Making Beaded Mosaics with Stencils

Hi all, just popping in to let you know that I have a project and tutorial up on StencilGirl Talk today. This is one of my favorite projects in a while - I used a stencil as a pattern for a beaded mosaic!

Beaded Hamsa Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over for more photos along with a tutorial for both the beaded hamsa and the background.

Christmas in July with StencilGirl & Imagine Crafts

Christmas in July Blog Hop banner

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on our awesome Christmas in July blog hop with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts! I love Christmas, so it was really fun to get into the holiday state of mind in the midst of our 100+ degree weather here in Utah.

If you've ever been to my house or seen pictures I've posted of my Christmas decorations, then you know that my holiday decor is a mix of classic, bohemian, and just plain eclectic. I'm pretty picky about what I'll put out in my house, so it was a fun challenge for me to make something that I would actually use!

I was chatting about this project with my mom (who has very similar taste in decor - I wonder where I get it from... lol) and she reminded me of this cool ceramic planter that a friend of hers had made for her that she uses for poinsettias - I've always loved it because you can take off those foil wrappers that they come in at the store. I thought it would be fun to try and make something similar for my own house; I had a feeling that the Imagine Crafts irRESISTible sprays and Pico Embellishers would work great for giving me a glassy, ceramic-esque finish. I was right!

Here's what I came up with - a planter, and while I was at it I also made a matching ornament to hang on my tree.

Christmas Decor with StencilGirl and Imagine Crafts - Gwen Lafleur

I was pretty skeptical at first about whether this would work, but I have to say... I really love how these turned out! Here's a little overview of how I made both of these pieces.

The first thing I did was to create some molds and do some casting with clay in order to make my cherubs. I had a nice sized vintage Frozen Charlotte head, so I made a mold of that and then just used the front half along with epoxy clay to make "cherub" faces. I also had a set of vintage metal wings that I made a mold of and then made sets of clay wings from that.

Molding and Casting to Make Cherubs - Gwen Lafleur

While those pieces were curing, I worked on getting my pot ready to go. I got an inexpensive 6" plastic pot at the store and took some lightweight epoxy clay and covered the entire thing with a thin layer of clay. Depending on what you want to do, you could skip this step - I wanted to even out the ridges on the outside of the pot and also create a surface that would take paints and glazes and help give me the faux ceramic finish I was looking for.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

When the clay was completely cured (I let it go overnight,) I took my Decorative Medallion Stencil and spread texture paste through the opening. I let it set and then moved the stencil and did it again until I had 3 medallions, roughly equally spaced around the pot. I originally planned to make an all white pot like my mom's, but decided that I actually wanted to bring in some color so I took the Imagine Crafts Creative Medium in gold and added another layer on top of the white texture paste. 

Once all of the texture pastes were dry, I used more epoxy clay to put the cherub heads and wings on the pot. I positioned them and then let them cure for a few hours so that they wouldn't move for the next step. For that, I used my irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in Pear Tart and Lilac Posies to add some color into some of the stencil openings (I like to design my stencils so that you can color in the spaces, which you can do with lots of different mediums!) 

Below, you can see where I took gold paint pens and added borders on the top and bottom of the pot, as well as around the wings of each cherub.

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Steps 4-6 - Gwen Lafleur

I also took some of the new StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and put that all over the cherub and the textured stenciled area. I let it dry for a minute and then used a baby wipe to wipe some of it off - it leaves hints of gold in the nooks and crannies. (This was the point where I decided to add the purple glaze into the stenciled area - you can see that in the 3rd photo above.) After that, I took my irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress and took off the sprayer and used it with a brush to put a heavy glaze of transparent white all over the whole piece. This is the step that really helps everything to look more like ceramic. I left that to dry, then added some jewels around each medallion.

Here you can see a few more views of how the planter turned out after everything was dried:

Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur
Faux Ceramic Poinsettia Planter with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Obviously, you don't have to use all the clay if you want to do something similar - you can take a plain pot (terracotta would work great) and just paint it white, then stencil on top of it and add the glazes. You could use ready made cherub tree ornaments, or find something else entirely!

Next up, the tree ornament. This ended up being my favorite of the two pieces :)

To start, I stenciled my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil onto a sheet of thin chipboard, then cut around the design. Next, I took some epoxy clay and covered the whole piece of chipboard in clay, carefully working around the details and making sure the clay covered the sides of the chipboard.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 1-3 - Gwen Lafleur

Before the clay was cured, I lined my stencil back up with the shape and used a rubber color shaper tool to trace the design into the clay. After that was done, I mixed up some more clay and rolled it out into long, thin ropes and used it to outline the traced areas so that the details would be raised up from the base. (Yes... in case you're wondering, this clay stuff was tedious! But so worth it in the end.)

Note that I put the hole through what was going to be the top of the ornament while the clay was still soft. I also turned it so that it looked more like a 4-point star.

I let this cure overnight and then when it was hard, I used the StazOn Studio Glaze in gold and then again in purple to glaze the ornament.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 4-7 - Gwen Lafleur

For the first layer of each color, I mixed the glaze with water and applied it all over with a brush, waited, and then wiped some back. Then I went in with the undiluted glaze and added some more directly into the nooks and crannies. When the gold was dry, I repeated that process with the purple. When both of those were dry, I used the irRESISTible Texture Spray in Wedding Dress for another thick coat of transparent white glaze. This with the colored glazes below it really transformed the look of the piece.

Next, I used more clay to put the face and wings onto the ornament and let that cure for a while so I wouldn't disturb it when I went back to work some more.

Christmas Ornament from Stencil Steps 8-10 - Gwen Lafleur

When that was ready,  I used irRESISTible Pico Embellishers in gold and Lilac Posies to flood the insides of some of the raised detail areas. I've always thought that the irRESISTible products looked a lot like stained glass when they dried because they're fairly translucent and shiny when dry - I think the look you get from them here is so cool!

With that, it was just finishing touches. I outlined everything with a gold paint pen, added some gold stripes to some of the clay lines in the design, and added a few jewels. You can't see it here, but I also gesso'd the flat back side of the ornament and then painted it gold. 

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil 1 - Gwen Lafleur

This one will definitely make it onto my Christmas tree this year!

Faux Ceramic Ornament from Stencil Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it for the projects... now for the part I'm sure you've been waiting for. The giveaway!

Christmas in July GIVEAWAY image

We'll be picking one lucky winner
to receive $100 in Gift Certificates – a $50 Gift Certificate for StencilGirl Products and
a $50 Gift Certificate for Imagine Crafts!

Take your time and visit each blog showcased July 9, 16, & 23 and leave your comments.

The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!

One comment per person per blog please.

You will have until Saturday, July 30th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner will be notified by email and announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, July 31st.


Here are all the blogs from all three days of our hop... make sure you stop at each one and leave comments to be eligible for this awesome and very generous prize!

July 9:
StencilGirl Talk
Mary C. Nasser
Kristie Taylor
Karen Gaunt
Neva Cole
Nadine Carlier
Monica Edwards

July 16:
StencilGirl Talk
Janet Joehlin
Cindy Gilstrap
Anna Friesen
Alison Heikkila
Martha Lucia Gomez
Roni Johnson

July 23:
StencilGirl Talk
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Carolyn Dube
Carol Baxter
Mark Melnick
Jowilna Nolte
Terre Fry







StencilGirl Stencils on Sale!!!

Just taking a few minutes for an artsy PSA - there's a great sale going on today and tomorrow (July 7-8, 2016) over at StencilGirl. If you're interested in getting your hands on any of my stencil designs (hint hint!!!) or any of the other fabulous stencils from more than 40 awesome artists, now's the time!

