Stencils are a marvellous addition to your Gelli printing. The possibilities are endless. You can use them as a background or repeat shapes such as silhouettes or letters.
Of course, you can combine a Gelli plate and stencils, yet stencils can also be used on paper, walls or textiles.
Especially if you have several stencils, you can use them repeatedly and still have a different result every time. So stencils are a great addition to your creativity toolbox.
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Gelli plate and stencils
My personal challenge for 2022/2023 was an assignment to make a collage daily for 365 days. In March I used a lot of stencils for my collages.
Strictly speaking, using only stencils isn’t creating a collage because a collage involves using glue and not all of my work had glued pieces. Oh well.
How to avoid bleeding and smudges
What happens most when we are using a stencil, is that the paint bleeds or there are smudges below the stencil.
At times, I don’t mind because I use the smudges in the composition or I know I will add more layers so they will probably be covered.
Sometimes, we don’t want the bleeding and smudging. This can be solved.
- Make sure the paint is thick enough. Watery paint will bleed real easy;
- Try different ways of applying the paint. Use a special stencil brush which is a round, short-haired brush. Try an airbrush or a spray can. Some prefer fine-textured sponges or makeup sponges;
- Use a spray adhesive. A thin layer ensures that the stencil is firmly attached and also releases easily without residue.
Bought or self-made stencils
The easiest way to collect a couple of stencils is by buying them. The number of different types available will make it hard for you to choose, I know from experience. 😉
The advantage of purchased stencils is that they are perfect. They are cut with a laser, so there are no burrs. And they are available quickly, even if you order them online.
As far as I am concerned, it is also a disadvantage that they are perfect. Perfection is not always interesting. Another disadvantage is that more people have them.
Making your own stencils takes a lot of patience. You can cut or cut them out of thick paper or thin plastic.
The big advantage is that no one has that stencil. The downside is that you will have irregularities.
Use both the positive and negative forms of a stencil.
My stencilled collages from March 2023
Have a look at my Instagram account for more examples.