Craft Stenciling, Ideas and Resources

Craft stenciling is the best way to create art for those of us who can't wisp a brush through paint and produce a masterpiece. But you need some tools (like stencils) and of course inspiration!



The concept of stenciling for craft purposes covers a large area but the most exciting part are the stenciling ideas and project plans. We have plenty of those and most include free printable stencils so that you don't have anywhere else to go!

Cherub Stencil from www.all-about-stencils.com

Now let's talk a little bit about the tools you'll need for craft stenciling and don't miss the books down below that have a project idea using those stencils linked from each book cover image.

Trying to get by with whatever you can put your hands on may end up getting you frustrated and making the results of your time and effort a disaster. Of course it’s fun to experiment with different techniques and I always encourage you to do that but not when you are just starting out. I put together some information for you to become familiar with the options available so you can decide on what craft stenciling tools to get started with.

Don't miss the video at the bottom of this page for ideas about using free printable stencils from this web site to decorate t-shirts with the kids!

All About Paint Applicators for Craft Stenciling

First, get a good brush for your craft stenciling projects. Stencil brushes have short, firmly packed bristles that are designed to reduce the chances of getting paint under the edges of the stencil. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and widths, from very thin for detailed sections to wide for applying paint to larger areas.

Paint Applicators from www.all-about-stencils.com

I recommend having a different brush for each color in your stencil. Washing one brush after each use allows water to remain in the bristles. It must have a good amount of time to dry thoroughly. If you use a moistened paint brush your paints will be thinned and more likely to seep under the stencil. Save yourself the headaches and have a few brushes on hand. Always remember that stenciling is a dry brush technique so keeping your brush dry is very important.

Another great option for paint application is a foam brush. They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Most commonly they are shaped like a paint brush in 1 or 2 inch widths. I find that these foam brushes are great for applying paint to a large area. But let’s say you have a small area to paint. No problem because foam brushes also come in small round sponges with a flat surface. These are called dabbers or spouncers. They are handy for getting into tighter spots and around edges.

Honestly, I always keep a good supply of stencil brushes and foam brushes on hand. Each one has its strengths and is just right in the perfect situation. So I suggest that you get a couple of each and experiment until you develop some of your own craft stenciling techniques. You will find that all of these options are pretty inexpensive so it won’t cost you a lot to have a good variety to play around with.

Zebra Baby Stencil from www.all-about-stencils.com

Securing the Stencil to Your Surface

Securing your stencil to the surface is essential for good results. A stenciling pattern that shifts can create several problems. It can smear the wet paint under the stencil. If you don’t notice a shift between coats of paint, you can end up with a double vision or shadow image. So, here are some of the best options for securing a stencil to the surface.

You can use low-tack masking tape in each corner or along the edges (or both). This will secure the edges and keep the stencil from moving. Make sure the stencil is laying flat against the surface before you tape down.

If you want your entire stencil to adhere to the surface, then try a spray adhesive. Just turn your stencil so that the side that will be against your wall or surface is facing you and spray. You will want to have some newspaper behind it to catch the access paint sprayed (it can be a little messy). Position the sprayed stencil to your surface and push down gently on the entire stencil. I like to run my fingers over the bridges to make sure every part is flat against the surface. This will keep paint from seeping under the stencil and that is the biggest advantage of creating a sticky back to your stencil.

If you are using a spray glue product make sure it is a “repositionable” type and safe for your surface. You do not want to remove the paint of your background surface when you remove the stencil. Make sure to read the directions carefully on the package or can and always test on your surface. If you find you have applied too much spray adhesive you may try sticking and removing it multiple times on a piece of scrap cloth or other surface.

Also, I have used a glue stick to secure stencils to the surface much the same as a with a spray glue. You don’t have the messy overspray situation as with the spray glue but you do have to be careful that glue from the stick does not get caught in the islands where you will be applying paint. When I use a glue stick I find it best to dab the glue on and use a finger to run it onto the bridges. Again, make sure that you are applying the glue to the side of the stencil that will be against your surface.

Tiger Baby Stencil from www.all-about-stencils.com

All About Paints

I highly recommend investing in good paints. Less expensive paints can be thin and runny. They are more likely to seep under your stencil edges. Also, you will need to apply more layers of paint to achieve the look you want This means more work and time spent on the project. Watery paints will be hard on a paper stencil too.

Craft stenciling can be a fun and exciting hobby! Once you get the hang of all the stencil supplies and tools available, you'll develop some fantastic techniques. Soon you'll be creating fabulous works of art!

For a true art form of stenciling I would like you to see the Toile Stencil. Usually this pattern represents a design that is too detailed for a stencil but we have a free one for you to work into your next craft stenciling project.

For all of your stenciling resources please visit our affiliates in the right column. I've provided a description of the craft stenciling supplies you may expect from each source.

We are thrilled to introduce these downloadable and Printable Stencils.

Instant gratification at its finest! You don't need a special printer - these designs are specially formatted to print straight from your home computer on standard letter sized paper. Once downloaded, you will have your complete stencil booklet with patterns and instructions. Just click, buy and print!

Each of these books of craft stenciling patterns will come to you as a down-loadable pdf file in your e-mail. Just check your e-mail after purchase for the link to connect to your file and print or save. It's that easy!