StencilGirl - Mary Beth's Birthday Sale 2016

Make sure to take note of the coupon code BIRTHDAYPARTY and enter it in during checkout in order to get 14% off your order of stencils (plus, you still get an additional discount if you order 6 or more of the 4x4, 6x6, or 9x12 stencils!)

What are you waiting for?


Gwen's Gems: Stenciled Mixed Media Panel

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you  know that the June installment of Gwen's Gems is up on the StencilGirl blog! This month I have an 11"x14" mixed media piece (on a 3/4" cradled birch panel) made with lots and lots of layers of stencils and paint.

One Fish-Two Fish - Stenciled Mixed Media Panel - Gwen Lafleur
So what are you waiting for? Head on over for more photos, step-by-step tutorial, and links to all the stencils I used for this one.




Gwen's Gems - Mini Hand Shrine with Stencils

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you know that my monthly installment of "Gwen's Gems" is up on the StencilGirl blog. This month I did quite a bit of playing and ended up with a kind of hand sculpture made from a stencil base that lives in its own little box - I'm calling it a shrine for a lack of a better term (and I guess it sort of is one!)

Mini Mixed Media Hand Shrine - Gwen Lafleur

If you're interested, you can head on over to view the full post where there are more photos (with close-ups, naturally!) as well as a tutorial / overview of my process for making this piece. Enjoy!


Earth Day Upcycled Project with Stencils and Earth Safe Finishes

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on today's blog hop with StencilGirl and Earth Safe Finishes! This year, to celebrate Earth Day, we have a fabulous bunch of posts bursting with upcycled projects. What better products to use for this than stencils and Earth Safe Finishes? These are "green" paints and mediums that I enjoyed using without worrying about whether or not I could pour my paint water down the drain. 

For my project, I decided to do something new - a window! I had a lot of fun with this one... the only downside is that glass is super hard to photograph, so hopefully these pictures will be good enough to get the point across :)

Here's my finished window with a big sheet of mat board behind it so you aren't looking at all the junk on my desk :)

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final 2 - Gwen Lafleur

For those who are interested, I also put together a little tutorial so you can see how this all came together.

First, I started with a window that I picked up at a local salvage yard. Aside from being dirty, it was in really good shape and didn't have a lot of paint layers, so I didn't strip it (hopefully that doesn't come back to haunt me later!)  I cleared a space to set it on my desk (where it barely fits!) and taped off all the windows with painter's tape. Since it already had such a nice color on the base, I went straight to a layer of Earth Safe Finishes crackle medium and then let it dry.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

Since I was pretty much flying by the seat of my pants on this project, I decided that I needed a layer of gesso on top of the crackle medium, so I added that. 

Next, I received a little jar of Earth Safe Finishes black chalk paint and it just seemed like a good idea to use that next so I put down a nice, solid coat of that and let it dry.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

Turns out that was actually a really good decision because when I put the Ann Butler Designs bronze iridescent paint on top of it, it was like magic. I just rubbed it on top with my finger, not completely covering the black but blending it out. It's hard to see in the picture how cool it actually looks.

Next up, I took some of their liquid pigment additives and mixed a few drops into the Earth Safe Finishes gel medium to make up a nice dark turquoise. I painted that on the inside edges of the window panes (you can see this below) and then I coated it with a layer of Ann Butler Designs Iridescent paint in Lagoon which was about the same color only with that beautiful shimmer (which you can sort of see above.)

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, I used my gold Sakura Pen-Touch pen to go around the bevels on each of the window frames (above.) I did a little paint touch up, then it was ready for stenciling.

There are a few different ways that you can stencil glass. Since I didn't have the supplies for etching I didn't go that route, although that would look amazing! I didn't want to paint directly on the glass because I knew it would just peel off. Instead, I found a picture on Pinterest where someone had cut shapes out of contact paper and applied them to the window as a kind of privacy screen. I thought that could be translated here, only I used deli paper instead and stenciled on top with Onyx Ann Butler Designs Iridescent Paint. I used my Decorative Curvy Ornament Repeating Corner stencil to stencil the ornament in halves as shown below.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

I did this six times - two halves for each set of window panes. Then I cut them out and used spray adhesive to apply (matte medium makes it harder to see the design in this case, and it seemed like the spray adhesive stuck pretty well.) I used a credit card to try and get out bubbles. You could also stencil on contact paper and apply that, I just didn't have any handy. I went back through with my gold pen and did a little coloring, and I also added some dots outlining each ornament with a fine yellow Sharpie paint pen.

The very last step... time to embellish. I wanted this to be simple, but to have a pop of color that would really stand out from the darker colors and I wanted something that would pull the whole thing together. It's April and it's Earth Day, so I dug into my gigantic stash of Prima flowers and pulled out a bunch that I thought would work (because "the Earth laughs in flowers," right?) I cut a long strip of cardboard and painted it both sides with black gesso. When it was dry, I added a strip of a red-violet vintage beaded trim, then adhered the flowers on top in a row.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Steps 9-9a - Gwen Lafleur

Because the wood between the windows is fairly thin and beveled, this worked well to give me a flat surface to adhere the flowers. Then I just adhered the whole strip to the window frame right in the middle.

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final Closeup 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Close up...

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final Closeup 1 - Gwen Lafleur

I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out... now I just need to find the perfect place to put it!

Upcycled Mixed Media Window - Final 3 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for me, I hope you enjoyed my project!

Of course, that's not all for this post... we simply can't resist giving something away!

Please take your time and visit each blog showcased today through Wednesday and leave a comment. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN this one of a kind, 9x9 inch Cold Wax painting on Arches Oil Paper by Mary Beth Shaw! 


One comment per person per blog please. You will have until Monday, April 25th at 11:59 pm Central Time to leave your comments.

The winner of the give-away will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Wednesday, April 27th.

Here's the list... make sure you click through to see all of the other upcycled projects in today's special Earth Day blog hop to be inspired, and comment for your chance to win!


Gwen's Gems - Mixed Media Canvas Tutorial

Hi everyone, it's that time again... I'm up on the StencilGirl blog today with the April installment of Gwen's Gems!

This month I went back to a more classic mixed media project with a 24"x24" canvas using a whole bunch of my stencils from StencilGirl:

Mixed Media Canvas with Stencils 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Head on over to see close-ups, as well as the tutorial on how I made this piece.



New StencilGirl Stencils - Part 3

Welcome to the last day of projects for my new stencil release! I'm super excited about these stencils, so I hope you've all enjoyed seeing what I've been working on!

Today I have three projects that focus on my Decorative medallion and ornament stencils, as well as my new Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil (which goes with my Ornamental Peacock Mask from the last release.)

First up, I have a mixed media painting that uses three of my new stencils.

Mixed Media Painting with New Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

The background was made with layers of paint and stenciling. It's a bit hard to see, but the Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen is in there, along with the Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil. On top I added the 6x6 Decorative Medallion Stencil in black and then added color with paint pens. I drew the outline for the leaves on top and then scrubbed in white paint around it. No surprise, I've always loved doing projects that create windows to what's underneath, and this type of reverse painting is lots of fun to do. 

Next up, I did some beaded embroidery, which I'm a bit fascinated with right now. 

Bead Embroidery with Curvy Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I started by stenciling the 6x6 Decorative Curvy Ornament Stencil onto a piece of felt. From there, I just started beading over the lines. I'm still a bit of a beginner at this, but I think it turned out okay! I added a second piece of felt underneath and sewed the layers together, cut around, then added the third piece of felt and added some more sewing with some beads added in.

