Maybe mambo -- making a stencil for my Gelli plate

Making my own stencils for monoprinting
In the midst of my Gelli Plate madness, I'm taking a break to share how I've been making my own stencils. I'm not trying to put Stencil Girl out of business, but I bet most of you could make your own stencils, too.

The inspiration for my most recent stenciling experiments comes from the book Fabulous Fifties: Designs for Modern Living. Filled with circle skirts, lucite handbags, and poodle everything, the book is an endless source of inspiration for a Googie-lover like me. 

I love this textile pattern. I can almost hear the music that these abstract figures are dancing to. Mambo, maybe? I wanted to create a stencil like this that I could use on my Gelli plate.
Retro textile print
I tried scanning the image and playing around in Photoshop. It was hard to delete the pink background without losing an arm (the dancer's, not my own). I decided that simply sketching the figures would be easier. I think I got pretty close. 
Making my own stencils for monoprinting
I scanned my sketch and then I printed two copies on card stock. Why two? I wanted to make a separate stencil for each dancer. That way, they could be different colors. Also, they may want to dance solo sometimes.
Making my own stencils for monoprinting

Making my own stencils for monoprinting
Below is one of my favorite prints. I started with a red-grey background. Then I added a yellow-orange layer textured with bubble wrap (I meant to cover the whole page, but I like the grey stripe -- a lucky mistake.) Then came the red figure with arm raised, and finally her dark grey partner.
final print
Does it need anything else? I'm still thinking about it. Maybe some text.

When I began using card stock for stencils, I was afraid they wouldn't be strong enough to survive more than one print session. I was wrong. As the paint builds up on the back, the stencil actually gets stronger.  

Do you make your own stencils? Any tips to share?


  1. Love your stencils. Maybe make your original gelli print on a music sheet? I have made some stencils from card stock and some from figures cut from magazines. The card stock definitely holds up better than the magazine pages, although with repeated layers of paint they get stronger, too.

    1. Printing on sheet music is a great idea. I will definitely give it a try.

  2. This looks great! I think it's a great idea, too.

  3. Wonderful idea! Love your stencils. I've also made stencils on cardstock and love them. Strong enough ...


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