Bungalow Stencilling Class

by Josh on March 24, 2006 · 2 comments

in Ideas

Last night I got my first taste of arts & crafts stencilling by participating in a class with Amy Miller of Trimbelle River Studio & Design held at the community college downtown.

Before yesterday, my last experience with painting stencils was in junior high. I made a lame stencil of the singing California Raisins, spilled paint all over my clothes, and had to call my mom to bring me a clean outfit. That’s a lot of stencil baggage, people.

So I’m happy to report that I had a great time at class and I didn’t spill any paint. Yes, the raisins have stopped singing (copyright Clarice Starling). It helped that the oil paint sticks we used were more like a crayon than wall paint, and as an instructor, Amy was informative and casual.

My stencil practice

We got to see numerous examples of stencils in bungalows or arts & crafts homes including vintage examples as well as photos from her own portfolio. These included many examples of stencil wall borders, cabinets, curtains and pillows. I started to imagine all the places I could add a little flair, or better yet, add a custom detail to otherwise generic accents.

Most of the class was spent with brushes in hand practicing with the stencils as Amy instructed us. We practiced several techniques for applying and blending colors. (My first practice stencil is shown to the left.) We also discussed how to handle challenges like corners and stencil layout.

Even though the whole session lasted only three hours I completed the class feeling prepared to tackle a stencil project in my bungalow. I probably would have bought supplies for a stencil project on the spot like several of my classmates did, but Ms. Bungalow and I have not yet agreed on a plan for where to stencil in our house or what kind of designs we like.

So although I don’t have an immediate plan to stencil the house, I’m confident that I know how to attempt the job when the time comes. For now I’ll just keep my eyes open for cool arts & crafts stencils and ideas for how to use them.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lili Rosenstreich August 29, 2006 at 9:03 am

I\’m trying to decide on a stencil in my powder room. There is a brazillian slate floor with strong blues, rusts and golds, but really no green. I\’m nervous about using any floral motifs (although I really prefer them) because I can\’t use green for stems etc. When you were looking at the portfolio, did you come across any florals that didn\’t use green and didn\’t look odd becasuse of it?

I\’ve seen that Trimbelle River site and most of those stencils look very soft and washy. I think I\’d do my more flat and bold. Any thoughts?

Thanks for your thoughts!

[copy & paste from old bungalow23 blog]


Josh August 29, 2006 at 10:24 am

Lili, I’m certain I saw floral stencil examples that deviated from strictly natural coloration. I thought they looked great. The subjects of the stencils are already abstracted into simple shapes, so why not abstract the colors as well?

In your room’s blue, rust & gold color scheme, I think stencilling leaves or background items blue, and painting flowers or accents rust and gold could look very pleasing and natural. Painting in flat, unblended colors will emphazise the abstraction of the design, though the amount of contrast you see will depend on the colors of stencil paints and the color of the wall you put them on.

Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned from the stencil class was to practice with a variety of ideas before committing something to the wall. If you choose paint colors to complement your room and find a floral stencil that you like, I’m sure that you can make something you really enjoy. Forget “stems=green” and see where your imagination takes you.


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