Saturday, May 10, 2014

Trying something new

Ever since I got the Alabama Studio + Design book, I've been obsessed by every technique (well, almost every) in there.  One thing I especially want to try is stenciling.  A few years ago I stenciled my dining room, entry way, and family room.   I used a variety of different stencil types and really loved it.  I imagine that doing it on fabric will be a lot of trial and error as well.  The difference is that when you mess up on a wall, you can just paint over it and try again.  Fabric is another story.

Well, the Alabama Chanin stencils  are all very cool, but also very expensive!  The great thing is that a lot of those stencils are available as free downloads on her website!  I downloaded the Anna's garden stencil and took it to Kinkos to have it printed since it is quite large.  I could not find stencil film locally on a roll, so I bought a package of 12 X 18 sheets.

I laid the pattern down on my cutting table and taped a stencil sheet over it. I used a Sharpie pen and traced the design.  Since my pattern is bigger than the sheet, I had to alter the design a little to make it fit on the edges.  The other thing is that this is a forgiving pattern, so it doesn't matter if the tracing is exact or not.

I overlapped the next stencil sheet over the first and decided where to split / overlap the designs.  I also had to shorten the design on the opposite edge since it was still larger than my two sheets.

The first obstacle was that it says to cut over a sheet of glass.  Well, I don't have any sheets of glass that I'm willing to give up  for this, but I did find an extra floor tile in the garage.  I think this will work perfectly.     
My original trepidation over cutting this stencil was the idea of using an exacto knife to do this.  I have bad arthritis in my hands and knew that it would not only be painful, but that I also might not be able to do it carefully enough.  When I was in hobby lobby the other day I saw a heat tool for cutting stencils.I decided to give it a shot. 

Day 2
Well, I am getting better with the heat tool, but I am still not happy with the results.  The heat tends to melt the plastic beyond where you want.  The edges are rough and sometimes curl up or warp.  I tried heating it with the hair dryer and put something heavy on it to make it flatter.  This helped.  You can see the difference below where I cut one stencil with the heat tool and started the other with  an exacto knife.  The knife gives a much better, cleaner cut.
cut with xacto knife

cut with heat tool

I've done some looking around on the internet, and I'm thinking it may be due to the template material that I used.  I'm going to try ordering some different types of template film and see if that makes a difference,  It certainly is easier and faster to use the heat tool, but the knife gives a much better result.


Linda T said...

I'll be anxious to see how this works out. I stenciled a bit in the "long ago years" but haven't had the urge strike me again. Who knows, when I see what you do get a new found interest. Good luck!

Nadine in NC said...

I'm not sure what temperature your heating tool uses, but I have had great luck with a junior wood-burning tool. As far a sheeting I have only done smallish projects and have had great success with the plastic from a package of bacon, the stencil sheets you buy in the store and even x-ray film (from a vet office from years ago).

I haven't experienced the type of curling that your photo shows. I think you are right that your heating tool doesn't have the right temperature for your sheeting material. I hope you can find the right combination to complete your project successfully. I look forward to seeing your finished project.