Quick and Easy Hot Glue Stencil

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I promised somewhere along the line that I would do a homemade stencil tutorial. So here goes! These are SO easy to make! I love that the designs are completely unique, but there are some limitations. For example, it’s difficult to get a really crisp stencil with this method so if that’s what you want, I would use mylar. The only other limitation that I can think of is your imagination!

Materials:

  • high temp glue gun
  • high temp glue sticks
  • non stick surface of some sort (I’m using a cookie sheet)

Tutorial

Step 1: Gather your materials and make certain that your surface is something that your hot glue won’t stick to. I have read that you can use wax paper or aluminum foil. Trust me, both are not worth your time. I did have some success with parchment paper but that could get pricey. So an old cookie sheet or a dollar store cookie sheet will work just fine.

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Step 2: Create your design! If you want to be more fussy about it you could draw your design onto your surface – I would use a washable marker or maybe a pencil? I’m simply free handing it. The only thing that you need to be careful about is making sure that all of your lines are touching so that your stencil will hold together. If any of the connections look weak you can go back and give them another dab of glue.

I like that the glue is kind of “blobby” and uneven. I think it lends a handcrafted look to an otherwise modern design. You can be as simple or complex as you like. If you use a smaller glue gun you can most certainly get some finer details in there. Don’t worry about the little strings that come off as you are making your design because you can easily clean those up when things have cooled down. Also, if you are unhappy with any of your lines you can carefully trim the glue with scissors or an exacto knife when you are done.

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Step 3: Let it completely cool off (this takes about 10-15 minutes) and then carefully lift it from your surface. Voila! A homemade stencil!

I will be using mine on an 18 x 18 inch pillow. So after the stencil above cooled I lifted it up and connected another three rows of circles.

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Here it is in action for some sun printing!

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Here’s the finished product. If you would rather buy then DIY go here. 🙂

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Sun Printing with Dye-Na-Flow

So here I go with another new technique! The first time I did this it didn’t go so well, mostly because I failed to follow the directions. Hopefully things will go better this time.

This is a sun printing technique using a fabric paint called Dye-Na-Flow. According to the Dharma Trading website where I purchased this paint it is a “thin, free flowing concentrated color that works on any fabric.” I had it on hand because I had used it to do some marbling (another tutorial?). According to what I read, you simply paint it onto some fabric, place a mask of some sort (stencil, flowers, rocks, whatever) on to the fabric and put it in the sun. The magical part is that wherever you put the mask the fabric will return to it’s original color. I have no idea how this works but it’s super cool!

As I said, my first attempt with this technique didn’t work out so well. I painted a white silk scarf with a combo of white and black paint and then placed some rocks on top to create a pattern. The pattern was just okay. The rocks left a less defined print than I would have liked and I didn’t do a great job of smoothing out my fabric so anywhere that there was a bump or wrinkle was imprinted! Yikes! When it was dry I hastily scooped it up and rinsed it (before checking the instructions). Apparently, I was supposed to wait 24 hours and then iron it for 3 minutes before washing it. So, not surprisingly a lot of the color washed out. Here are a few pics:

Now for round 2!

Materials:

  • white cotton pillow cover – or fabric of your choosing
  • Dye-Na-Flow paint
  • mask or stencil of some sort
  • sunlight 🙂
  • Derwent Inktense color sticks – optional

Tutorial

Step 1: Pick a piece of fabric and give it a quick wash to remove any schmutz. Then smooth it out REALLY well. You don’t want to have any creases because as you can see from the pics above, they will show up in your final result.

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Step 2: Paint your fabric with Dye-Na-Flow making sure to cover it well. I’m using a blank white cotton pillow cover that I purchased from Dharma Trading.

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Step 3: Add your stencils or “masks.” I am using stencils that I made from hot glue (I see another tutorial headed your way!). I played around with the design until I was satisfied and then I put it in the sun until it was completely dry.

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This is how it looked when I took off the stencils. Interesting that it isn’t solid black around the zipper even though I put a lot of paint in that area. Apparently, it needed more! Some of the edges are also a bit lighter then I would like. The pattern is kind of interesting, but I’m not in love with it.

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Here’s the back side. I made sure that it was saturated with paint, so I’m not certain what happened here but it’s kind of cool.

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I really wasn’t happy with how this came out so I did a little embellishing.

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I used these to add the color. Better.

Step 4: Let your fabric “cure” for 24 hours and then iron on high for 3 minutes to set the color. Wash with a mild detergent until your water runs clear. Hang to dry and iron.

Here’s the finished pillow:

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As you can see, some of the color washed out. I don’t mind that it’s more muted but I’m not gaga over it. It looks more “craftsy” than “artsy” to me but I think that this technique has potential and I will very likely revisit it at some point. Thanks for hanging out with me! I would love to get your thoughts on this one. 🙂