12 days of crafting: stenciling

From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some of my favorite crafting methods and projects. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or handmade decor for your own home!

Day 1: Stenciling

You will need:

  • fabric paint
  • sponge (craft sponges are pretty cheap)
  • stencil film or cardstock
  • exacto knife or razor blade
  • fabric to stencil on: clothing, bags, towels, placemats, etc! Be sure to pre-wash it.

Stenciling is fun and quick. I think the best part is that simple stencils produce really cool results, so you don’t have to try to be super elaborate!

I created the onesies and outfits in the photo above in an evening (and in the middle of remodeling our house!). I used stencil film (this kind wasn’t very expensive and I have a bunch leftover for more projects) because I wanted to re-use the stencils for other projects. Cardstock works too, but it probably won’t hold up as long. They also make adhesive stencils – you can also make your own adhesive stencils out of freezer paper – but again, I like to re-use my stencils for the most part.

If you stick with simple shapes, it’s not hard to cut the stencil film. I drew my design on paper and put it underneath the film, then lightly scored it with the exacto knife. Then I went back and cut it out (on top of a cutting board, of course).

I usually go with simple shapes or animals – you could also trace a design in a book or print out an image you like if you don’t want to draw your own.

And the designs do not need to be fancy to turn out well – one of Ian’s favorite shirts that I made him was made with ridiculously easy stencils – I just cut out a few rectangles in cardstock and turned them into some skyscrapers:

Another tip – if you are stenciling a t-shirt, check the thrift store! I’ve found lots of plain colored t-shirts in great condition, like the one in the photo above. Target also has their plain colored or heathered tees on sale often too.

After you have your stencils, just use your sponge to lightly sponge paint onto your fabric, being careful around the edges. You can do a light coat for a more “distressed” look, or apply it more solidly. Rinse your stencils and sponges afterwards if you want to re-use them later!

There are so many possibilities for gifts! I’ve made lots of onesies and kids clothes, t-shirts, placemats… and Luke’s swaddler too. What I love about stenciling is that it’s not elaborate – all you need is a simple idea. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas gift idea, this is a great route to take! Even Luke endorses stenciling (he’s totally giving a thumbs up!).


14 thoughts on “12 days of crafting: stenciling

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