Bead Embroidery with Curvy Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I think I'm going to use this kind of like an applique for an iPad cover that I've been wanting to make. I just need to find the perfect fabric and trims to go with this, then it's going to happen!

Last but not least, I used the Decorative Filigree Ornament Stencil with a thin sheet of copper to do a bit of repoussé (a kind of metal embossing) that I used as the cover for what will be an art journal or a travel journal of some kind.

Repousse Journal Cover 1b - Filigree Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

There are a lot of good tutorials on the web for this, including this one on StencilGirl Talk. My technique wasn't quite this fancy, but I'm going to try it that way next time!

After doing the embossing and filling the back with molding paste and letting it dry, I decorated the front a bit with Copic markers and alcohol ink to get a bit more color into the piece. The copper was a self-stick piece from Vintaj by Ranger, so I stuck it onto the book cover and then just added my dots with Liquid Pearls. If you look closely, you can also see where I used the Decorative Filigree Ornament Stencil in the background for some tone-on-tone painting in the area that frames my embossed piece.

Repousse Journal Cover 1b - Filigree Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

So that's it for my stencil release projects! I really hope you like these new stencils as much as I do, and that you've enjoyed seeing what I've made with them so far. I'd also love to see anything that you make with them, so make sure to tag me or link me up so I can see your projects!


New StencilGirl Stencils Part 2

Hi all, I'm back again with more projects featuring my new stencils! Yesterday was all about my repeating corner designs, today is mostly about my new floral designs (both also based on some of my hand-carved rubber stamps.)

I thought it would be fun to combine a few different types of projects I've done in the past with a bit of a twist. A long time ago, I took a class from Rhonna Farrer where we used half of a file folder to make a holder for 5x7 sized pages. I wanted to use that concept but instead of pages, I did 5x7 ATCs with stenciling and collage. Here's what I have so far (I'll probably add some more of these cards - they were really fun to make!)

Art Journal Cards 3 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see all of them tucked away in their little folder:

Art Journal Cards 7 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

I cut a plain manilla folder in half, then inserted some paper on the side to make it more of a container - it's hard to explain... kind of like paper gussets. To decorate the folder, I used my new 6x6 Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil in the background with paint and a bit of glaze and added some fun washi tape along the sides. I stenciled the Decorative Medallion Stencil on black cardstock, colored it with paint markers, cut it out, and adhered it on top.

Now for the cards on the inside... these were done on top of a few cards from an old deck of oversized Heidi Swapp playing cards (I think I've had them 10 years... maybe longer!)

Art Journal Cards 4 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

For the first one, I used the Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil to make a border, then used the 6x6 Decorative Medallion Stencil in the background - it's tone on tone, so subtle. I just layered on some ribbon and collage elements and added my dots, of course!

Art Journal Cards 4 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

The second one features both of my Decorative Folk Flower stencils - the 6x6 screen, and the 4x4 version. I painted the background and stenciled in black with the 6x6, then I stenciled the 4x4 several times on different sheets of colored cardstock / patterned paper. I cut the pieces out and layered them - this is a great stencil for paper piecing! I added more layers of collage, a pearl in the middle, and more dots!

Art Journal Cards 4 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

The last one in this set is the card that Carol calls Carmen Miranda at the steampunk zoo. I had to laugh at that! The background for this one uses the 4x4 Decorative 6-Petal Flower Stencil repeated across the background and then colored with paint pens. I've mentioned it before, but I really like to create stamp and stencil designs that allow for coloring if you want to add color, or even pattern. I cut the giraffe illustration out of the Uppercase publication "Work Life" and I wanted to make it my own, so I painted over it with acrylics and paint pens. I added collaged flowers and stenciled around the eyes with parts of the 6x6 Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen stencil. Then I grabbed a few metal gears and glued them on top and filled them with Diamond Glaze so they'd look like glasses. I love the effect!

Art Journal Cards 9 with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for today... check back again tomorrow where I'll share the last few projects for this release. In the meantime, all of my stencils are currently available at StencilGirl Products.


New Stencil Release from StencilGirl!

Hey everyone, guess what! Today is my second stencil release with StencilGirl! I have eleven new stencils available, so now there are 20 total - so exciting! You can see them all available now on the website or you can also check out the reveal post on StencilGirl Talk. I'll be sharing projects with my new stencils here and on social media over the next few days so you can see them all in action :)

First up, one of the things I'm most excited about is a new kind of stencil - a quarter repeat corner stencil! (I say new, but there may be something like this out there that I've just never seen.) This concept is based on carving quarter repeat rubber stamp designs, and you can hear more about it in the little video I made to introduce and demonstrate them. (I'm still a video making newbie, so hopefully it's okay!)


The three corner repeat stencils in this release are: the Decorative Medallion Repeating Corner Stencil, the Decorative Curvy Repeating Corner Stencil, and the Decorative Filigree Repeating Corner Stencil

Here are a few projects using these... first up, the Decorative Filigree Repeating Corner Stencil is used repeating for the medallion in the middle of this one, as well as for corner designs on this art journal page.

Art Journal Page with New Stencils- Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see a bit more of the repeating part in the center. One of the things I like to do with my stencil designs is create something that works well on its own, but can also be filled in to add lots of color like I did here.

Art Journal Close-up 2 with New Stencils- Gwen Lafleur

You can see where I also used the center section of the 6x6 Decorative Filigree Ornament Stencil to add some more pattern to the background:

Art Journal Close-up 1 with New Stencils- Gwen Lafleur

I also used the Decorative Curvy Repeating Corner Stencil (as well as its 6x6 companion, the Decorative Curvy Ornament Stencil) to make this art journal spread in my inspiration journal.

Art Journal Spread e - Decorative Curvy Medallion Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I've got more projects to share, so watch out over the next little while for more ideas on how to use my new stencils!

What do you think of this new release... any favorites? I hope you like them and I can't wait to see what you do with them!

P.S. For those of you coming to my classes at Papercraft Clubhouse in Connecticut this weekend, Tracie already has my new stencils in the store - the very first store to have them in stock! Even if you aren't taking classes, I hope you'll stop by and say hi and be among the first to get your hands on them!



Using StencilGuts in a Handmade Art Journal

Hi Everyone! So excited today to be part of the blog hop for a brand new StencilGirl product launch... StencilGuts! Yup... now you'll not only know what happens to pieces that get cut from stencils, but you can get your hands on them to use in your projects. They're super versatile and fun to use as well. For my project with them, I decided to put together a new handmade art journal that features the StencilGuts in lots of different ways.

Without further ado, here's the cover of my journal:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Cover - Gwen Lafleur

On the cover, I coated the entire background with gel medium, one section at a time, then just grabbed pieces from the Random DirtyGuts and pressed them into the gel. I kept adding pieces until it was pretty full, then let it dry. At that point, I brushed on some green paint and some brown ink, then I covered the entire thing with a brown glaze, waited a minute, and wiped it back so that the only part left was in the holes between the StencilGuts. I love how it turned out - it really highlighted the edges and made a cool pattern!

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

I also used two different sizes of the same shape from the Geometric StencilGuts Shapes as the basis for a clay medallion to put as the focal point. I just took some air-dry clay and smoothed it out over the shape, then pressed some marks into it and added little details. I did the same with the smaller shape and then put it in the middle to make it two-tiered, then stuck a jewel in the middle while the clay was wet. After it dried, I just applied a few layers of paint to make it look kind of like antiqued metal. In the background, I actually took a strip of mylar that came with my Random DirtyGuts and diecut it with a Spellbinders die. Yes, you can diecut them! Of course, if you use a detailed die, not all of the pieces will come out and you'll need to run it through a few times. But it cuts and embosses beautifully!

