Using Multi-Layered Stencils in your Mixed Media artwork

Many of you know that I have a line of stencils with StencilGirl and one of the questions I am asked often is how to use the multi-layered stencils in the line, so without further ado let's get to a quick tutorial to show you how I use them. We are going to use the Doris Light Plate & Dark Plate Stencils for this tutorial. The slide show below gives you a quick overview of the steps, if you want all the details you'll find them below.  

Step One: Gather your supplies. You'll need:

  • a surface (I used a sheet of coldpress watercolour paper)

  • 4 paint colours (light, midtone, dark and contrast colour)

  • sponge or stencil brush

  • paper towel (to remove excess paint from brush)

  • Easy Tac or some other removable spray adhesive

  • your stencils


Step Two: get a little fresh air, and while you are outside spray the back of your stencils with the Easy Tack. This is my secret for getting great results with stencils that have fairly complex and small cutouts so shhhhhh don't tell anybody. 

Cover your surface with the midtone colour of your paint. Easy peasy. 


Place your Dark Plate stencil on your surface, you'll want to pat it down with your hands to make sure it is fully stuck down. It's probably pretty obvious from the name, but just in case...this one will use your dark coloured paint. Notice the small cutouts in the top right hand corner and the bottom left and right hand side, these are registration marks, colour them in with a pencil to ensure that the next layer lines up perfectly. 


Now taking your paint or stipple brush and using a "pouncing" motion apply the paint. Less is more here. You are better off doing a couple of coats of paint than to be heavy handed. Too much paint on your sponge or brush means that paint will seep through and create a pretty messy effect. StencilGirl has loads of videos demonstrating proper technique here if you are having trouble. 

Now you are ready to add the light plate. Remember the registration marks when you place the second stencil. Now repeat the previous steps using your lightest colour paint.

A little fine-tuning. Painted in some details in the eyes and joined some of the stencil breaks with paint.

Add some paint to the background to really make the image pop. I used Pyrrole Red from Golden. 

If you want to try it out yourself, or to see the other stencil combinations, you can find my stencils at StencilGirl, right here! A whole new batch of face stencils will be coming out very soon....stay tuned. ..

Product Links:
StencilGirl Doris, Dark Plate
StencilGirl Doris, Light Plate
Golden Paint (Indian Yellow Hue, Pyrrole Red, Anthraquinone Blue)
Kroma Artist Acrylics (Titanium White)
Pam Carriker Sheer Acrylics by Matisse (Mustard Seed)