Relax and unwind this holiday season by crafting your own holiday greeting cards and wrapping paper.
By: Nicolette Tabram
Each December, I spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in my studio stenciling Christmas cards and gift wrap. It's a tradition I absolutely love – listening to the radio, with a scented candle burning, while eating mince pie. I become so completely absorbed that my children know to warn me of their approach, with a little cough or heavy footsteps.
The snowflake stencils for this project are very versatile and could be used in lots of different ways. I've used a simple Scandinavian palette of red and white, but metallic paint on dark paper could be very nice, or you could try neon on white for a clean, modern look.
For the following projects, you'll need three stencils with different snowflake motifs. If you're using a printed template, the first thing you'll need to do is cut and prepare the stencils. If you're using purchased stencils, you're ready to get started.
1. Lightly coat the back of Stencil 1 with spray adhesive. Place an unfolded card on a piece of scrap paper, and position the stencil in the center of the front. Or, if preferred, tape the stencil in position.
2. Dip the tip of the stencil brush into the paint, removing as much paint as possible on the inside rim of the bottle, and then apply the paint in a small circular motion through the stencil holes.
3. Carefully lift the stencil, then repeat, to create a row of three snowflakes, with the tips of each motif just touching. (Note that in this particular project, using the card and stencils I used, the snowflake on the left side overlaps the crease line on the card, but it will look great once it's folded in half.)
4. Reposition the stencil at the bottom of the card so it overlaps the edge, and the top tip of the motif is just touching the snowflake above. Continue along the row, then repeat at the top of the card.
1. Lightly coat the back of Stencil 1 with spray adhesive. Place an unfolded card on a piece of scrap paper. Position the stencil off-center and at a slight angle on the front of the card. Or, if preferred, you can tape the stencil in position.
2. Apply the paint in a small circular motion through the stencil holes.
3. Position the same stencil, or a different one, at a slightly different angle at the side of the first snowflake, so it's overlapping the edge of the card, and then apply the paint through the stencil holes.
4. Continue working around the first motif, alternating the snowflake shapes and adjusting the angles as you go. There's no right or wrong way to do this. Just have fun and enjoy the process.
1. Lightly coat the back of Stencil 1 with spray adhesive. Place the gift wrap flat on the work surface.
2. Place the stencil squarely in one of the corners of the paper, or tape it in position. Apply paint in a small circular motion.
3. Continue adding snowflakes down the edge of the paper. (Note that if you wish, you can measure the spacing between each motif with a ruler, although I tend to do this by eye. Once the paper is wrapped around a gift, it won't be noticeable if your spacing is uneven — and even if it is, it really doesn't matter.)
4. Repeat the stenciling process across the width of the wrapping paper.
1. Lightly coat the back of Stencil 2 and/or Stencil 3 with spray adhesive. Place the gift wrap flat on the work surface.
2. Either place and hold the stencil at an angle in one of the corners, or tape it in position. Apply paint in a small circular motion.
3. Reposition the stencil, rotating the angle a little, or use the other stencil, and apply paint again.
4. Continue across the surface of the wrapping paper, changing the angle or the stencil each time, and allowing roughly the same spacing.
This article and projects were printed with permission from Modern Stencils by Nicolette Tabram, published by CICO Books, an imprint of Ryland Peters & Small Ltd. The book is available in book-stores nationwide.
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