Friday, August 27, 2021

Fantastic Tips for Creating, Using and Storing your own stencils

 From the Close To My Heart Blog

Tips for Using and Creating Your Own Stencils

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

If you have yet to dabble in the world of stencil design, this is a great place to start! Even if you are a seasoned pro, maybe we’ll share something that you haven’t thought of yet. Either way, stick with us and then share with us some of your thoughts and ideas in the comment section that follows!

A stencil is a material with a cut-out design to which you apply your choice of pigment in order to transfer the design onto a separate surface. The benefits of using a stencil range from helping those of us who struggle with drawing a straight line ( ✋🏼 we’re all welcome here!) to those of us who like to create and duplicate intricate patterns, time and time again, quickly and with ease.

Stencils can be made of all sorts of materials and created in a myriad of ways. What we share here is just a sliver of the possibilities these multifaceted tools are capable of.


The very first step in stencil design is determining the product you want to use for your stencil. You can purchase ready-made stencils or create your own. If you are creating your own, consider the following information about these popular materials:

Stencil Sheets. Our stencil sheets are made from a medium weight stencil film. They can be machine cut, die cut, or paper punched and used with wet and dry applications. The see-through quality of stencil sheets, makes stencil placement easy—this is especially useful if you are layering images. Stencil sheets are the most durable way to go if you are hoping to reuse a stencil over and over again.

Cardstock. Stencils cut from cardstock have a limited use but are very economical. Placement can be tricky, however, since you can’t see through the stencil. Cardstock is great for edge stencils and positive shapes.

Vellum Paper. Vellum stencils work a lot like those cut from stencil sheets, but with one major drawback. These can only be used for dry applications and cannot be washed off. They are also not as durable as stencil sheets.


1. Get the most out of machine-cut stencils by choosing layered shapes. Always keep all of the negative pieces and store them together with the stencil. You never know when you may want to use one of these pieces for additional texture, color, or dimension in your art. 

2. Use the contour feature (in Cricut Design Space™) to make multiple stencils from a single image. Block out different parts of the image for each of the different stencils. This will allow you to create unique designs, but also to easily separate colors in different sections of the image if you want to use the stencils together, like we did with the two flower cards you see here.

3. Use basic shapes to weld images onto and to restructure shapes for easier stenciling. To create the cloud stencils, above, we welded cloud shapes (#M418DFA) onto a rectangle base. If your shapes don’t quite cover the size “base” you need or want, remember that you can easily duplicate and resize your shapes to make them work. When you are using a stencil like this one, move it around on the page as you add the color, or flip it over and use the back, to create variety from the one stencil pattern.


4. Just like we suggested for machine-cut stencils, keep both the positive and negative pieces that are made when you cut a stencil from a Thin Cuts die. They may be used for different looks and effects. 

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

5. Create stencils from stamp coordinating Thin Cuts, too! You can use these alone or to add dimension to a stamped image.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

The butterfly above was sponged with color then stamped. Use these sorts of stencils directly on your projects or cut them out, like we did here. 

6. Make letter and word stencils out of stencil sheets. You want these to be as durable as possible because these generally get used a lot.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

7. Keep the separate letters of favorite “words” together in a storage envelope for quick access. Make sure to keep the negative space pieces as well. Take a look at the letters “a,” “p,” and “o,” below. Easily attach these to your stencil with a small amount of adhesive tape to have ready to place and use when needed.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

8. Explore different media to use with your stencils.

DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

If you use alcohol markers, these can bleed slightly past your stencil image, as you see in the red Y. Metallic markers are another option. These work especially well on darker papers (see the Y on black cardstock). For a more textured look, consider heat embossing. Using embossing ink pens, like on the Y on the blue cardstock, you can have a more controlled inking experience, like you would with a marker. Use your stencils to create dimensional, shadow effects, too. In the case of the Y on the green cardstock above, we used the negative stencil shape to color in a black shadow with a journaling pen, then attached a die-cut paper Y on top, slightly offset.


DIY Stencils #closetomyheart #ctmh #diystencils #makeyourownstencils #stencils #stenciling #stencilling #cardmaking #scrapbooking #papercrafting

9. Achieve a subtle shadow, watermark-type look by using embossing ink with your stencils. You can dab the VersaMark™ ink pad straight through your stencil and onto your art, or have a more controlled inking experience using embossing ink pens.

10. Use inks from our Exclusive Inks™ re-inker bottles or ink squeezed out from our shimmer brushes with a sponge or dauber. Add the ink to an all-purpose mat and pick it up with a sponge (or dauber), then pounce the sponge on a scratch piece of paper to remove some of the excess ink before adding it to your project through the stencil.

Of course, you can use a shimmer brush directly on your artwork, too, without squeezing out the ink, for a brushed on ink effect. It will look different than the pounced-with-a-sponge look. Similarly, you can also use a waterbrush to brush on the Exclusive Inks™. 

