It’s time to get ready for all the little ghosts and goblins. With cookie stencils you can decorate some special treats and get your Halloween crafts off to a great start. Like I always say, stencils make putting pictures in difficult places much easier.
Painting images on cookies was a challenge for me (especially because I’m no Betty Crocker). I tried every complicated and expensive method I could think of only to meet with disasters. I must have gained 20 pounds eating them all, too. Well, I wasn’t going to let all those cookies go to waste.
Finally I tried a simple, no fuss, use stuff already around the house method and guess what? It worked. So here is how I “painted” with cookie stencils for Halloween (but you can use the same process for any occasion cookies). Oh yeah! Don’t miss out on the hints and tips I’ve added at the bottom for some great creative ideas.
First, I drew up some scary Halloween stencils and sized them perfectly for a normal size cookie stencil. They are a witch, a ghost, a cat, a bat, a skull and a spider (pictured above). If you want to use these cookie stencils, you can find them at Printable Halloween Stencils. They can be printed right there at your computer.
(Pssst! Since it's Halloween and you'll be carving your pumpkin too, click here for some free Jack O Lantern Stencils!)
Of course, you can draw your own too. Another option is to search on the web for some printable Halloween stencils. It’s best to locate a stencil that is a single overlay design (that means it’s finished with just one sheet or layer). If they are not the right size to fit on a cookie just re-size them on a copy machine and follow these next steps.
Trace the cookie stencils onto a sheet of stencil film such as acetate or mylar. Make sure the images have approximately 2 inches between them. Use a scissors to cut the traced drawings separate of each other with 1 inch of blank space surrounding them.
Use a craft-knife to cut out the objects of each cookie stencil. You have several options for craft-knives. I prefer to use an X-ACTO with a Fine Point Blade. Make sure your blade is sharp at all times or you won’t get a good clean cut. I find it’s easier to rotate the stencil so that you are always cutting with your wrist at a comfortable angle.
Since you are working with food, wash your cookie stencils really well and dry thoroughly.
Pssst! I added a few more Halloween Craft ideas for you using some free Pumpkin Stencils just like in the photo, so don't miss out!
Bake cookies with your favorite recipe. Since I already admitted that I’m not a baker, I’ll let you know that I used the boxed up ready to go version where you just need to add an egg. But if you are a skilled chef, go ahead and make your goodies from scratch. Sugar cookies work best because they have the smoothest surface after baking. A cookie with too much texture is not going to produce a good stenciled image. I like to slightly flatten the tops of the cookies right after they come out of the oven with a spatula. If the stencil can lay flat on the cookie you’ll get a much better image than if it has to roll over rounded edges. Let the cookies cool.
Prepare your “paint” by adding water to powdered sugar. You want to get a thick consistency that is very smooth. It doesn’t take very much water. The mixture should not drip easily off the end of a spoon. Make colors by adding food coloring. Create black with equal drops of green, red and blue.
Place the stencil on top of the cookie. Use a finger to dab the sugar mixture into the stencil openings. Just like with a regular stencil, use a dabbing or up and down motion to dot the surface with color and not a rubbing back and forth which will encourage color seeping under the stencil edges. In stenciling, you always want to use a little paint so that it does not seep under the stencil. No difference here. The best tool is an index finger to lightly dab the confectioners’ sugar and water mixture over the stencil opening. Make sure your finger is not dripping with the “paint.”
Carefully remove the stencil by pulling directly up. You don’t want to drag the stencil over the wet color mixture which will smear the color. It might take a little practice but remember you get to eat the mistakes.
Here are those hints and tips that I promised you:
You may want to make a different size cookie than the normal 2-1/2 or 3 inch circle. No problem! Just take the paper copy and reduce or enlarge the size to fit the area you want to place the picture. Then move on to the tracing. This is great if you want to make a large cookie cake too!
When you are cutting out the images for the stencils, don’t throw away the parts that you cut away. They can be used to make negative images on the cookies. Of course, it’s a bit trickey to remove the stencil piece after you have put the color all around it but with a little practice you can have this down to an art. And just think of the creative cookies you can come up with using these new options.
If you use a recipe for a highly textured cookie, like oatmeal or chocolate chip, you can put a base layer of powdered sugar and water to create a very smooth area and then stencil your image on that. Actually that can just add to how creative you can be with decorating cookies with stencils. For example, you can put a background of a black circle on top of the cookie behind a white ghost. Make sure that the first layer of color has dried thoroughly before adding your image.
If you can’t find mylar or acetate at your local craft supply store, try transparency films at an office supply house. Just make sure that the material will accept pen or ink so that you can trace on it and that it will be safe to use with food items. Also, you have a large number of suppliers of stencil films on line.
Well, I hope that by now you are comfortable enough with using a cookie stencil to give it a try. It’s a great Halloween craft to get the kids involved too. I can’t think of a better craft project than one you can eat!
Well, Happy Halloween and Happy Stenciling!
In an effort to bring to you a complete solution for all of your stenciling needs, we now have a catalog for you to browse a large variety of designs. So, check out our Stencils Catalog for your next project.
But if you'd rather have your Stencil Pattern Books in Print then visit our Printer's Book Shop for a large variety of stencil collections. These books are easy to follow and come with complete instructions. You'll find all of the stencil designs used as samples throughout this site.
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You'll be amazed at how many Free Stencils we have to offer to you! Just to make it easy, here are the links to all the freebies.
By the way, if you are looking for Free Christmas Stencils or Free Halloween Stencils, there were too many to list here so go to
Art Deco Stencil
Art Nouveau Stencil
Graffiti Art Stencils
Palm Tree Wall Stencils
Free Printable Stencils
Quilting Stencil Patterns
Skull and Crossbones Stencil
Teddy Bear Stencil
Trompe l oeil
Tropical Flower Stencil
I hope you truly enjoy these Free Stencils! Thank you so much for visiting and come back soon for more Stenciling Ideas!
For art supplies, books and much more please visit our Affiliates below.
MisterArt.com has a dedicated department for stencil supplies. Here you'll find stencil films, paints, books and tools plus and extensive selection of applicators including brushes and sponges. In these times, we're always looking for a bargain. CreateForLess has a good selection of plastic palettes for you to choose. Plus you'll find Delta Ceramacoat and DecoArt Paints, stencil brushes and applicators, a few pre-cut stencil designs, and many other items on your stencil supplies checklist. Joann.com carries a variety of high quality acrylic paints, great for stenciling. You'll find brands like Delta Ceramacoat, Folk Art, Americana and DecoArt. They also provide paint applicators and many other arts and crafts and stencil supplies.
If it's pre-cut stencil designs that you are looking for, then may I suggest Stencil Ease. They have decorative, alphabet and industrial designs or they can custom make one for you. You'll also find Americana Acrylic Paints and other stencil supplies.