quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Cardstock Stencils & Watercolors

Keeping with the effort to blog more frequently, it’s time for another quick blog post!  

You may remember from a few posts back that I cut some Sheltie shapes from cardstock.  I saved the pieces they were cut from, with the plan to see how they worked as stencils.  I specifically thought of using them with the gel press/gel plate, and I still plan to try that sooner or later—but in the meantime I decided to try them with watercolors.  

Here’s a photo of one sheet of the makeshift stencils:

The first thing I tried with the cardstock stencil was some mica powder mixed with gum arabic.  This makes the powder work like a watercolor.  I mixed these several years ago (or more).  They dried in their palette, but were easy to reconstitute with a little water.  

Because these are mostly “color shift” mica powders, they look different depending on the background, lighting, and angle from which you view them.  As you can see, I used a piece of black paper for this little experiment.

I think these worked out pretty well, apart from the fact that they only look good from certain angles—but that has more to do with the mica powder paint than anything else.

For the next test, I used traditional watercolors (i.e. not shimmery or iridescent) in pan form, on plain watercolor paper.  

This worked pretty well, too.  Because I kept the mix fairly tight (not much water), it was easy to keep the paint inside the stencil.  The downside was that I hadn’t mixed enough of my colors, so I ended up with an unwanted splotch in the middle of the shape, when I went back in with more paint after the outer edges had started to dry.  

I tried to make it more intentional by going back after the whole thing had dried and adding more splotches, followed by some spatters.  

For the third experiment, I tried some watercolor pencils.  I don’t have much experience with these… They’re something Donald had bought, way back before we were married.  I think I prefer watercolor from pans and tubes, but some people manage to get beautiful effects with pencils.  It probably takes some practice to get the most out of them.  

I didn’t hate this one, but when I added the water to activate the pigments (after scribbling in the stencil area with pencil), I was a little heavy-handed.  The water (and pigment) flowed under the edge of the stencil in spots.

To try to remedy this, I went back after it was dry, placed the stencil back in position, and roughly outlined the shape in black pen.  I added a couple more details around the hind leg, though I’m not sure that worked as well…  Still, it’s better than it was before I defined the shape with the pen!  It was very blob-like, at that point. 

For the last test, I used more traditional watercolor, working on top of something I tried and didn’t like the look of, months and months ago.  

This time, I thought I’d use a very wet mix of paint, to decrease the uneven drying from the purple/blue version.  I went way too far with the water, though.  It was too thinly pigmented, and it flowed out from under the stencil.  Oops!  

So I decided to try the same trick from before, tracing the outline of the dog with the help of the stencil.  (Here’s the pen I used—an old Pilot Precise V5 extra fine pen.)  

It’s okay.  I’m still not crazy about this one, and the stencil didn’t fit quite so well over this blobby dog shape.  It definitely is an improvement, though.  

So, that’s the meager amount of art-and-crafting I’ve been doing since last time!  I’ve also finally started working on a new diamond painting after a very long break since the last one.  It’s a fox, and it’s going to take a while, probably.  No rush.  It’s not like I’ll actually do anything with the finished project!  (One of these days!)

Recent listening:  

Still listening to The Writing Retreat, by Julia Bartz, but since I haven’t been crafting much (and don’t love the book), it’s slow going.  



I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

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