First page of the book and the inside front cover:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

On the left, I used some underpaper that I really liked to put over the inside of the cover. On the left, I traced another of the Geometric StencilGuts Shapes and then cut it out slightly smaller to make a window. I used alcohol inks on the shape itself and then glued it onto the backside of the page to make the window. I used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil around it to add some pattern to the page.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 1 Close-up 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Check out how cool it looks when you put the light behind it - it's like a stained glass window!

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 1 Close-up 2 - Gwen LafleurHere's the next spread:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 2-3 - Gwen Lafleur

The back side of the first page with some embellishment and it's hard to see, but I used my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil in the background with gold ink for a subtle touch. That stencil has really become one of my favorites! On the right side, I created a pocket and covered it with patterned paper, then inside are different leaf shaped StencilGuts. As of right now I don't think there are any of these available, but what's in stock will change depending on what stencils are being cut, so check back! Anyway, I used more alcohol inks on these and then added some word stickers and tucked them into the pocket (the top one is glued in place, though.)

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 3a - Gwen LafleurNext up, the third spread: 

  StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 4-5 - Gwen Lafleur

For these pages I used Dylusions paints, stenciled on top with my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil and gold ink, then edged the pages with more ink. On the right corner, I got two of the same shape from the Flourishes StencilGuts Shapes pack and I knew I wanted to use them back to back on the corner of  a page like this. I used gold crackle paste to do the front of one and the back of another and let them dry. Then I glued one in place on this side and cut off the cardstock around it on the corner. 

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 5 Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

 Then I added the matching reverse shape on the back and decorated that page.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 6-7a - Gwen LafleurFor this one I used more Dylusions paints and gold ink, this time with my Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen stencil. On the right side, I used the same technique as on the first page with two smaller shapes from the Geometric StencilGuts Shapes pack.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 7 close-up - Gwen LafleurHere you can see the back side of that page:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 8 close-up - Gwen LafleurAnd the full spread:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 8-9 - Gwen Lafleur

I used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil again, and added a little flap on the right side with another shape from the Flourishes StencilGuts Shapes pack along the edge - I colored this one with a gold paint pen.

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 8-9a - Gwen Lafleur

There's a fun little space tucked away in there just waiting for some journaling, collage, or whatever I want to add!

Second to last spread:

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Pages 10-11 - Gwen Lafleur

This spread uses my the Birds StencilGuts Shapes along with my Ornamental Embroidery stencil on top of more Dylusions paints and some collage. I coated the birds using a white, oil-based paint marker and let them dry, then glued them in and added some shading with a Stabilo All pencil. I love the bird shapes pack - there are a lot of different StencilGirl stencils that use birds, and you get a great mix of them in here! 

Last page in the book...

  StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Page 12 - Gwen Lafleur

 I used a larger piece from the Geometric Shapes StencilGuts pack and diecut and embossed it with another Spellbinders die. I just left this one plain since I liked how it looked. (Again, to get some of the details I had to run this through the diecut machine several times, then use my scissors to help some of the pieces come out.) I used my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil one last time along with a bit of collage. More painted underpaper on the inside of the back cover (you can see some hints from the March StencilClub 9x12 stencil on there too!)

So that's it! The entire book, all done and ready for some journaling (or not!) I hope you enjoyed it and are feeling inspired to use StencilGuts in your projects!

StencilGuts Handmade Art Journal - Cover Side View - Gwen Lafleur

 Now for the part you've all been waiting for!

StencilGuts Blog Hop Giveaway image

StencilGirl Products will be giving away StencilGuts from EACH category
(Geometric Shapes, Birds, Cats & Rabbits, Flourishes, Hands & Body and Dirty Random Guts)
to one lucky winner!
Visit all the blogs on today’s hop and comment to win!
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
(One comment per person per blog please.)
You have until Saturday, March 26th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winners will be announced on StencilGirl's Facebook page on Sunday, March 27th
Here's the hop order:


Gwen's Gems: Make a Clock with Stencils and a Vinyl Record

It's that time again... today my March Gwen's Gems post is up on StencilGirl Talk! This month I was inspired to try using my stencils and a hot knife to make a clock out of an old vinyl record.

Use Stencils to Make a Clock from a Record - Step 11 - Gwen Lafleur

There's a full tutorial for this project, plus pictures of the assemblage piece I made using my original test cuts on an old 45, so make sure to head over and check it out!


March ATC Swap - Women Who Dared

This month is my second time doing an ATC swap and our kit and theme this time centered around Women Who Dared. We picked women from the collage sheets in the kit (there was a story for each of them which I put on the back of my cards,) and it was fun to learn more about people I knew, and learn about some women that I knew nothing about.

Here are all of my completed cards (I only sent ten to swap, two are for me!)

March2016 ATCs - Women Who Dared - Gwen Lafleur

Here are close-ups of the individual cards. Of course, I put these in the mail before I wrote this post, and I don't remember the names of two of them. Oops!

First up, Emmaline Pankhurst and the other lady I don't remember her name, but she was a physicist and did some amazing things for science in a time when not many women were in that field! The background on the first one is my Ornamental Petals Mask and on the second one, there's a scrap of silk, some glitter tape, and lotus flowers from a collage sheet along with some gears from the kit.

March2016 ATCs Group 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Second set, Florence Nightengale and Clara Barton. It was totally chance that I put them next to each other, but they probably could have been good friends. Florence is backed by some Florentine patterned paper (total coincidence!) and I used a Spellbinders diecut for the frame that I aged and embellished. It's hard to see in the background, but I used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil with gold ink behind Clara, along with a Dresden trim crown (Relics & Artifacts / Prima.)

March2016 ATCs Group 6 - Gwen Lafleur

Third set, Eleanor Roosevelt and another lady whose name I don't remember. She was a doctor when women just weren't doctors, and obviously eschewed many other female restrictions; she was known for her male garb. Eleanor has an old crown rubon, and in the background is my Ornamental Floral Screen in gold ink with an old Prima flower. I used a gold pen to color part of the trim from the kit. The good doctor is framed with another Spellbinders diecut, some gold printed handmade paper, and I put a very old border sticker over some trim from the kit and added an old piece of jewelry.

March2016 ATCs Group 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The fourth set, Nelly Bly and Margaret Mead... I did a report on Margaret Mead in elementary school and didn't remember much about her, so it was fun to revisit that a bit. Nelly has letterpress patterned paper in the background, of course, another Spellbinders diecut that I rusted with paint and she had to have the pen nib that was in the kit. Margaret had some roses from a collage sheet and some other goodies from the kit.

March2016 ATCs Group 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Fifth set, Mourning Dove and the Divine Sarah Bernhardt (I kept that one for myself :D) For Mourning Dove, I used some old Basic Grey paper and a pearl flower sticker, then the frame around her photo was actually a plastic buckle - I took out the center piece to make it a frame. Sarah has the Ornamental Compass Screen stencil again, another rusted diecut frame (I made several at once,) and another Dresden crown along with jewels and trim from the kit.

March2016 ATCs Group 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, Amelia Earhart and Mary Wollstonecraft (I kept her too... lol.) Amelia had to have a map of the world, then I used part of a frame from a Spellbinders die that I had embossed without cutting, then I added alcohol inks to give it some depth. There are a few gears and a little mini compass from the kit that was perfect for her! Mary has the Ornamental Floral Screen stencil again along with more roses from collage sheets. I added some cool jewel-esque circle stickers from the kit to make her headband.

