Quietfire Design's
Techniques Gallery

Creating with Stencils *
©2008 Deborah March

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from the January 2008 byhand Newsletter

I adore working with brass stencils! They're versatile, encourage you to work with a variety of mediums, and produce delightful results every time.

I have an extensive collection, and when I pull them out to play, I can do so for days at a time.

The Cadillac of brass stencils is, without a doubt, Dreamweaver©, produced in consistently fabulous designs by Lynell Harlow. There are stencils and supplies available in the Quietfire Design shop, with some newly released styles already in stock.

For your creating pleasure, several techniques will be explained step by step, with sample cards provided for many of the techniques. There are certainly other techniques to learn, to get the maximum from your stencil investment. I encourage you to web-search to find your way to more fun with these little gems.




Deborah use Heart with Ribbon Stencil for this card

This is familiar to most card makers.
Place your stencil on the front of the paper, secure with removable tape. Turn the paper over, placing on a light source (light table, window or any glass that will let you view the stencil underneath the paper). Use your embossing stylus, running it inside the brass stencil area over your paper, creating a raised design.

This card is a simple sample of dry embossing on vellum, mixed with a sentiment stamp heat-embossed with white embossing powder.

TIP: To help your embossing tool glide more smoothly, use a small piece of waxed paper and rub over the paper's design area, or run your embossing tip through your hair. The natural oils provide lubrication.




This is a very easy technique for beginners.

Simply tape your stencil onto your cardstock, and, using a variety of colouring mediums and a ¾" stencil brush with a "dry brush" technique, stencil inside all cut-out areas, using a circular motion, being careful not to get colour underneath the stencil.

For this card, I used a blue iridescent PaintStik to stencil "Thank You."



Deborah use the Single Bare Tree Stencil and Keep Your Faith for this card

This technique is my favourite, and can produce such striking results! It's particularly good for dark cardstock, and it's as easy as icing a cake. Dreamweaver's embossing paste, in my opinion, is the best on the market. It's available in Glossy White, Translucent, Black Matte, Gold, Copper, and a variety of vivid colours.

You can mix colour with the paste (try acrylic paints, PearlEx powders, Perfect Pearls, Lumiere paints…experiment, the possibilities are endless). You can also apply color once the paste has dried (try chalks, dry stippling with acrylics).

Be patient with yourself when you try paste embossing for the first time. It can be messy. But that's part of the fun! It's important to work quickly, as the paste dries quickly.

When you set up, have a container of warm soapy water immediately handy, so you can drop your stencil and palette knife in to soak immediately after using. Position the stencil on your cardstock. Starting at the top of the stencil, make a "hinge" (one complete piece of removable tape across the top of the whole stencil, so that your stencil lifts up easily), and tape out any unwanted design area on the stencil. (Some card makers prefer to tape along all four edges of the stencil.) Pick up paste on the bottom of your palette knife and spread over the brass stencil's cut out areas (remember…icing a cake!), then scrape off any excess paste, smoothing the paste as you go.

Remove stencil immediately by lifting straight up and "opening the hinge" to keep from damaging the paste area. Allow to dry for 40-60 minutes.

Clean stencil and palette knife immediately.

These cards use black, white glossy, black matte and gold glossy embossing pastes. The "Thinking of You" card also uses copper leafing over a rubber stamped image (see instructions below)



Deborah used Thorn Border and Each of Us has a Song for this card


I absolutely love the wonderful, elegant results gold leafing provides.

Working with gold embossing paste, follow directions above for paste embossing. Let dry. Reposition the stencil over design area and tape again, using removable tape as before. Stencil all of the design with finger dauber and the glue from a glue pad (I use Stewart Superior's Stamp and Stick Glue Pad). Remove stencil and drop in water until you have time to clean it.

Dry the glue by using a heat gun, for approximately thirty seconds, keeping it moving so it won't bubble the paste. After letting it cool for a few seconds, test the area with your finger. It should attach to your finger, or feel dry.

Place the card on a paper work space or an open file folder. Lay the leafing sheet gently on top of design and tap with your finger or a stencil brush so it adheres to the glued area. You can also use leafing flakes, in which case you'd just tap them gently onto the prepared surface.

Burnish leafing with a stiff stencil brush and don't be afraid to brush hard, as this process will remove all the jagged edges of excess gold leafing around the embossed edges. Tap the excess pieces from the file folder into a container, as these can be used again.

If Nothing Ever Changed can be found here.

To use leafing over rubber stamped images, stamp your image with any embossing stamp pad (ie Versamark, Top Boss, Ranger), sprinkle Stamp 'n' Bond over top (Stampendous), heat set, and apply leafing as above. Deborah also uses The Essential Glue Pad for this, too.

These cards use gold paste embossing with variegated metal leafing, and a sentiment stamp heat-embossed with copper embossing powder.



Fill a small fine-mist bottle undiluted bleach. Test different colors of cardstock by spraying lightly with the bleach spray bottle. Each card stock bleaches and colors differently. Some don't have a significant amount of change, so you want to experiment to discover which ones bleach the best and give the effect you desire. Place the stencil on cardstock and lightly spray it two or three spritzes. Remove stencil and clean with water. The bleach continues to work for a few minutes on the cardstock and the results are spectacular.



Stencil "Thinking of You" using black craft ink and a stiff stencil brush. Use the dry brush technique so the color doesn't slip under the stencil and cause smudges. Shift the stencil less than 1/16" toward the upper left corner. Tape out all of the edges with removable tape. Paste with Dreamweaver Embossing Paste as above. Remove immediately and clean stencil.



Carefully set your brass stencil on two sided transparent tacky paper which has been cut to the size of the stencil with a ¼ inch outside border. {ed. note. We suggest putting a light layer of Coconut Soap on the back of your stencil before laying it on the double-sided tape}

Shake coloured glitter over the cut-out areas. Pat down to ensure good adhesion, shake off any excess.

Very carefully lift the stencil, then shake clear or iridescent glitter over remaining sticky areas to achieve this pretty result.

Let your imagination go wild with all the possibilities of this delightful medium.





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