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From the Artist Tribe - Stencil Your Teabags

We have another fabulous post from the Artist Tribe today as Jill McDowell shares a fabulous way to upcycle your used teabags... stencil them and turn them into mixed media artwork!


Stenciled Tea Bags 1 - Jill McDowell

Jill used a bunch of my stencil designs on these projects, including my Decorative 6-Petal Flower Stencil (4x4) and the Decorative 6-Petal Flower Screen (6x6,) as well as my Decorative Medallion stencil.

On the art journal page below, she's used both the 4x4 and 6x6 Ornamental Compass designs from my Ornamental stencil collection.

Art Journaling with Stenciled Tea Bags - Jill McDowell

Head on over to Jill's blog for lots more photos and details, including a how-to on turning those soggy teabags into gorgeous works of art!


From the Artist Tribe - Worth Saving Mixed Media Wall Hanging

Another wonderful project from the Artist Tribe today... Lynda Shoup is popping in with this gorgeous mixed media wall hanging!


She's used my Ornamental Petals Screen stencil along with some sari yarn, embellished sari scraps, and a Turkmen pendant along with some other beads and papers from her stash. Head on over to her blog where you can see more photos and get details on this beautiful artwork!

Also, today is the last day for the anniversary sale at the shop! 15% off all mixed media supplies with the coupon 1stAnniversary15. The offer expires tonight (3/28) at midnight mountain time.


From the Artist Tribe - Art Journey in an Art Journal

Jackie Neal from the Artist Tribe is joining us today to share how she's journaling her art journey with this gorgeous art journal page!

Art journey - Art Journaling - Jackie Neal

Jackie used my Ornamental Peacock Feathers stencil along with some sari scraps and a few bits of Turkmen jewelry to help complete her page. Make sure you head on over to her blog for lots more closeups and details!

Just a quick reminder - my shop anniversary sale was extended so you can still save 15% on all mixed media supplies when you use the code 1stAnniversary15 between now and 11:59pm mountain time on 3/28.


Five New Stencils, Part 2

Last Wednesday I announced the release of five new stencil designs from StencilGirl and shared the background and inspiration for my two new 9"x12" stencils along with some samples. Today I wanted to focus on the other three designs.

First up is my new Scribble X Mask stencil.

Scribble X Mask - 4x4 Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I've been a doodler for as long as I can remember - I doodled in my classes all the way from elementary school through college, and then as an adult I've continued; I think that's the reason I continue to take notes in a notebook instead of on my computer! It helps keep my hands busy and my brain focused. 

This particular design was inspired by a series of doodles that showed up in my notebook during meetings at work last Fall. I had the idea to turn a few of my doodles - including this one, into a hand-carved rubber stamps, and I loved this particular design so much that I knew it just had to be enlarged and become a mask that could be used for even more applications in my artwork.

Here you can see how I used it in my art journal:


And a close-up so you can see some of the details for both the stencil and the page:


Next, I also used this as the pattern for one of my 3D boho collages. This was done on a 5x5 cradled panel, and you can also see one of the borders from Not Afraid to Try as well as a bit of the Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion peeking out from under the dimensional piece.


I really love doing these collages... it's a very detailed process (some might say tedious?) but I find it to be kind of zen. Then there's the fun of finding the perfect way to embellish the openings and add fun little accents to the finished collage. Here's a close-up so you can get a better idea of the dimension as well as see a bit more how I used the Baked Texture embossing powder (Patina Oxide,) as well as some Emerald Creek Pyrite Quarry Gemstones, and more Emerald Creek embossing powders inside the collage and on the background. I also added a button from my Turkmen jewelry parts, and then triangular pendants around the circle are from my personal stash of jewelry bits.


Next up is the Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion stencil - one of my new 6"x6" designs.

Decorative Flower Stamen Medallion - 6x6 Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

Like the Scribble X Mask, this design started off as a doodle in my work notebook. I had these organic elements that looked like the stamens of a flower growing out of the margins of my pages, so I went home and turned them into a quarter-repeat hand-carved rubber stamp. When I printed and repeated the stamp, the results were so much cooler than I'd anticipated! I knew immediately that it would make a fabulous addition to my collection of medallion stencils. 

This design is perfect for creating background textures and patterns (it worked great with texture paste on my sample canvas below.) Like all of my medallions, it's also ideal for layering... try using smaller circular designs and objects layered over the center and build up from there to create a unique focal point in your art!

