It is so much fun to use stencils in mixed media. Often they can create a sense of rhythm in a piece with their repeating patterns, add texture, and just add a soft extra layer of interest. They are definitely addictive to use! Since I don't live near art supply stores who sell them, lately I have taken to making my own. It's super easy, it allows me to create the perfect stencil for my art. First I create and bring up a pattern in photoshop. You could just draw it out as well, but this particular pattern is a little more on the geometric side, and a little less on the flowing side, so I want my lines to be more perfect.
Once I'm happy, I print out my paper on heavy cardstock.
Now the time consuming part comes in. I grab my xacto blade - and it is a lot easier if your blade is sharp. Mine wasn't so much - it's years old, so this task was a little more tedious than it needed to be :)
One by one, I cut out the sections. One important fact to remember about making stencils is that all your remaining parts have to be connected in some way - or else they won't hold together as a stencil.
I do a quick spray with my mists to be sure it turns out as I want on some paper scraps. I like it, so the last step is to "enforce" the stencil.
Applying a coat of gel medium, or even some acrylic paint will make your stencil withstand the 'abuse' it is going to get when you start using it. It is made of cardstock, so repeated exposures to water will just end up with a worn and torn stencil...and after all that time cutting it, you want to make it last a little bit longer than that. A coating of gel medium (heavy, soft - any sort will work!) will allow it to have a longer life. It might not last as long as a purchased plastic stencil, but it will last way longer than a non-protected stencil.
I hope you all enjoy some stencil making!! xo!