March2016 ATCs Group 4 - Gwen Lafleur

That's all for this month! I'm looking forward to seeing what the rest of the group did and finding out what the theme is for May :)


April 2016 Classes at Papercraft Clubhouse

I'm excited to be heading back to Connecticut to teach at Papercraft Clubhouse again on April 8th and 9th! I've been sharing lots of peeks of class samples on Instagram and Facebook, but now it's time for full class descriptions with all the photos!


Stamp Carving

Friday April 8th from 6-9pm

Cost:  $40 (take $5 off if you already have your own carving tools and tell them when you sign up)

Stamp Carving Class - Gwen Lafleur
Come join us and learn to carve your own rubber stamps! Perfect for scrapbooks, cards, art journaling, and mixed media, hand-carved rubber stamps help you add your own unique mark to your work. This class is for all experience levels, whether you're a beginner or already carving your own stamps. We’ll go over the basics, including creating your stamp designs, and of course, carving! We’ll make several stamps in class including repeating patterns and word stamps. As a part of the class, you’ll get a stamp carving starter kit that includes a carving tool with blades and rubber. (If you already have carving tools, tell them when you sign up and you can take $5 off the class and we’ll still provide the rubber.) There will also be sample designs for you to use, or you can design your own!

Students should bring: a cutting mat (glass is best if you have it, self-healing will work) an ex-acto knife, pencil, ball point pen, and a ruler. If you're bringing your own carving tools, make sure you have a #1 or detail blade.


File Folder Mini Art Journal

Saturday April 9th from 9:30am-1:00pm

Cost: $55

File Folder Art Journal Class Sample - Cover - Gwen Lafleur

Join us to learn how to turn basic office supplies into a fun mini art journal! We'll make our journal using file folders and shipping tags and then we'll use several different background, stenciling, and mixed media painting techniques to decorate the book and tags. These little journals also make great gifts or mini scrapbooks.

Students should bring: your basic mixed media kit (gesso, craft mat, water cup, baby wipes, scissors, pen and pencil, paper towels.) Bring matte medium, several colors of acrylic paint, a 1" flat paint brush plus something to apply gesso and matte medium, sponges and / or brushes for stenciling with both ink and paint (I like Dina Wakley brushes for paint and Tim Holtz Mini Blending Tools for ink,) and a few of your favorite stencils. Bring a selection of patterned paper and / or collage and ephemera materials to decorate your tags and cover. 

Optional: heat tool, washi tape, black gesso, bone folder, ribbons or fibers and any other mark making tools or mediums you want to use in your journal.
Here are more photos of the sample project. Please note: in this class I'll be teaching you how to make the album and we'll decorate the background inside and out. I'll also show you 4-5 different techniques to use on your tags (3 background / stenciling techniques, one embellishment technique.) You should have time at the end to work on adding collage or other decoration to your cover and tags and I'll be available to answer questions, give feedback, etc... Come ready to add your own style and flair to your mini journal!
2File Folder Art Journal Class Sample - Cover - Gwen Lafleur
File Folder Art Journal Class Sample - Inside - Gwen Lafleur

File Folder Art Journal Class Sample - Inside - Gwen Lafleur
File Folder Art Journal Class Sample - Tags 1 - Gwen Lafleur
File Folder Art Journal Class Sample - Tags 1 - Gwen Lafleur

4"x4" Mini Hand-Bound Art Journal
Saturday April 9th from 2:00pm-5:30pm
Cost: $55
4x4 Mini Art Journal Class Sample - Front Cover - Gwen Lafleur
In this class, we'll make our own hand-bound 4"x4" art journal out of mat board Art Squares from Inchie Arts with a fun and easy binding stitch that will have you wanting to make minis all day long! This little book is also perfect for making mini scrapbooks or gift books. Once we've made the book, we'll decorate the covers and create backgrounds using various stenciling and mixed media techniques (these will be different techniques from the File Folder Art Journal class.)     

Students should bring: your basic mixed media kit (gesso, craft mat, water cup, baby wipes, scissors, pen and pencil, paper towels.) Bring matte medium, several colors of acrylic paint, a 1" flat paint brush plus something to apply gesso and matte medium, sponges and / or brushes for stenciling with both ink and paint (I like Dina Wakley brushes for paint and Tim Holtz Mini Blending Tools for ink,) and a few of your favorite stencils. Bring a selection of patterned paper and / or collage and ephemera materials to decorate and fill your book. 

Optional: an awl and self-healing mat (there will be some available, but if you bring your own you won't have to share.) Heat tool, a ruler, washi tape, black gesso, and any other mark making tools or mediums you want to use in your book.
More images of the cover and inside of my sample journal:
4x4 Mini Art Journal Class Sample - Outside - Gwen Lafleur
4x4 Mini Art Journal Class Sample - Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur
4x4 Mini Art Journal Class Sample - Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur
4x4 Mini Art Journal Class Sample - Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur
4x4 Mini Art Journal Class Sample - Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur
A few notes about this class... like the file folder art journal class, we will make the book, decorate the backgrounds of the covers, and I'll teach you 4-5 techniques to use on the inside of your book to make backgrounds and accents. These are completely different techniques than the file folder mini album, and you should have time at the end of class to work on embellishing your cover and inside pages. Also, for those who have taken my book-making classes before, this is a new binding stitch that I haven't taught previously... and it's a super fun and easy one too!
It's possible that there might be a brand new stencil release from me available at the store the weekend of classes. Just sayin'!
I hope to see lots of you in class! Just let me know if you have any questions. If you want to sign up, you can stop by or call the Clubhouse at (860) 399-4443 (note that they're closed on Mondays.)

Make a Reliquary with Stencils, Clay, and Collage

Just stopping in to let everyone know that I have a new project up for my Gwen's Gems monthly post on StencilGirl Talk. This month I was inspired by an antique Roman reliquary and I made my own version using stencils, paints, collage, mica powders, and Aves Apoxy Clay.

Making a Reliquary with Stencils - Gwen Lafleur

Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see more photos of the project as well as a step-by-step tutorial!

Mini Handmade Art Journal #2

I've slowly been working on filling the second of the 4"x4" mini art journals that I made for the StencilGirl / Inchie Arts blog hop last month and I finally finished! All of the pages have been posted on Instagram and Facebook, but I like to have them all together in a single post.

First, a reminder of what the covers looked like - this is the one with all the gold crackle paste that I just loved. It's the one on the bottom in this photo:

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journals - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a little close-up of the texture - both the front and back covers looked like this. I used my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil on top of the crackle - I love how the stenciling kind of floats in there.
StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journals - Gwen Lafleur

Here's the first spread in the book - inspired a bit by the work of Jill Ricci.

Mini Art Journal - Spread 1 - Gwen LafleurI used the Marrakech Mix stencil to trace the main shapes and then lightly stenciled in off white with my Ornamental Flower Screen stencil. I got a lot of questions about the lettering on the left - unfortunately I didn't do that (it would be so awesome if I could letter like that!) but it was cut from an insert in an issue of Uppercase Magazine.

Spread number two uses another word from Uppercase, along with a lot of stamping with a hand-carved stamp I made back in December. I added some diecuts from a Spellbinders set (Persian elements,) washi tape, glitter tape, and the arrows are a diecut border - I think it's an old one from KI Memories.

Mini Art Journal - Spread 2 - Gwen LafleurSpread number three was inspired by nearly 60 degree weather here on President's Day. Yet another cutout from an Uppercase Magazine insert and some fussy cut collage pieces. I went over some of the open spaces with gold ink and my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil again.

