Handmade Stencils & Masks

I wanted to make my own stencils and masks, for more Gelli Plate printing fun, so I had a look in KMart for suitable materials. I didn’t want to be splashing out money on a simple piece of plastic that could be gotten anywhere.

And I’m pleased to report that I’ve discovered a really cheap source of stencil blanks. They’re a pack of 6 plastic files, in dark pink, blue and green, plus clear for their covers. At $3 a pack of 6, you can’t go wrong.

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For inspiration, I used the seaweed-like motifs on this wrapping paper.
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I cut out the motifs I liked, then placed them on one of the dark pink files, traced around them with a copper Sharpie (the closest thing to hand), then cut them out.

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Et voila! Simple as a pimple. Handmade stencils. Which can also be used as masks…no, not for your face, but to cover over areas you don’t want to paint over.

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Here’s an example of how I combined the use of my handmade circular Gelli plate with my new Seaweed Stencils/Masks. If you brayer a layer of paint over the Gelli plate, then lay a few of the seaweed stencils over that, and pull a print, the stencils act as masks or resists, leaving you clear unpainted areas.

If you then remove the stencils (using tweezers), and pull another print on a fresh piece of paper, this is what’s called a “ghost” print, and you’ll essentially get the opposite of your first print. Areas that had paint will now be the clear areas, because you pulled that off with your first pull, and where the stencils were will now be paint, which gets stamped onto your fresh paper.

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Here are two examples of a simple, basic “brayer on paint-lay on masks- pull print” technique using a rectangular Gelli Plate. I really like the organic shapes of the masks, they remind me of the botanic-inspired prints of Henri Matisse – see the 2 Matisse examples below:

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Hmmm…I may have subconsciously just tapped into my Muse. This has exciting possibilities!

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