Antique Sheet Music Flourishes

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Making and Cutting Stencils
A Look back at History
Stencilling is an easy and effective way to create shapes and patterns and has been practised for thousands of years.  It is thought that stencilling was practised as a decorative form by the ancient Egyptians in 2500BC.   Many examples of primitive stencilled designs have also been discovered on fabric, pottery and other artefacts made in China, Indonesia and South East Asia.  

The introduction of wallpaper to Europe in the late seventeenth century presented new opportunities for stencillers and one of the most dramatic uses of stencils over the last three hundred years has been the manufacture of flock wallpapers.

Materials Required
Fabric                                                       Pencil                                      Paint
Cutting Board                                          Acetate/stencil film             Stencil Brushes
Craft Knife                                               Masking Tape                       Tracing paper

You will find ideas almost everywhere you look for designing a stencil.  Examples are china, wallpaper, antique tiles, fabric patterns or even wrapping paper.  It may be possible to copy the design directly if it is already printed on a flat surface to the required scale.  There will be no need to redraw the design before you trace onto acetate or stencil film if this is the case.

I have taken my design from a piece of fabric in a traditional design.    Lay the fabric flat and place tracing paper over  the pattern to be copied and trace around the outline with a soft pencil.  Try to make the outline dark because this will be used to create an impression to transfer onto the acetate or stencil film.


Place tracing paper on top of the acetate and secure with masking tape.  Carefully trace around the copied design with pressure to transfer the outline onto the acetate or stencil film.

Place acetate onto a cutting board and secure with masking tape.
Using a sharp craft knife cut out the pieces in turn until you have a
copy of your original fabric pattern.
Now your stencil is ready to transfer.  I have copied mine onto a piece of lining paper just to show the final result.  Stencils can be copied onto fabric, walls, floors and items of furniture.

Finally secure the stencil to the wall, floor or item of furniture and dab a small amount of paint with a sponge or stencil brush onto the stencil design.  Do not overload the brush or sponge.  I usually dab the paint onto a piece of newspaper first.   

The finished design


I am sure you will agree the finished product is simple but effective.    
HAPPY STENCILLING                                        Aileen


  1. Hi Aileen,
    Home Sweet Home... what a charming and simply elegant site! Once upon a time I stenciled everything from gift boxes to window shades. Such a lovely art form.
    Meet your newest follower.
    Hope you'll swing by and visit me too.
    Company is always welcome at my place.


  2. New Follower from BlogFrog!
    I wish I had the patience for stencils...I'm a bit too much of a perfectionist and I tend to get really disgusted when things like that don't turn out "just" so for me. You have a beautiful blog! can't wait to look around more!

  3. Omigosh Aileen, I just got the best idea for stenciling while reading your blog post. What a cool and inexpensive way to decorate that looks awesome. Brilliant! ~Cheryl with The WAHM Solution

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Hi Aileen,
    Thank you for stopping by my BF community. Nice to meet you! Love you blog! I am now you newest follower. When you get a chance stop back and fix your link. It did not work when I clicked on it. I hate to see you not get more followers due to an error. Digna
    Autumn Blues Reviews Help for Building Your Blog Stats Community