Here's the canvas I mentioned - lots of layered and collaged elements, and then I used gold texture paste (Wendy Vecchi / Ranger) to add the stenciling on the top.


Here's another close-up so that you can see more of the texture and how detailed this design really is!


Finally, the other 6"x6" that I released last week is my new Art Deco Peacock Feathers stencil.

Art Deco Peacock Feathers - 6x6 Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

It's really not much of a secret that I love both peacock feathers and Art Deco - I've already created stencils aplenty for both of these themes! That probably means that a mash-up of the two was inevitable at some point, right?

I have a particular fondness for Egyptian Art Deco designs, and have wanted to do something along those lines for quite a while now. While visiting my family in the DC area last year, I spotted a pillow in a shop that immediately sparked the idea in my head to make Egyptian Art Deco peacock feathers. I drew it out and carved it as a stamp to see how it would work, and I loved it so much that it was the first thing I worked on when I started this round of stencil designs. 

The hand-drawn pattern was created to repeat, so all you have to do is line the stencil up along any of the edges to create seamless backgrounds as large or as small as you want. You can also mask off a single feather to use as a stand-alone motif in your work.

Here you can see where I used this design to create a repeating background on some painted deli paper:


If you look closely, you can see where I tore out pieces of the above paper and used them to create the background on a page in my most recent artist book:


On this page I also added some torn sari ribbon on top, along with pieces cut from a Dresden medallion, some sari patches from my stash, printed handmade paper, and a large Kuchi patch (I seriously love these things - so much!)

I also used this stencil along the edges of one of the translucent pages in the same artist book (my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil is the one you see in the center.) I finished it off with some trim and sari patches from my stash. (I don't have these in my shop, but you can check out my Curated Stash Packs if you're interested in this kind of thing!)


Finally, I used the Art Deco Peacock Feathers stencil for one of the layers of pattern on the background of the art journal spread I shared last week which also uses my two new 9"x12" stencils.


So that's it for this release! I'm so beyond pleased with how the stencils came out... the team at StencilGirl did a stellar job with them, as always! I'm so excited to continue using them in my work, and also to see what you do with them!

Of course, all 37 of my stencil designs are available both in my shop and directly from StencilGirl. You can also check your local stores - I know there are quite a few out there that have some as well (shop local if you can!)

For those who are interested - I've still got my anniversary sale going on in my shop... you can save 15% off of all mixed media supplies and downloadable products with the coupon 1stAnniversary15. Thanks to the great response so far, I've extended the sale so this coupon is good through midnight mountain time on Wednesday, March 28th.



Mixed Media Texture with Baked Texture Embossing Powder

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of using embossing powder in my mixed media artwork, so when Seth Apter asked me if I'd be willing to do a project showcasing his seven new flavors of Baked Texture embossing powder from Emerald Creek, I jumped at the chance!

When the long awaited powders finally arrived, I dove in head first and explored. One of the results of my playtime, er... experimentation was this mixed media panel that uses all 7 blends and a variety of different techniques.


I took some photos as I worked so that you can see some of the ways that I used the Baked Texture powders. To start, I stenciled elements from Seth's Numbers stencil with pigment ink, then added Ancient Amber and heat embossed it. I repeated this randomly across the background (keeping mostly toward the edges since I knew I was going to cover the center,) and making sure to wrap some of the embossing around the sides of my cradled panel. I also used a VersaMarker to edge the panel, and I added more EP and heat embossed that as well.


For the next layer, I randomly stamped some circle patterns from two of Seth's PaperArtsy cling rubber stamp sets onto rice paper using pigment ink. I did them one at a time - stamping one pattern and embossing, then repeating with the other pattern. I used Chunky Rust with the larger stamped circles and then using Dirty Sand for the smaller design. I then tore the paper into strips and collaged sections onto the background of my panel using matte medium, making sure to layer some of it over the embossing that was already on there since I wanted to start to build up layers of texture.


I set the panel aside to dry, then moved on to the circular elements that I knew I wanted to have running down the center. I took several different sizes of chipboard circles and painted them with different colors of Seth's PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paints.


Once the paint was dry, (which is important because the embossing powder will stick to wet paint and you may get embossing where you don't want it,) I ran the edges of the circles across an embossing ink pad (above,) and then ran them through a pile of Ancient Amber.