Now that we’ve given you a few tips on how to make and use stencils, let’s explore a few ideas on how to store them. In the video below, our Creative Arts Manager, Karen, shares several tips:

(Here’s the link for the Design Space file Karen mentions in the video!)

Stencils are a great way to quickly and easily add dimensional elements and general pizzazz to artwork. Do you use stencils in your artwork? Let us know in the comments below how you incorporate this versatile tool in your art!

Monday, August 9, 2021

Retiring Colors

Here are the colors that will be retiring for this year at 
the end of August.

Shimmer Brushes

Be sure to get anything you still want now before they're gone.

Shop my website

P.S. Looking forward to sharing the new colors and products 
with you soon.

Monday, June 28, 2021


Going Soon: May–June Catalog Items!

There are only a few days left to shop from the May–June catalog! Make sure you've got enough of these great crafting products before they are gone!
Hillside Cottage Paper Collection
Stars & Sparklers Paper Collection
Desserts à la Whirl Stamp
+ Thin Cuts
Mix-in Paper Packet
See more in this catalog!

Thursday, June 3, 2021

What's new in June with Close To My Heart? June Crop and Workshop Schedule

Now is a great time to become a Maker!

When you sign up as a Maker with us this month, you'll receive free registration to celebrate with us at this year's virtual Convention—a $99 value!
Learn more here

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Return to YOUR Happiest Place!

Make even more happy memories shine with the return of this popular product collection—now at 20% discounted prices AND with two new workshop projects!  
Learn more here 
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June Stamp of the Month

The June Stamp of the Month, Outdoor Borders, features several border images that you'll love using to adorn a variety of projects! This set is only available this month, and it can be yours for just $5 when you place an order of $50 or more! 

Find out more about the stamp  set  here.

VIP Customers get the Stamp of the Month set FREE with their qualifying order!   Learn more here.

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And look at this!  My personal 

favorite paper pack

Stars and Sparklers

See the all the featured products and and workshops here

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Join me for a scrappy good time!

 Crop and Workshop Schedule for June

Open Crop
Friday, June 11 - 5:30pm - 11:00pm
Please reserve your spot  (only 6 spots open) - No charge - Bring your own project to work on.  My machines, stamps, and inks are available for you to use.  Cardstock and individual sheets of paper available for sale.

Two Page Scrapbooking workshop 
Monday, June 14 - 6:30 - 9pm - We will create a two page spread following a pattern from Volume 5 -Make it From Your Heart.   Please make your reservation (only 6 spots open) - $8 - Bring your adhesive, paper trimmer, and scissors and get the rest of what you need from my stash.

Open Crop
Monday, June 28 - 2:00 pm - 11:00pm
Please reserve your spot  (only 6 spots open) - No charge - Bring your own project to work on.  My machines, stamps, and inks are available for you to use.  Cardstock and individual sheets of paper available for sale.


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

May - June catalog, specials and my workshop schedule

May - June Catalog
click on link to see catalog

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Workshops and Events

For those who live locally - a return to in-person workshops!
Limited to 6 participants per session to allow for social distancing -
 so please make your reservation to attend.  
My workshop is downstairs. 
Card workshops can be conducted upstairs by request
 if you have difficulty with stairs.

Open Crop - Friday, May 14 - 1:00 to 11:00 pm
No charge - Donations accepted for the Hospitality Center
Bring your own supplies and project to work on.  Individual sheets of cardstock and printed papers will be available for sale.  Use of my Cricut, die cut machine and thin cuts ore embossing folders, stamps, and inks will be available for use.  (Sanitizing products available to clean items between uses.)  Masks optional. I'm vaccinated, so comfortable with social distancing.  Please bring your own bagged evening meal if you plan to come for the duration of the crop.  Bagged snacks and beverages are available.
Two Page Scrap - Tuesday, May 18 - 6:00 - 8:30pm - $8
Bring your own tools - paper trimmer, scissors, adhesives and any other favorite scrapping tools.  We will use a pattern from the new- Volume 5 - Make it From Your Heart.  Choose your papers, embellishments, etc, from my stash.

All Occasion Card Workshop - Thursday, May 27 - $12
                                                      two sessions available
                                                      2:00 - 4:30 or 6:00 - 8:30
Please bring your own adhesiveMake 4 cards.  Materials will be pre-cut.  You stamp, color etc. and assemble following the samples.  You may make additional cards for $2 per additional card.

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May Stamp of the Month

Bring May flowers to your own artwork using the May Stamp of the Month, Flowers for You! This set is only available this month, and it can be yours for just $5 when you place an order of $50 or more!
See the Whole Set
VIP Customers get the Stamp of the Month set FREE with their qualifying order! Learn more about becoming a VIP Customer
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And WOW! Is this beautiful!  

It's definitely one of my favorite collections!

You Are Enough

Discover this month's beautiful You Are Enough collection, featuring an exclusive paper collection and coordinating products featuring stunning rose gold accents! 
See the whole collection  and a video  showing the beautiful papers in this collection

Other Special Promotion Stamps Sets you may like

See it  here

See it here