How to Make Easy Stencil Art

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Have you ever wanted to create artwork but don’t know how to draw, paint, or do anything else?

Sometimes, you just want to get a little crafty, right?

There’s actually a super-easy way you can do a little therapeutic art sesh to make something you’d want on display. The secret? A stencil.

I’m going to show you how to use a basic stencil to create artwork to match your room—no artistic skills are required! In fact, you can be a terrible artist, and it will still come out well.

Use this easy stencil art idea to make artwork for your house -- even if you can't draw at all! For this craft project you can use a drawing stencil or even just a part of a wall stencil. This DIY is also a fun way to learn to blend colors.

How to Make Custom Art from a Stencil

To make stencil art, you simply tape the stencil to your paper, fill it in with blendable markers, and then add some loose detail. I realize that adding details sounds daunting, but trust me, you can’t go wrong.

Stencil art on clipboard wall

MATERIALS NEEDED

Step 1: Tape stencil to paper

Your first step is obviously going to be to place the stencil on the page. Just be sure to press the tape very lightly so it doesn’t tear the paper when you remove it later.

Think about what you want to be in the background. A solid color? The ground? The sky? Try to imagine the finished piece you’re aiming for and place the stencil in the best spot.

If you have no idea, just place it dead center on the page. You can’t go wrong with that!

Step 2: Select your color palette

Select your color palette and tape stencil to paper

Choose three to five marker colors to work with. My daughter has a huge set of these blendable markers (I LOVE them and borrow them constantly), but if you don’t use them a lot it likely isn’t worth the price tag. In that case, stick with the small set of markers that includes a pre-selected color palette to make this DIY project even easier.

You don’t have to go for realism — the funkier, the better! Try to stick with colors that will layer well.

If you’re not sure what that means, think back to first-grade art class and which colors make other colors (red and yellow make orange) and which don’t (blue and orange make mud). Feel free to pick two or even three shades of the same color to add even more depth later.

Step 3: Fill in the stencil

Using your lightest colors, fill in the entire stencil. Be careful — we taped this loosely so it’s easy for a marker to sneak under the stencil border if you get too crazy.

Decide on the main color of each section of the picture. In this case, I knew I wanted a pinkish plant and an orangish pot. We’re using the lightest shades of our palette so we can layer in detail next—AKA the fun part!

Step 4: Add detail to your picture

Add shading using one of the darker colors

Take your darker colors and add some depth and shading. The nice thing about these markers is that they’ll give a somewhat watercolor effect, which is a little messy and imperfect by nature.

This works in our favor!

Remove the stencil (careful with that tape), and, working slowly, play around with adding some darker shading to the edges. Try imagining where your “light source” is coming from and add some dark streaks to the opposite side of the object.

Add dots to your stencil art for texture.

If you want, add a few little dots to add texture. Space them out in lighter areas and tighten them up in darker areas. Keep them as random as possible.

Step 5: “Ground” your picture (optional)

Add the ground to your stencil art

If you feel like your object looks like it’s floating in a way you don’t like, add light shading underneath to ground it. This step is purely optional. There’s nothing wrong with floating objects. It all depends on whether you like how it looks.

Use a very light color and make some wide, loose swooshes of color under the object and slightly up and “behind” it. This will give a more realistic sense of perspective—layer in more swooshing to deepen the parts of the ground directly under the object.

Your stencil art is done!

Now that your masterpiece is finished, you can pop it in a frame or simply clip it to the wall. I added mine to the clipboard command center in my office. It looks adorable and keeps my eye from constantly straying to my to-do list!

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