Mini Art Journal - Spread 3 - Gwen LafleurLast but not least, I kept going with the theme of cut out words that all kind of worked together. This time it was from a page in an old Smash Book that I've been using for patterned paper. The background was crackled with DecoArt Weathered Wood, and I used my Ornamental Circle Cluster stencil across the background and then heat embossed it in white and distressed with ink.

Mini Art Journal - Spread 4 - Gwen LafleurNaturally some dots, glittery stuff, and Liquid Pearls made their way onto the spread. I love this sentiment... it seemed like a great way to end the book!

So that's it for this one, but I'm working on turning this into a class so you'll be seeing more soon... we'll see how that goes!


Journaling with Mindfulness Guest Artist

Hi everyone, just popping in to let you know that today I'm the guest artist over at the Journaling with Mindfulness blog. It's a new blog that has a weekly prompt to get you thinking about including meaningful subjects in your art journaling. They have a wonderfully supportive Facebook group as well, and all styles and experience levels are represented in this group. The prompts so far this year have been great!

My prompt this week was about the place I've visited that has left the longest lasting influence on me. I chose my visit to Soweto when I was in South Africa in 2007...

  Lessons from Soweto - Art Journal Page - Gwen Lafleur

To see more and read the story behind this spread... not to mention a tutorial, make sure you check out the Journaling with Mindfulness blog and join in if you're feeling so inclined!


Mini Handmade Art Journal

On Tuesday in my post for the StencilGirl and Inchie Arts blog hop, I shared the covers for two mini handmade art journals that I made using the 4x4 Art Squares from Inchie Arts. Today I thought I'd share the inside pages for one of them (I was originally going to put them in Tuesday's post, but that seemed like it was just too much!)

Here are the books again:

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journals - Gwen Lafleur

I used the one made from the black 4x4 Art Squares (but the other one is going to get filled too!)

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal 1 Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Here are the inside pages. I had a sheet torn from the Art Institute of Chicago member magazine for an exhibit with Indian art that I thought was really beautiful. I used imagery from that page throughout the four spreads in my book. There's lots of collage, and of course lots of stenciling too! I'll list all of the stencils I used at the bottom of the post just to keep things simple.

Spread number one:

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Spread 1 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's a close-up of page one - handmade paper in the background, washi tape, my magazine collage images, an old stamp, and stencils, of course! I added some gold Stickles in the centers of my stenciled images.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 1 - Gwen Lafleur

On page two, I used a razor to cut a window in the page and put a piece of old 7 Gypsies printed transparency on the front (I knew I wanted something to fit into the window from the back.) I added a scrap of embroidered fabric and more stencils.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Here's spread number 2:

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Spread 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Here you can see the back-side of my window, but as I mentioned, the transparency is on the other side so that the 2x2 art square on the right side page will nest right inside of the window when the pages are together.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 3 - Gwen Lafleur

On the left side, I used a patchwork technique that I learned in my class with Seth Apter back in October. With a collaged butterfly and some stenciling on top.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 4 - Gwen Lafleur

On the right, I stenciled over the background in gold. I placed the 2x2 Art Square so that it would fit into the window, then I stenciled on top and added glitter and Liquid Pearls. I cut out some gold and silver metallic and glittered circles from a piece of handmade paper and added some other collage and stenciling on top. 

The third spread:

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Spread 3 - Gwen LafleurBack to my Indian imagery with this one (I seem to be very drawn to this lately.) 

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 5 - Gwen Lafleur

More stenciling in the background with gold, then collage images. On top I have Liquid Pearls and rubons, then more stenciling. I'm loving the effect of the different stencils layered on top of each other in gold and then white.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 6 - Gwen Lafleur

On the right side I used a red paint marker to bring out some of the stenciled design in the background and tie everything in a bit more.

Finally, the fourth spread in my mini art journal:

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Spread 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Lots and lots of stenciling on this one with just a little collage.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 7 - Gwen Lafleur

More of the layered stenciling that I'm loving, and a gold diecut from a Spellbinders set with Persian motifs. I distressed it with ink and added lots of Liquid Pearls, naturally.

Inchie Arts - StencilGirl - Mini Art Journal Page 8 - Gwen Lafleur

So we come to the end of this quick little mini art journal! I loved working with this size... so fast and enjoyable, but still lots of room for experimentation. Using the Art Squares on this project was really fun too - they're perfect for making a good solid book, and take all kinds of media really well.

Here are the supplies I used:

I hope you enjoyed seeing the inside of my little book... now to finish the other one! 

ATCs and Mini Art Journals with StencilGirl & Inchie Arts

Hi everyone, welcome to my stop on this week's blog hop with StencilGirl and Inchie Arts! Talk about products that are made to work together...

I got to use black and white sets of 4x4" Art Squares, cream colored ATC Art Squares, and a lovely gray 2"x2" set of Art Squares along with my StencilGirl Stencils. I love that Inchie Arts makes their products from mat board - that makes them perfect for pretty much whatever I wanted to do with them! In fact, they were so much fun to work with that I couldn't stop with just one project. I made two 4x4 art books / mini art journals with the 4" art square sets, and of course I had to make some ATCs!

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Blog Hop Projects - Gwen Lafleur

 Here are the individual projects, starting with the ATCs. If you scroll down a bit there's also a little tutorial showing how I made all of these  :)

  StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs - Gwen Lafleur

Here are close-ups of the cards along with the stencils I used. All of my ATCs were done with the cream ATC Art Squares. All of the images I used are from photos that I took myself in my travels - this group includes photos from Cambodia, Bali, and Myanmar.

 Cards 1 & 2: for these I used my Ornamental Petals Mask and also the Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen stencils.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 1 - Gwen Lafleur

 For the next two, I used the feathers from my Ornamental Peacock stencil as well as the Ornamental Floral Screen stencil

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 2 - Gwen Lafleur

The last two ATCs use my Ornamental Embroidery Stencil as well as the Ornamental Compass Screen.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATCs 3 - Gwen Lafleur

For those who are interested, here's a little tutorial that shows the basic process I use for my cards. I typically make them one at a time and I never know what I'm going to do when I start - I just pick one up, choose an image, and go from there. It's always fun to see what comes out! This was my process as I made the first card with the reclining Buddha statue from a temple in Myanmar.

Step 1: I choose the image to use for the card. Then I either paint or ink the background. For this one I used paint:

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 1 - Gwen Lafleur


Step 2, I stencil the background (this is the Ornamental Petals Stencil) and I also usually add some inking around the edge. I mostly use Sepia and Black Archival Ink for this with a mini blending tool.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 3 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 3:  I took some gold cardstock and a border punch that had a design that worked with my theme and punched and inked a border to use on the card.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 4: I absolutely adore sari trims, fabrics, etc... and have an ever-growing collection that I like to use in my artwork. I took a piece from my basket of scraps and used some of it here. You could use ribbon, any fabric, a border sticker... whatever you like! I also like to use glitter tape or washi tape for this. I added it to my punched border after adhering the image. This helps embed the image better into the overall design without leaving visible hard, straight edges.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 4 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 5: Time to pile on the goodies! I love using jewels (with this type of theme, at least,) along with Liquid Pearls and a gold pen to edge the card.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 5 - Gwen Lafleur

Step 6: I felt like this one still needed just a little something, so I pulled out some old butterfly rubons and added them, then embellished with some gold Liquid Pearls.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - ATC Tutorial Step 6 - Gwen Lafleur

That's it for my ATCs... I can't wait to make the other six with the rest of my package of ATC-sized Art Squares.

