..Actually, that's wrong. Turns out I do have a problem, and like many problems, the solution is to be found at the end of more work than I originally planned to put into it.
See, I love stencils. They're awesome, and as I play with them more, I realize there are really two kinds--stencils, where the paint you put through them is the picture, and masks, where the paint you put through them DEFINES the picture.
|This is the clearest example I have--the two are quite literally the reverse of one another.|
There are options in between, of course--patterns, for instance, where both parts make up the idea, an the like. And all of them are sold as 'stencils'. For clarity's sake here though, I will refer to them as separate things, because that difference is important.
Because, in general, I like masks better than I like stencils. I like the idea that I can get as crazy and creative as I want on the bottom layer, and then just black out everything that's not the picture I want. And quite a lot of what you can just go buy is stencils, not masks.
And suddenly I want options that I just do not have.
Well, that's okay, I can make stencils, right? Sure I can! I even have blanks!
And so I made my very first real stencil (well, okay, the *very* first one was a cut-out heart to test things, but as it didn't require the exacto-knife, I'm kind of not counting it.) I wanted a leaf pattern for a 4x6" post card, and I didn't have anything that would do the leaves the way I wanted them, as a mask rather than a stencil. So, fine--I have trees! (oh, do I have trees!) I grabbed three different sizes of leaf off one of my sweetgum volunteers, traced them out, and got to cutting.
And it was a pain in the ass, but I'm pleased with how it came out, and I learned a lot in the cutting.
|Sweetgum mask, obviously having been used a few times|
|First test print on a 4x6" index card|
That gave me what I was looking for--a nice pretty print of leaves, repeatable, where the pattern on the leaves would be whatever I did first, rather than trying to lay down my colors and complexity through the plastic. (I left a frame around the 4x6 cutout area, so I would have something to hold onto to keep it still while applying paint. I've done this twice now and I think in future I need to just carry the pattern out to the edges of the plastic to allow for holding, rather than cutting a frame; I just don't have as much room as I'd like for layering.)
|This is the final product that I cut the stencil for. I am absurdly pleased with it.|
So last night I drew this out. I... I've got a lot of cutting to do.
....What on earth have I gotten myself into?