Above, you can see that I heat embossed the circles - I love the effect of the embossed edges! A few of them I just coated completely for some variety. When I'm working with smaller items like this, I have a set of long copper tongs that I use to hold the piece that I'm embossing so that I don't burn my fingers - super helpful!

Next, I went back through and used some of Seth's latest stencil designs from StencilGirl to add patterns to the tops of my circles using pigment ink and then Chunky Rust and Patina Oxide powders.


At this point, my circles were ready to add to the panel, so I set those aside and went back to work on prepping my background which I coated with a brown glaze. I applied it, let it start to dry for about a minute or so, and then used a baby wipe to take some of it back off, leaving it darker in the crevices of the texture I created with the embossed stenciling.


Once the glaze was dry, I placed my circles down the center of the panel and glued them in place, then started coating the background in embossing powder. For this step, I started from the outside and the sides of the panel and worked my way toward the middle. First, I coated sections of the panel with embossing ink and then used Vintage Beeswax on top, repeating this process twice to get really smooth coverage.


Once the Vintage Beeswax is melted, you can see how the texture and color from the background layers still really show through! I continued the same process, adding ribbons of color moving toward the middle with Patina Oxide and then with Deep Sea.

Next comes my favorite part... this was what I knew that I wanted to do the very first time I ever saw Rocky Road - I wanted to create some serious texture using acrylic mediums. For this section, I used High Solid Gel and a small paintbrush to apply the gel around the circles throughout the entire center section. I used a very thick, stiff gel medium because I wanted it to hold its shape so that I would get more exaggerated peaks and valleys in my texture.


I coated the gel medium section with Rocky Road and then heated it at very short range. Any time you emboss with a wet acrylic medium, especially with the heat gun so close to the surface, you're going to get lots of bubbles. (And fumes! Keep your mouth and nose covered, especially if you do this for extended times like I did here - I have a respirator that I keep in my studio for serious melting and bubbling.) It's going to smell pretty funky, but the texture... oh is it ever worth it. Amazing. (At the bottom of this post there's a link to a video tutorial where you can see this process in action.)

Below, you can see how I went back in with a VersaMarker and lightly brushed ink over the surface of the embossed area...


I added a light sprinkling of Chunky Rust and embossed, repeated with an even lighter sprinkling of Patina Oxide, and then added a bit more Rocky Road on top. I kept sprinkling and heating until I was happy with the results - I think I had at least 10 layers of embossing powder on this section! When you look at it up close, it's a really cool effect.

Finally, it just wouldn't be one of my pieces unless I added some funky boho touches, so I dug through my stash of Turkmen jewelry parts and added some buttons and other cool bits on to some of the circles, finishing with a Turkish glass nazar bead in the center of my focal point. I used a touch of black wax around the edges of the panel to frame it, and that was it!


Here are a few close-ups so that you can get a better sense for the different textures you can get using the Baked Texture powders... they're so addictive!

Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur
Textured Circles - Top 2 - Gwen Lafleur

Also, not too long ago I did a video tutorial using Baked Texture powders and another Emerald Creek embossing powder, and in that video you can see the live-action version of how I use embossing powder with acrylic mediums (it's fun just to watch that stuff bubble on camera!) Check out that blog post for the video as well as the three samples I shared.

Sadly, this brings us to the end of our week-long celebration of all things Baked Texture, but hopefully you've picked up tons of ideas and inspiration for how you can incorporate these amazing embossing powders into your own mixed media work! If you missed them, make sure to check out these four posts from this week, each with lots of amazing inspiration and fun techniques for you to try:

From the Artist Tribe - Mixed Media Art Paper Dolls

Linda Edkins Wyatt is popping in from the Artist Tribe today with a fabulous project... she's made a gorgeous and totally unique set of mixed media art paper dolls!


Linda used several different colors of embossing powder to add texture and a bit of shine to the details of her dolls. If you look closely, you'll also see bits of Dresden trim and some embellished sari scraps! Make sure you stop by her blog to see close-ups of each of the art dolls and get more details on the project and products she used.

Also, just a quick reminder that I'm celebrating the one year anniversary of my shop with a sale! Get 15% off all mixed media supplies and downloadable products with the coupon 1stAnniversary15.

Anniversary Sale Banner

Five New Stencil Designs!

