Fun! The artists group I am part of does ATC swaps and I have been looking thru my mark-making stencils and stamps, looking to one to use. I have a bunch of stamps I make where the elements are…arranged I guess, in what is meant to be a “random” layout. I will often get a bit heavy-handed when stenciling and as my mind wanders I end up stenciling the whole area. So I created some using simple images that I like, but arranged them so I can’t over-do it.
As I mentioned yesterday, I just did my design, printed it on the Toughprint paper, then cut it. It did amazing except the tiny little dots in the one design. It got some but missed out more.
I solved that by punching out the dots with my Cropadile!
I grabbed a bunch of papers from my desk and cut them into ATC sized bits, just to test out the designs.
I really like them all. They are quite small scale, and all on one sheet, which is nice. I like the scattered nature of the motifs, and they stencil nicely. A big win!
I have a few other designs I might play around with. I am trying to think of some more unique marks. I am also on the hunt for the exact little man silhouette I used on this piece. I found lots but not this exact guy. Driving me MAD, it is. I found one of the little ladies cute from a transparency, and the file where she came from but the stocky dude is not there.
I have been playing with my Scan&Cut. I feel like I need to always mention I have the oldest version, the CM300. so bear that in mind when I talk about how I do things. This one was cheap in a Black Friday Sale and I am happy with it. Less so my mat issues. But hey ho.
I get annoyed with all the steps sometimes, when I am designing something like a stencil. In reality it isn’t so many but I just want to do it as easily as possible. I had the idea to print on my transparency sheets. But of course they are clear, so all the mat grid lines show and the S&C is going to want to cut them, isn’t it? Then I thought I could back it with paper, but then all the little bits that get cut are not going to be anchored in any way and that sounds like a disaster. I thought about backing the transparency with white contact paper. I still think this could maybe work. In the end I went looking for white transparencies (yeah. right.) and actually found what I wanted. Sadly, it seems to be a discontinued line but I then found this stuff:
I figured out the settings *I* needed to cut (using the regular depth blade) but not before I screwed up royally and:
Yes. That is my window as seen thru the hole in my cutting mat. An ACTUAL HOLE.
The big difference between the initial stuff I found and this is the other one is thicker. This is 174gsm, so more like 50lb. Not as thick as I would like it but not dissimilar to transparency sheets. All I have to do is make my design, print it on the sheet (and I have the Laser printer version) and pop it on my S&C mat. Scan to cut and away we go.
Those guys worked well, but I need to thicken up the stalks before I am truly happy with them. I’ve experimented with placing the resulting bits printed side down and the reverse of the paper side down, Not sure there is a significant difference, and certainly not when the piece is coated with paint.
Of all the things I have cut stencils from, this is, in combination with the Scan & Cut, the easiest. The S&C clearly identifies the laser printed lines (more on that tomorrow) and I only have to create my design and print it, then scan-to-cut and cut. No converting it to an SVG, no need even to use the CanvasWorkspace tool. I love how flexible it is so the things I cut would easily work in an art journal or collage. Sometimes the flexibility works against it, but mostly I like it a lot. Where there is trouble is super thin lines, like those leafy fronds. I mean, it works, but slightly thicker lines would be better.
Is it as heavy as I might like? No. Hands down the best stencil material is my old HiTi dye-sub printer photo sheets. It just performs best. You can’t print on it, which is it’s only downfall from my POV. I’ve heard from an arty friend there is some Xerox paper in the USA which sounds a bit like this stuff. No idea if this exact brand is sold in the USA but have a look for Waterproof Paper and see what you find.