Hello everyone, today I have something a little different for you which is more of a technique tutorial rather than a tutorial that results in a finished project.  This post is all about using your chipboards for stencilling and in particular, using them with gel plates.

I often use homemade stencils made from paper or cardboard and they can be very effective and last a surprisingly long time.  Here’s an example of some of my homemade stencils which have been made using cardstock and cut using dies.  They were all intended for short term use but I have been using them for well over a year now and the one in the middle with the brick pattern, has been used so often and with all kinds of mediums and yet it is still in good condition!  I really didn’t expect it to last past the first project I used it for and yet here it is, still fully functional and ready for business!

Using Chipboards as Stencils

So for this post, I thought I would show how you can also use your chipboards for stencilling and how to prepare them to last a bit longer (none of the cardboard stencils have been treated with anything).  I am using these two chipboards which have been designed to use as stencils.

Here they are out of the packaging, there are two in each package, so I put one of each away to use later. An alternative would be to glued both of them together to make a thicker stencil but I don’t feel that is necessary.


Before we get started, give them both a quick wipe with some paper towel to get them clean and wipe away the soot left from laser cutting.

The chipboards will work as stencils just as they are but if you want to make them last a bit longer and stop them absorbing paint etc, I like to give them a good coat of matte medium on both sides.

Paint on the matte medium on one side, then leave to dry (or if you are impatient like me, dry them with a hairdryer) before repeating the process on the other side.

For this tutorial, you will need a gel plate, any size will do.  I will be using this one which from memory is approx 3 x 7 inches:

Option One – acrylic paint

Using acrylic paint and a brayer, apply some acrylic paint to the gel plate, making sure to keep it light and even and smooth, then place the chipboard stencil on top.

Place a piece of paper over the top and use the brayer to burnish over the entire top of the gel plate.  My brayer happens to have paint on it still since I don’t really clean it but remember this is the back of the paper not the side that you will be printing on.  You can also just use your hands to do the same thing.

Carefully peel off the paper and your design will be printed on the right side of the paper. For some reason the size of this plate reminds me of a mobile phone so now I’m thinking that would make a cool design for a phone!

Now carefully lift the stencil to reveal the pattern left behind on the plate where the stencil was positioned.

You can at this point, take a second print using just the paint left on the plate, which will result in a similar print to the one on the right.  There is still paint left on the plate which can be left on there for the next print. That way, you begin to build up layers on the plate and can result in very interesting results.

Option Two – water soluble crayons

Next option is to use water soluble crayons to make a background, and I will be using Neocolour II.  Dip the end of your crayon in some water and then use it to scribble over the surface of the gel plate. The water activates the crayon and will result in something similar to this:

Place some printer paper on top and burnish with the brayer or your hands, same as before and voilà, a nice watercolour background.

Next, apply a layer of acrylic paint on the plate – mine was magenta – and then add the stencil on top and burnish that as well and now there is magenta paint on the plate (in between the stencil) and on the stencil itself.

Next take your “watercolour” background and apply it on top of the stencil and burnish.  Carefully peel off the paper to see what you have created!

Another masterpiece!  Isn’t that so cool?  You can now lift the stencil and continue to add more layers and pull more prints as desired.

Bonus Example! Using the chipboard negatives for printing

Here is a lovely Leafy Swirl chipboard which I will use in a future project but in this example I am going to use the negative piece for a quick print.  As this is a waste piece, I have not prepared it like the first two examples, so this is just the unaltered chipboard and as such it will absorb some of the paint which the treated chipboard will not.

This time I am using two different colours of acrylic paint – magenta and gold.  I applied the magenta first and was just going to use the one colour but then I decided to add a second colour and squeezed some out directly onto the plate.

Brayer the paint until it is blended smoothly and covers the whole gel plate.

Place the negative chipboard piece on top of the plate and burnish it firmly onto the plate.  Carefully remove it to reveal this lovely pattern underneath.

Carefully cover the plate with another layer of paint – I used gold – then pull another print using some printer paper as before, burnishing on top.

When you pull the print, it will reveal the lovely design of the negative piece with the gold background behind it.

So now I have a lovely background printed and ready to use with the positive chipboard piece.  Once the negative piece is dry again, you can always use it in a project in some way rather than throwing it away.  The same applies to the treated stencils, when they have exceeded their usefulness, why not paint them and use them on a project?

Here are all the prints I made using these chipboard stencils.


I hope you liked this little tutorial and that you try out the technique for yourself.  Now I have all of these lovely prints which I will use in future projects.  Thanks for making it all the way to the end. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Project Recipe:

PE126ES Seaweed Circle *coming soon*
PE129ES Oceanic *coming soon*
Leafy Swirl C7G
acrylic paints, water soluble crayons
matte medium
From Stash: gel plate, brayer, printer paper

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