I'm super excited to share that I have five new stencil designs releasing today from StencilGirl! I'm really excited about these stencils - it's a bit of a mixed bag and in the past I've always released in collections, but each one is a design that I really loved and so I decided to just put them all out there together in a bit of an eclectic mix. Without further ado... here they are! (You can tell that mine are already getting plenty of use :)


Do these designs look familiar at all? If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these motifs before since most of them came from the stamps I carved in the last round of Carve December. It's not unusual for my stamp designs to turn into stencils... I started counting how many of my hand-carved stamps are now available in some form or another from StencilGirl and it was a surprisingly large number!


The Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms actually started as a drawing for a stencil, but then I turned it into a 3-part stamp so that I could print it in different colors. I loved how that came out, so I decided to submit the stencil design, and here we are! I'm especially thrilled to have my first Asian themed stencil... it's been a long time coming, and hopefully this is the first of many!


I'll be sharing the individual stencils and the inspiration behind them as well as some sample projects here, as well as on Facebook and Instagram over the next week or so, so make sure to keep an eye out for inspiration with my new designs!

Today I want to share a bit more about my new 9x12 stencils. The first one is called Not Afraid to Try.

Not Afraid to Try - 9x12 Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

As background on this design, in 2009 I went back to school to get my MBA and during my second year I took an elective called Business Judgment, which was my favorite class of the entire program (it was much more interesting than it sounds!) One of the books we read in class focused on the concept that our own fears are our biggest impediments to making decisions and moving forward, and with achieving success in both our professional and personal lives. This really stuck with me, and I ended up making it the subject of my final project for the class (which I aced, by the way!) I've continued to keep that as a mantra in the years since, and for close to a year now I've really wanted to have a version of that concept as a phrase on a stencil so that I could use it for art journaling and other projects. I thought that it was probably likely that others might want this as well, and luckily StencilGirl agreed with me!



The words on this stencil are all hand-drawn, and you can also mask off individual letters to form other words and phrases like I did with the page below from my latest artist book which reads, "Doubt Not, Fear Not." (I stenciled just part of the "o" and then drew in the horizontal line to make an "e.")

Not-Afraid-to-Try---Artist-Book-Page---Gwen-LafleurOf course, I couldn't have a quote without some decorative elements, so I added two borders which were inspired by traditional Indian woodblock designs, as well as a fun ornamental motif that's a combination of inspiration from a vintage metal finding and architectural elements. You can repeat the borders to make them longer, or turn them into backgrounds! That's what I did on the back side of the above page - since the background is translucent, I wanted them to show through to the front a bit (as you can see above,) but also stand on their own if you were looking at the reverse side of the page.


My other new 9x12 is called Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms, and it was inspired by my first two visits to China where I explored the Yu Garden in Shanghai and also learned about the symbolism of the plum blossoms during a Chinese watercolor painting demonstration - these trees flower in late winter and have come to embody the ideas of perseverance and hope, as well as beauty and purity. After I learned about the symbolism, I developed an immediate and abiding love for the blooms of this tree; I have a painting of plum blossoms in my home that I bought from a master artist in Beijing that I had framed and keep displayed in a prominent place to remind me of the concept of hope and beauty blossoming through adversity.

Chinese Garden Plum Blossoms - 9x12 Stencil - Gwen Lafleur

I also added Chinese characters for beauty (top,) harmony (middle,) and tranquility (bottom,) to describe the feeling while visiting those stunning traditional gardens. The design of the plum blossom branch was deliberately created as an outline to allow you to color the flowers with whatever color combinations and mediums you choose. Here you can see how I stenciled the design onto rice paper and then colored it with gouache:


I tore out the designs from this page and used them on the same art journal spread I showed above... here's a close-up so you can see the blooms in particular. (The Chinese characters on this page mean "strength" and are from another of my hand-carved stamps.)


I also used the Chinese characters from this stencil to make a tag - these frequently end up as tip-ins in my art journal.


All five of my stencils are available NOW from StencilGirl, and later this week you'll also be able to get them from my shop!

I'll be back soon with more inspiration behind the other three designs... in the meantime, make sure you're following me on Instagram where I'll continue to post projects with the new designs!


Gwen's Gems - Make a Wire Jewelry Pattern from a Stencil!

Just popping in to let you know that I'm up on StencilGirl Talk today with the March edition of Gwen's Gems. This month I'm showing how you can use a stencil to create a pattern for wire jewelry - see how I made this wire peacock feather pendant from start to finish!


