring tons of effort or a significant financial investment in new tools and supplies.

Here are 18 of our favorite stenciling techniques.

1. Stamp Stenciling

Why not combine two awesome crafting techniques into one super-technique? That’s exactly what this crafter did. Instead of stamping directly onto your surface, try stamping through a stencil for even more texture.

Read how she did it.

2. Reverse Stenciling

You aren’t limited to simply applying paint or other mediums through your stencil! You can also use your stencil similarly to how you’d use a stamp. This process, called “reverse stenciling”, creates interesting negative space and is a great way to add a unique stenciled element to your paper crafts. Watch this video tutorial by Claudine Hellmuth to see how she does it.

3. Bokeh Stenciling

Bokeh patterns are everywhere right now. They’re super cute, and they’re super easy to make using your own color palette and (you guessed it!) stencils.

Here’s how to create your own bokeh texture.

4. Shadow Effect

Create even more depth with your stencils by mimicking a shadow effect.

Follow these instructions to learn how.

5. Stenciled Letters

Don’t throw out those old punched-out letter sheets! You can re-use them to create easy stenciled letters.

6. Stenciling with Modeling Paste

Using modeling paste instead of “flat” mediums like ink or acrylic paint adds even more texture to your stenciled designs.

Read these instructions to learn how to stencil with modeling paste.

7. Water Stenciling

All you need to create this tie-dye effect is colorful ink, white cardstock, and a little water!

Learn how to recreate the technique here.

8. Stenciling with Spray Ink

Spray inks are perfect for when you want intense color without the muss and fuss of using paint. Plus, spray inks allow you to create unique color combinations like this artist.

9. Four Wet Stencil Techniques

“Wet” stenciling refers to any stenciling technique that uses a wet medium, such as paint, rubber stamp ink pads, and gesso. You can even wet stencil on deli paper! This video will introduce you to four awesome wet stencil techniques.

10. Four Dry Stenciling Techniques

“Dry” stenciling uses mediums like pastels, markers, pens, and even sand paper. It’s less messy than wet stenciling, and each dry stenciling technique creates its own unique texture and aesthetic.

What If I Don’t Have Any Stencils?

No stencils? No problem! There’s no need to rush to your craft store – you can easily make your own stencils at home. Not only will you save a little money, but you can also create totally customized stencils that are perfect for any design.

11. Transparency Stencils

Here’s a great technique for making your own stencils using transparency film.

Follow her instructions and get stenciling!

12. Glue Gun Stencils

Every crafter has a glue gun, but not every crafter has spare transparencies floating around. Try creating unique designs using hot glue. Here’s how to make your own hot glue stencils.

Stencil Away!

Stencils are one of the most versatile crafting tools you can own. They’re a relatively low-cost investment, especially if you take good care of them, and they can be used in a myriad of unique and interesting ways to add texture, dimension, and creativity to your scrapbook pages, homemade cards, or other paper crafts.

For more great crafting techniques, check out our favorite stamping, embossing, and layering ideas.

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