Click on any Book Cover Image for Project Ideas.

All designs can be adjusted to fit your project size. Instructions are included. Pages are 8.5” x 11”.

If you'd rather get your Stencil Books in Print, just click the blue button below each book.

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Fleur de lis Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Fleur de lis: Book of Stencils

This collection includes 22 craft stenciling patterns. Ten are easy single overlay. Six have 2 overlays and six have 3 overlays.

This purchase is of a PDF file which has 63 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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Oriental Designs Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Oriental Designs: A Book of Stencils

This collection includes 16 designs- Chinese Dragon, Bamboo, Oriental Figure with Coolie Hat, Ying Yang Koi Stencils, Bonsai Tree Stencil and 3 Cranes plus 10 Chinese Symbols (Eternity, Friendship, Happiness, Harmony, Long Life, Peace, Prosperity, Tranquility, Truth and Dragon.

This purchase is of a PDF file with 40 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this book in print for just $19.95 click here:

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Antique Door Hardware Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Antique Door Hardware: A Book of Stencils

This collection includes 5 craft stenciling patterns - Lion Head Door Knocker, Key Bow, Lock Plate and Mail Box Plaque (with two word options). These images should add a little fun and even some humor to the doors in your home while they introduce a touch of the past.

This purchase is of a PDF file with 25 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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At the Seashore Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

At the Seashore

Aaaahhhh...the lazy days of summer at the beach. This collection includes 6 designs- a Fish, a Crab, a Seagull, a Conch Shell, a Scallop Shell and a Seahorse.

This purchase is of a PDF file with 32 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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The Secret Garden Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

The Secret Garden

Create your own private wall mural garden retreat. This collection includes 12 stencils -fountain, bleeding heart, iris, bee, butterfly, foxglove, grasshopper, hummingbird, trumpet flower, morning glory, stone wall and stone path.

This purchase is of a PDF file with 51 pages.

Price: $9.95

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Tree Frogs Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs

This book contains 4 cute Red-Eyed Tree Frogs for you to paint in your next project. Bring a little of the rain forest to your home. There are 37 pages in this pdf file which includes the stencils of all 4 frogs (each has 5 overlays) and complete instructions.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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On the Farm Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

On the Farm

With these craft stenciling designs you can create the perfect barn yard setting for your little one. This collection includes 9 designs- a Cow, a Chicken, a Pig, a Sheep, a Lamb, a Horse, Fence, a Barn and a Tractor.

This purchase is of a PDF file with 40 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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Zoo Babies Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Zoo Babies: Stencils for a Nursery

This collection includes 7 animal stencils - an Elephant, a Giraffe, a Hippo, a Lion, a Monkey, a Tiger and a Zebra.

This purchase is of a PDF file with 40 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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Princess Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

For a Princess

This collection includes 7 designs- Royal Carriage, Knight in Shining Armor, Castle, Dragon, Sceptre, Tiara and Pillow plus the word "Princess."

This purchase is of a PDF file with 40 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this Book in Print for just $19.95 click here:

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Old Fashioned Luggage Labels Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Old Fashioned Luggage Labels and Travel Posters

Paint some travel posters or decorate an old steamer trunk with these 15 craft stenciling designs. 5 are Hotel Advertisements, 5 are Transportation Ads and 5 are Destination Ads (like Paris and New York).

This purchase is of a PDF file with 102 pages.

Price: $9.95

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To get this book in print for just $32.95 click here:

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Christmas Stencil Book from www.all-about-stencils.com

Christmas: A Book of Stencils

This collection includes 9 designs. They are Santa Claus, a Reindeer, a Christmas Tree (with options for decorations), a Candle with Holly Accents, Bells with a Bow, a Gingerbread Boy and Girl, and a String of Lights.

This purchase is of a PDF file which has 42 pages.

Price: $9.95

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Stencil Books from www.all-about-stencils.com

However, if you're looking for Stencil Pattern Books in Print (like these) 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.

Now here's that great video I promised you. Enjoy!





The best stencils in the world from The Stencil Library!


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New! Comments

Please share your ideas and any variations to this project you have!

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 Holiday Crafts!

Airbrush Stencils

Angel Stencil

Animal Stencils

Art Deco Stencil

Art Nouveau Stencil

Butterfly Stencils

Cat Stencils

Celtic Stencils

Cool Stencils

Cross Stencil

Dinosaur Stencil

Dog Stencil

Dolphin Stencil

Eagle Stencil

Flower Stencils

Graffiti Art Stencils

Grapevine Stencil

Guitar Stencil

Heart Stencil

Letter Stencils

Palm Tree Wall Stencils

Pineapple Stencil

Free Printable Stencils

Paisley Stencil

Quilting Stencil Patterns

Rose Stencil

Skull and Crossbones Stencil

Southwestern Stencils

Sports Stencils

Stencils Quilting

Teddy Bear Stencil

Toile Stencils

Tree Stencils

Tribal Stencil

Trompe l oeil

Tropical Flower Stencil

Valentine Stencils

I hope you truly enjoy these Free Stencils! Thank you so much for visiting and come back soon for more Stenciling Ideas!

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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.

Crafts & Supplies at joann.com!

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.

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