Make sure you head over to StencilGirl Talk to see the tutorial. (PS... the necklace is now sold - thank you!)


Create a Beautifully Etched Decorative Window with Stencils

Hi all, welcome to my stop on the blog hop with StencilGirl and etchall! For my project, I knew immediately what I wanted to do... about two years ago I'd taken an old multi-paned window that I'd found in an architectural salvage shop and painted it, then added some stenciled deli paper to the panes. At the time, I wished that I'd etched the glass instead, so when this project came up, I decided to go back and do what I'd originally wanted to do with that old window. Here's how it turned out! 


The how-to for this couldn't be any easier. I took my window (or any glass surface,) and peeled off the old deli paper with a razor, then washed it. (One of the few times you will ever catch me washing windows. LOL.) When it was totally dry, I took the stencil adhesive spray and coated the back of my Decorative Curvy Ornament stencil as well as my Decorative 6-Petal Flower stencil, let the adhesive dry, and then placed them in the center of two of the window panes. From there, I just followed the instructions on the bottle of etching cream; I applied it with a squeegee tool, then scraped up the excess and put it back in the jar. 



When the first two were done, I set a timer for 15 minutes and then rinsed them in the sink under running water, scrubbing lightly to get all of the etching cream off of the glass. I did leave the stencils in place until after I'd rinsed off the cream, as per the instructions. They started to loosen before that point, but it worked out just fine!


From there, I just repeated the process two more times; each time I dried and re-sprayed my stencils with adhesive since they'd been soaked in water during the previous step and I wanted to make sure they stuck well to the glass so I wouldn't get any seepage with the etching cream.

Voila! It took less than an hour to get rid of my unsatisfactory deli print stenciling and replace it with something that looks pretty darn professional!


It's hard to get good photos of the glass, but here you can see a bit of the close-up of each of the stencil designs after they'd been etched:



That's it! I hope you enjoyed seeing how I used the etchall products with my stencils to finish off this decorative window... now I just need to find the perfect place to display it.

Of course, now it's time for the best part of a blog hop - the giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive an etchall® Glass Etching Bee-ginner Kit, reposition/reuse stencil spray
AND a $25 Gift Certificate to StencilGirl Products!

Enter to win by leaving a comment below, then be sure to visit the other blogs in the hop and comment to win.
The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to WIN!
One winner will be chosen at random from all blog comments.
(One comment per person per blog please.)

You have until Tuesday, March 20th at 11:59PM Central Time to leave your comments.
Winner will be announced on
StencilGirl's Facebook page and etchall’s Facebook page on Wednesday, March 21.


Here are the links to all of today's blog posts - make sure to visit and comment on each of them for your chance to win!

Mary Beth Shaw
Gwen Lafleur <-- you are here!
Mary C. Nasser
Debi Adams
Tina Walker
Cindi McGee
Nadine Carlier
Joe Rotella

From the Artist Tribe - Stenciled Easter Eggs

I'm absolutely loving the project that Jill McDowell is sharing today from the Artist Tribe... she's used my stencil designs to make these utterly fabulous stenciled Easter eggs!


Aren't they incredible? She's used several of my stencil designs from both my original Ornamental stencil collection as well as my Decorative stencil designs. Make sure you stop by her blog today to see more photos of these beautiful eggs as well as details on how she made them!

P.S., don't forget about the shop anniversary sale that starts Friday! You won't want to miss it!

Anniversary Sale Preview Banner

From the Artist Tribe - Mixed Media Shrine

We're starting the new week off on a high note with this fabulous project from the Artist Tribe - this stunning mixed media shrine by Jackie Neal!


Isn't that just gorgeous? She's used one of the small handmade Mexican nichos from the shop combined with a peacock finding, Turkmen jewelry parts, and lots of fun beads and goodies from her stash.

Make sure you head over to Jackie's blog for more photos and details about this stunning project.

Psst... a little heads up - my little shop is a year old this month and I'll be celebrating with a sale! Mark your calendars...

Anniversary Sale Preview Banner

From the Artist Tribe - Boho Fabric Necklace

Linda Edkins Wyatt is joining us today with another inspirational post from The Artist Tribe! I love this handmade boho-style necklace she created... isn't it fabulous?


Linda used sari yarn and pieces from an assortment of Turkmen jewelry parts, along with beads and fabric scraps, to make her necklace. Make sure you swing by her blog to see more photos and get all of the details on how she made her beautiful project!