Of course, just making ATCs wasn't enough for today... as I said, I had a few packages of 4" Art Squares in different colors. Since the Art Squares are made out of mat board, they're absolutely perfect for making into books, so I took each set of Art Squares and bound them into mini art journals using single-sheet Coptic binding. Here are the two books that I made - one with black pages, one with white (maybe next time I'll mix them!)

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journals - Gwen LafleurHere you can see what the binding looks like - it's actually very easy to do! I use the tutorial from Boundary Press - I find it very easy to follow.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal Binding - Gwen LafleurHere's a close-up of the first cover - I used my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil along with some of the gorgeous new copper texture paste from Art-C as the base layer for the covers. Then I used the Ornamental Petals Mask and stenciled onto black cardstock with copper paint, cut it out, and mounted it on the cover with foam for some dimension. Finally, I had a polymer clay flower thingy that I'd made during my jewelry-making phase a few years ago. I'd tossed it in a bin as a failure, but pulled it out and repainted it and I love it on my cover! Naturally I added Liquid Pearls for my dots, and I tucked in some bits of DicroFibers (Angelina Fibers) for a little extra texture and bling.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal 1 Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur

Finally, here's a close-up of the second book. I painted the covers, put down a layer of gold crackle paste (leaving a few places where the background shows through,) and then used Archival Inks and some turquoise Luxe paint from Art-C to add extra dimension and interest. I actually stenciled with my Ornamental Compass Screen and black ink after doing the rest; it gives it a softer look and it feels to me like it's more a part of the whole rather than an obvious stencil design on top.

StencilGirl - Inchie Arts - Mini Art Journal 2 Cover Close-up - Gwen Lafleur
Now I'm just working on filling the pages of these fun little books :)

So that's it for today's projects! I really loved using my StencilGirl stencils with the Art Squares and ATCs from Inchie Arts - they take all of the paint, ink, and mediums beautifully, and are sturdy enough to build up lots of layers (even my clay flowers!) I hope you enjoyed today's post as well!

Now for the best part of the blog hop: 


We'll be picking one lucky winner to receive:

one $25 StencilGirl Products Gift Certificate 


1 package each of 4", 3", ATC (2.5" X 3.5") and Swatch (2" X 4") sized white Art Squares from Inchie Arts! (4 packages in all!)

All comments left on the hop list participants’ posts will be entered. One comment per person per blog please. 

Comments close on January 30th @ 11:59PM Central.
Winner will be announced on StencilGirl Product’s Facebook Page on January 31st.

Make sure you visit and comment on all of the blogs today, and stop back in at StencilGirl Talk daily to make sure you get links for the whole week!

January 26
StencilGirl Talk
Maria McGuire
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Dina Kowal

StencilGirl: Stenciled File Folder Mini Art Journal

I've got a new project over on StencilGirl Talk today - it's my monthly installment of Gwen's Gems! (I still giggle a bit when I type that.)

This month I've made a mini art journal out of a manila file folder. I've wanted to do this for a while, so I used my stencils along with my winter Art Bento Box to make this month's project.

File Folder Mini Art Journal Finished Cover - Gwen Lafleur

File Folder Mini Art Journal Inside 2 - Gwen LafleurMake sure you head over to read my post on StencilGirl Talk to see more photos and details as well as a tutorial so you can make your own!

Indian Summer Themed Artist Trading Cards

This month I'm participating in my first ever ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap. In fact, these might be the first ATCs I've ever made! The swap is with some artsy friends back in Connecticut and is hosted by Terrie (Lost Art Creations.) She selected the theme and put together a beautiful kit full of collage images, charms, ribbons, papers, and jewels. I've been working on and off over the last few weeks to get my cards done so I could send them back in time for the swap, and here they are!

Indian Summer ATCs Cards - Gwen LafleurHere are the individual cards... I used my stencils on a lot of these, because why not? I thought they worked really well with this theme too.

Cards 1 & 2 - the first one uses my Ornamental Compass Screen stencil and a scrap of sari material. The second card uses the Ornamental Compass Mask, jewels, Prima Say it in Pearls, and a small mirror from the kit.

Indian Summer ATCs Cards 1-2 - Gwen Lafleur

Here are the 3rd and 4th cards. In the one on the left, it's hard to see but I used my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil in the background with gold ink. Lots of layers on top with some trim and a jewel from the kit. On the right I used the Ornamental Petals Mask with an embroidered scrap from a cuff and some butterfly sequins and jewels from the kit.

Indian Summer ATCs Cards 3-4 - Gwen Lafleur

The 5th and 6th ATCs both used my Ornamental Floral Screen stencil. The one on the right also has a colored image from my handcarved lotus stamp along with a piece of sari ribbon and a pearl pink diecut from a Spellbinders die.

Indian Summer ATCs Cards 5-6 - Gwen Lafleur

The next two don't use stencils - no room! lol. The left had some ribbon from the kit along with part of a diecut from a Spellbinders frame with lime green stickles all over it. The background on the right is almost entirely covered by a scrap from a sari, along with some butterfly sequins from the kit.

Indian Summer ATCs Cards 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

Next two... the one on the left was almost all goodies from the kit except for a few pieces cut from some patterned paper scraps in my stash and the orange/gold jewels. On the right, there's a strip of sari fabric down the middle, another of my colored lotus stamped images, and jewels.

Indian Summer ATCs Cards 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

Last two cards! The one on the left uses my Ornamental Circle Cluster stencil and the one on the right uses my Ornamental Embroidery stencil. I kept these relatively simple... I was going to add more, but thought these were done as they are. I used some glittery patterned tape on the left with Liquid Pearls and a jeweled square cut from a sari scrap. On the right, another piece of sequined sari trim with a metal flower and a few jewels.

Indian Summer ATCs Cards 7-8 - Gwen Lafleur

This was lots of fun! I sent off nine of these in the mail, and I can't wait to see what everyone else did with the kit when I get my traded cards back :) I signed up for next month too - I'm excited to see the theme and kit for the next round. I guess I'd better get some other stuff done to be ready to play!



StencilGirl: Making Your Stencils Your Own

Hi everyone, my December installment of "Gwen's Gems" is up on StencilGirl Talk! This month I'm showing a few different ways that I take my stencils and use just parts of the design to really make them my own. I'm featuring some ways to use my Ornamental Peacock stencil for this one!

Truth Stenciled Mixed-Media Portrait - Gwen LafleurMake sure to head over to StencilGirl Talk to see more details from the finished piece, as well as a quick tutorial on how I started building her headdress.

Also, just a reminder that if you haven't yet checked out Creative JumpStart 2016, now's the time! The coupon has expired, but you can still save $5 on registration through the end of the year! There's a lot of fabulous inspiration planned, and this year it's all downloadable. I hope I'll see you there!


Video Tutorial - 4 Ways to Use My New Stencils

4 Ways to Use Masks in Your Artwork - Gwen Lafleur

In various classes I've taught (and taken!) as well as recently following the release of my first batch of stencils (which is actually mostly masks!) I frequently get asked, "what's the difference between a stencil and a mask?" Which is also usually accompanied by the question, "how do I use a mask?" So by request, I've put together a 12-minute video that goes over the basics of stencils vs. masks, and also gives you demonstrations and samples of four ways you can use masks in your artwork.


Here are some of the samples from my video demo:

Method one - treat it like a stencil and just apply your medium over top and around the mask. Followed by method two, two-step stenciling - use both the stencil and mask parts that come together when you buy it. I used my Ornamental Compass Mask for this sample.

