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White Finnabair stencil with lace design. Next to it, a black canvas with white stenciling and paint brush.

Stenciling 101: Your Guide to Mastering 6 Essential Techniques

At DecoupageNapkins.com, we often receive inquiries on how to use all the beautiful material and supplies that we stock. Today, we're zooming in on stenciling techniques, a method that can add flair and texture to your crafts in unexpected, delightful ways. We are lucky enough to have many artistic friends that are willing to share their experiences with you.

Our friend Donna at Mason Creations etc., has shared with us a video with 6 techniques that she demonstrates. I have broken down her video on this blog for easy reference. Here is Donna's (11 min) video:  

Materials You Will Need

Before we delve into the techniques shared by our talented friend Donna at Mason Creations etc., here's a checklist of the materials you'll need to get started. You may need one or more of these items depending on which technique (#1 - #6) that you want to try. Donna covers this in her video.

Remember, always clean your stencil immediately after use to prevent the medium from drying on it, as it can be nearly impossible to remove once dried.

Technique 1: Raised Lettering with Modeling Paste

Create dynamic 3D designs and raised lettering on your crafts with the versatile modeling paste. The paste Donna uses in her video is a lightweight acrylic putty which dries to a hard, opaque white matte finish.
  1. Lightly coat the back of your stencil with a repositionable spray adhesive and place it on your project surface.
  2. Mix a bit of modeling paste with a color of your choice.
  3. Using a pallet knife, spread the mixture over the stencil.
  4. Remove the stencil to reveal a 3D design. This method can be used for creating raised lettering or any 3D stencil designs.
  5. You can paint the raised design or use rubs or dry brushing to make it stand out more.

Technique 2: Foil Transfer with Transfer Gel

Add a shimmering touch to your projects using transfer gel and colored foils for glossy, reflective designs. The Decofoil Transfer Gel Duo that Donna uses in her video is sold in our store. This is a permanent transfer medium that dries clear and remains tacky (so that foil can be adhered to it).

  1. Apply a light coating of repositionable spray adhesive on the stencil and place it on the project area.
  2. Spread transfer gel over the stencil using a pallet knife. The gel goes on white but will dry clear and sticky.
  3. After the gel dries, rub a gold foil sheet (or any color of your choice) over it. The foil will stick wherever there is gel, giving you a glossy, attractive design.

Technique 3: Glass Bead Gel

Achieve a textured and glistening effect on your art pieces with the innovative use of glass bead gel. The ReDesign with Prima Glass Bead Gel that Donna uses in her video is sold in our store. This gel has suspended glass beads that add a texture element. It dries clear. If you prefer, you can add other mediums to tint the gel for a colorized effect.

  1. Stick your adhesive-sprayed stencil onto the project surface.
  2. Use a pallet knife to spread glass bead gel over the stencil; this gel contains tiny beads that give a beautiful textured effect.
  3. Allow it to dry overnight. The gel goes on white but dries clear, showcasing the glass beads embedded in it.
  4. Experiment by mixing the gel with different paint colors and using rubs or dry brushing to highlight the beads after drying.

Technique 4: Coarse Texture Medium

Recreate the rustic essence of natural surfaces such as bricks or rocks using a coarse texture medium. The acrylic coarse texture gel that Donna uses in her video, dries to a flexible, coarse-grade granular look with a semi-gloss sand like finish.

  1. Spray adhesive onto your stencil and place it over your project.
  2. Use a pallet knife to spread coarse texture medium (great for creating textures like bricks and rocks) over the stencil.
  3. Experiment by adding paint to the texture paste for various effects.
  4. Once dry, paint over it to suit your project theme and use rubs or dry brushing to enhance the texture.

Technique 5: Crackle Paste

Introduce a vintage flair to your crafts with crackle paste, which creates a unique aged and crackled texture as it dries. The Ranger Texture Paste which Donna uses in her video is sold in our store. It dries opaque with a semi-matte finish.

  1. Lay the adhesive-sprayed stencil on your project and spread crackle paste over it with a pallet knife.
  2. Mix some paint into a portion of the crackle paste and spread it over the stencil as well.
  3. Allow it to dry overnight. As it dries, the cracks will appear, creating a fascinating textured look.

Technique 6: Glitter with Gloss Gel Medium

Infuse a sparkling allure to your projects with a vibrant mix of glitter and gloss gel medium. The medium Donna uses in her video is a gloss-heavy gel often used as a paint thickener, giving an oil paint-like texture.

  1. Spray your stencil with adhesive and place it on your project surface.
  2. Mix gloss gel medium with glitter (choose a color that brings you joy) and spread it over the stencil.
  3. Let it dry overnight. The gel medium dries clear, leaving behind a beautiful glittery design.

Bonus Tip: Perfect Paint Stenciling

When using paint for stenciling:

  1. Make sure your stencil is firmly adhered to prevent bleeding.
  2. Dip your stencil brush in paint and remove most of the paint on a paper towel.
  3. Use upright, light circular motions to apply the paint.
  4. For cleaner edges, use painter's tape along the stencil's edge.


We invite you to explore the wonderful world of stenciling with nearly 200 stencil designs available for all seasons and sentiments at DecoupageNapkins.com. Get ready to add new dimensions to your crafts or journals. We can't wait to see the beautiful creations you'll craft with these techniques!

 A special thank you to the creative genius, Donna at Mason Creations etc., for sharing these amazing techniques with us. Your expertise is greatly appreciated!

Happy Crafting