Long Weekend - DIY Stencil Project

It's amazing how many DIY art projects I have saved somewhere on my computer. Sitting at my desk job, I spend my days dreaming of all the amazing things I would do and make, and how productive I'd be if I were anywhere but sitting at my desk job. I do a very good job (generally speaking, and, considering how much time I spend in front of a computer M-F) of withholding my urges to impulse buy online. I do however, spend many of my lunches at hobby lobby buying materials for projects of which I will probably finish only 1/6.  It reminds me of convincing my Jr. High art teacher to write me an excuse note for Math class so that I could paint or play on the pottery wheel (which probably explains why I was one year behind in Math growing up). I totally use my lunch break to sneak away from work and play at the art/craft store...

I had the day off on Monday in honor of Independence Day and dubbed it art project day... you know, so I still feel validated in buying art supplies on lunch and saving more ideas to the desktop...

Photo, Computer, Photoshop (you could always copy and hand trace a photo as well)
contact paper
2 colors of acrylic paint
1 pre-stretched canvas
paint brushes, string, etc.

I started browsing through some photos and found one (that is actually a very weird photo of us in Savannah) I thought would make a clean silhouette:

1) I opened it in Photoshop, desaturated the image, played with contrast, Gaussian blur, curves, etc. and after a few tries I came up with this:

I chose to stick with this version of the silhouette as it undoubtedly still looks like us. (There are all kinds of tutorials online for making stencils in Photoshop. Use the Google, try a few methods and see what works for you. Example)

From there, enlarge, print, and cut out the image with an exacto knife. I chose to stick with the contrast of the Black and White design above, saving the white areas and discarding the black to be filled in with paint later.

Take your pattern and trace it onto the contact paper (remember to check that your contact paper is sticky side down, with the image flipped as you want it to appear in the final product). I glued the paper pattern directly onto the contact paper with a glue stick because I didn't feel like holding down the zig-zags of Darling's hair and tracing. Once the pattern is down, hit the contact paper with the exacto knife once again.

When you have your pattern, carefully peel the backing off of the contact paper and adhere to your canvas. I went over the design multiple times with a library card to ensure there were no air bubbles.

Paint. Go crazy. Remember to give it some drying time between crazy sessions to create texture and keep your colors from looking too muddy. I gave mine a few good sessions with brushes (flicking, dabbing), finger painting, and at one point was dragging string through puddles of paint and across the canvas.

I like to see globs of paint for texture.

Right? Awesome, messy, fun--I love a good messy project. Once you reach a stopping point, or come to the conclusion that if you make any more splatter's you will have officially overdone it and ruined everything, allow your painting to dry thoroughly.

Once it's dry, peel off your contact paper.Voila!

Funny, fun, colorful. Does the image I chose make me a total narcissist? I don't know, but as a project, I say its not bad for my first go at it. I think there are dozens of other projects/hilarious gifts ideas lurking around this concept.

Okay, that's all.



Camille said...

This is so fun! I love your photo choice. I instantly saw Ed's birthday looming in the distance and the need to find the perfect photo became stronger as I scrolled down!

Steph said...

super cool. I like your life.

Anonymous said...

LOVE IT! I absolutely love it. The orange is a great color.

BERRETTS said...

We had an amazing photog take our family photos, but I forgot to do any of just Trev and me.
I think a silhouette like yours would look fantastic in our bedroom. Thanks for the idea.

libby said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!!! Can I commission one?

E said...

wow! thanks everyone. Libby, I would love to make one of little mack man!

Julia and Ben said...

Oh my gosh! This is absolutely beautiful! I want to make one! I may email you with some questions :)

Hawk said...

Em, this is incredible! I'm loving it.

I miss my art partner in crime! I have been obsessed with stencil work for the past year. I will have to show you what I have been working on; we can swap tips.

I have a long distance art project in mind for us. Hit me up, we'll talk details.

Anonymous said...

Love this idea! I have a silhouette cameo that I could do this with (makes the cutting SO much easier!) Thanks for the idea!!

p.s. uhm. You appear to be naked in the pic you used.. am I the only that noticed? (I'm not a creeper I promise! lol)