Ways to Use a Mask - Methods 1 and 2 Demo SampleHere's a sample spread from my art journal where I've used this mask the same way - just treated it like a stencil, basically!

Peace Art Journal Page Cropped - Gwen LafleurFor more ideas with two-step stenciling, check back here on Monday ;)

Method number three was to mask a patterned background and paint around it, giving you a "window" to the pattern beneath. This is one of my favorite things to do with a mask. This was done using my Ornamental Peacock mask.

Mask a Patterned Background Demo Sample - Gwen LafleurThe final method I shared in this video was to use masks with reduction stenciling; use a baby wipe while the paint is still wet to remove the paint around the mask for a cool and subtle look.

Reduction Stenciling with Masks - Gwen LafleurI hope this was helpful and maybe even a little bit fun! If you haven't already seen them, you can see and purchase all of my stencils at StencilGirl Products, or your local store.

If you enjoyed this, I bet you'll like Creative JumpStart even more! (How was that for a segue?) Just another reminder that the introductory pricing is only good through December 31st. Make sure you check it out! Here's a little infographic that breaks down all the awesomeness for you.

CJS2016InfoGraphicIf you haven't already signed up and you're even just slightly tempted, make sure you head over and check it out today!



My New Peacock Stencil in Action

Happy Cyber Monday all! In honor of today's awesome Cyber Monday sale at StencilGirl, I thought I'd share another project using my new stencils. This is actually one of my favorites - I knew I couldn't do my first stencil release without a peacock, after all!

Peacock-and-Ornamental-Screen-Stencils---Gwen-LafleurThis one started out as a way for me to test my sample stencils before they went into production, but I was having so much fun that I turned it into a full page in my journal. I used the Ornamental Peacock Stencil as the main image, of course! This is actually a mask, and I'm looking forward to playing with this one on the gelli plate. But for now, I wanted to just see how decorative I could make it. I'll still play with this more to see what I can do, but I love how it turned out! In the background you can also see all four of my 6x6 designs.

I can't wait to play with all of these some more - especially that peacock! I have some ideas for just the feathers... I'll have to see how that turns out :) 

Stencil Giveaway Winner!

Since StencilGirl is having an awesome Cyber Monday sale that starts in just a few hours, I thought I'd announce the winner of my stencil giveaway so that everyone who commented would know if they won before shopping.

Here's the result from the random drawing...

Gwen Lafleur Stencil Giveaway Winner - 11-29-15

The 23rd comment belongs to Laura Snow! Congratulations Laura! I sent you an email.

Happy Cyber Monday shopping, everyone!

Ornamental Circle Cluster & Ornamental Petals

(Psst... there's a giveaway at the bottom of this post!)

Now that the cat's out of the bag about my new collection of stencils with StencilGirl, I thought I'd show some close-ups of the projects I've been making with them. Today I'm focusing on four of them - my Ornamental Circle Cluster 4x4 and 6x6 as well as the Ornamental Petals 4x4 and 6x6.

Here's a closer look at some of the stencils:

Ornamental Circle Cluster Stencil by Gwen Lafleur

Ornamental Circle Cluster Screen Stencil by Gwen Lafleur

All of my stencils are hand-drawn designs, so if you look at them closely, you'll see that they're not perfect, but I like them for that reason :)

The Ornamental Circle Cluster 4x4 stencil and the 6x6 stencil are based on my love of using circle and dot motifs in my work. I wanted them to be complimentary and versatile, and I definitely wanted the 6x6 to be repeating. It lines up great for you to create a repeating pattern across large areas. It's also fun to just use pieces of it like I did here.

Something New Art Journal - Circle Cluster Stencils - Gwen LafleurFor this art journal page, I started with a page in my notebook where I'd cleaned paint off of my brushes (a lot of my favorite pages start that way!) and I just started stenciling on top of it. This was pretty exploratory, which is actually a bit unusual for me - I typically have an idea of what I want to do, but this time I just played.

I had tinted some heavy gel medium / molding paste (it comes as a combo which is pretty cool!) with gold paint and had a bunch leftover from another project (which you'll see next!) I just started spreading that through the stencil around the page and it grew from there.

Something New Art Journal 3- Circle Cluster Stencils - Gwen LafleurThen I randomly stenciled through the 6x6 with paint and ink, then added some marks with pens, paint markers, and Liquid Pearls.

Something New Art Journal 2- Circle Cluster Stencils - Gwen LafleurI also added a colored Chinese papercut that I've been hoarding, along with a little scrap of fabric and some vintage price stamps. Once I felt like it was done except for the writing, I just wrote was I was thinking - it was "something new!"

The other two stencils I wanted to highlight in this post are my Ornamental Petals Mask and the Ornamental Petals Screen - these are two of my favorites. (Oh, the 4x4 is a mask, and it works great with a gelli plate!)

Ornamental Petals Mask Stencil by Gwen Lafleur

Ornamental Petals Screen Stencil by Gwen LafleurThis design was based off of a handcarved stamp that I made a few months ago - I loved it so much that it became the basis for me deciding to try my hand at designing stencils.

This led to one of my favorite projects with these so far... I had a handmade book from a class I taught a few months ago where I'd never decorated the cover. The perfect thing to work on!

Stenciled Handmade Book Cover - Gwen LafleurThere are actually three stencils on this one - this was the original project using the Ornamental Circle Cluster stencil - I used that tinted heavy gel / paste on a blue pearlescent cardstock, then when it was dry I coated the whole thing with Diamond Glaze and let it dry overnight, then cut it out.

Getting back to the Ornamental Petals stencils, here's a better look so you can see how I used the 6x6 screen:

Stenciled Handmade Book Cover Step 1 - Gwen LafleurI love the texture from that black embossing paste! I repeated the design on the front and back covers, then put it on the spine with a tinted molding paste. Look at all that gorgeous detail!

Stenciled Handmade Book Cover close-up 2- Gwen LafleurFor the layering on the front cover, I stenciled the 4x4 mask onto deli paper with gold ink and cut it out, then cut it into two pieces. I added a beautiful gold frame made with a Spellbinders die and then distressed.

Stenciled Handmade Book Cover close-up 1- Gwen LafleurThen I painted the end papers on the inside black and used the 6x6 Ornamental Petals Screen to add a pattern with gold.

Stenciled Handmade Book Cover End Papers - Gwen LafleurEven though the stencil designs are hand-drawn, I tried to make sure that the ones that were meant to be repeating would actually work really well - I absolutely LOVE how this one came out! You'll be seeing me use this one in particular quite frequently, I think.

So that's it for today... I hope you enjoyed seeing some more projects and detail using these stencils from my new collection!

Before I sign off, how about a giveaway? I happen to have an extra of each of the four stencils featured in this post. If you'd like to win all four of them, just leave a comment here telling me how you'd use them. Make sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win! Comments will be eligible for the giveaway from now until midnight Central time on November 29th. Good luck!


Surprise! My Stencil Release!

So I've been keeping a little secret for the past few months... today I have NINE new stencil designs being released at StencilGirl! I'm so excited to be joining the ranks of the StencilGirl designers, and I absolutely love working with my own stencil designs - it's so fun! Here's a little peek at my stencils:

Gwen Lafleur November 2015 Stencil ReleaseHead on over to the StencilGirl blog to see more, or you can browse my new stencils in the shop. Make sure you check back in here on the blog over the next little while as I'll be posting projects, and maybe even a giveaway or two! (In fact, my first giveaway is up now in the next post!)