A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Monday, December 7, 2015


I want to yawn when I think of stencils. I think they are great for production as in many copies of one thing but really, when do I use that. I have demonstrated using stencils many times but of course I can't find those pictures but I did find these.

For this post I wanted to try something different and a bit more challenging. 

I started out with this picture and used an X-acto knife to cut out the image. 

Wasn't I surprised when 3 pieces were still sitting on my desk. See the three pieces between the birds legs? Well, I had to lay out the big stencil and fit those three pieces back into the picture. Then I laid the silk screen on it and with just the faint set dot of Elmer's school glue, attached the three pieces to the screen with that dab of glue.

This was actually the very first screen I did with Judith and I just threw down some soda soaked fabric that had been mashed into a bag from last year and pulled a print. WRONG. The fabric was so wrinkled that the print was a mess. I got out my T-pins and pulled it taunt. I "tried" to place the screen in the exact same spot again. Right, like anyone can do that. I only got an echo around the right birds beak. Lots of missing dye. Live and learn and isn't it much better that I do all the stupid things and tell you about it than having to do them yourself?

They were pretty bland so after pulling a few prints on white fabric, I grabbed my credit card and went to town with the thickened dye. BIG improvement. The actual birds are about 7" across and would make a great book cover, incense/balsam fir pillow or a pin cushion. I would want to add some stitch or possibly stitch details like wings and shadows.

Washed and dryed

Much to my amazement, I really like these. I think it is the organic backgrounds.


  1. Thank you for sharing your process……esp. what you considered mistakes……we all learn that way!!! BTW - I like the results too!

  2. Beth, not stupid. I tell my gals there are NO mistakes, just creative opportunities. uhm, ? keep being stupid??? ;^) Luv your stuff!

  3. Really love these birds and thanks for the cautionary tips!

  4. I think the different shades of color within the birds shapes helps also. What material do you use to make the stencil?

  5. Love the tip on using elmers school glue to hold the little detached pieces to the screen. I have just hoped once I had done a couple of pulls that they would stay put, sometimes it worked, sometimes they shifted slightly and of course I did not notice until too late.

  6. Funny how we know what should be done but try to work around it. Been there, done that. I think the birds turned out wonderfully. I love the finished backgrounds.

  7. I am full of cautionary tales because mistakes are a way of life for me!! I used plain old printer paper. And I agree about the multiple colors IN the birds!! Soon you will see what I did with one of he prints - the boring all yellow print.


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