Designing your own crafts at Christmas can be fun and inexpensive. You don't have to be an artist to embellish tote bags, ornaments, greeting cards, or other projects. You can do it all with stencils you create yourself using your computer and your printer. Children love holiday crafts and using stencils is an especially easy way for them to have access to unlimited design and image possibilities. Whether your images will end up on wood, glass, fabric, or another surface, stencils are a great way to apply an outline of an image that you can later transform into a colorful image with paint.
You may want to start a project but don't know exactly where to begin. Even if you have no particular focus, there are many avenues you can take for inspiration and to find appropriate images. Also look at the list of ideas at the end of this article. In additon, you may discover something that appeals to you by flipping through magazines, taking a photo of something you see at the mall, or simply Googling "free Christmas images". You'll find many sites where you can download images absolutely free. Be sure to read the restrictions on each site as they can differ greatly. Most allow you the right to download the images for your personal use. The only restrictions usually involve your use of the image if you plan to sell what you create or publish it. When searching for images to use for stencils, look for simple, uncomplicated designs and lines. Keep in mind that you will be the one cutting out each line of the stencil. Don't choose something that will be so involved, frustrating or challenging, that it will discourage you from completing your chosen project.
To create a stencil from the color image you've found, bring the image into Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or a similar program that will allow you to alter the image. The following instructions use tools and menus from the Photoshop program but your image program may have similar tools with different names and menus.
1) Use the magic wand tool to select the entire white background.
2) From the select menu, choose "INVERT". Everything will be selected on the page that is NOT white.
3) In the "EDIT" menu, select "FILL SELECTION". Choose 50% grey. Click OK. Your color image is now grey.
4) To create a stencil, print out the image on card stock.
If your stencil will only be used two or three times, you can simply print your image on card stock and use a craft knife to cut the stencil. Repeatedly using the same cardstock stencil, is not a good idea. If you use acrylic paint on your stencil, it will cause the edges to curl, or warp after several applications and the edges will not lay flat. This will result in images with poorly defined edges.
Use a die-cut to create an outline of an image.
Spray adhesive on the back of the die cut piece. With your stencil still in place, position the die cut where it would normally fit, but move it slightly away from the stencil edge and press in place.
Paint this area to create an outline. Remove the die cut and repeat on all sides until the entire image is outlined.
Use a die-cut for a reverse paint image.
A die-cut can be used to form "resist", preventing an area from receiving paint. The lettering on this tote bag is a good example.
The die-cut letters were sprayed with adhesive and put into position before the white paint was applied to the side of the red canvas tote.
When stenciling one single object that will contain two colors, like the Christmas light bulb pictured above, put down a piece of painters tape to mask off one color area. Paint the open area. When it is dry, move the tape to cover the newly painted area. Now you're free to apply another color.
STENCIL PROJECT IDEAS
Christmas napkin rings
Christmas greeting cards
Christmas gift tags
Christmas gift bags
Christmas wine bags
Christmas wrapping paper
Christmas tree ornaments
Christmas tree skirts
Christmas tote bags
Christmas coffee mugs
Christmas dinner napkins
Christmas serving tray
Christmas tee shirt
Christmas baby's bib
Christmas framed artwork
Christmas door hanger
Christmas photo album
Christmas cookie jar
Christmas napkin holder
Christmas design photo mats/frames
Christmas gift baskets
Christmas dinner place setting cards
See The Kinds Of Projects You Can Create With Stencils
Other Christmas Relalted Topics: