Learn to decorate your home with a personal touch by using the techniques of stenciling. Be inspired to create your own unique stencils. Or, use standard stencils to decorate walls, furniture, and table linens.

Revolutionary women : a book of stencils
Queen of the Neighbourhood.
Oakland, Calif. : PM ; London : Turnaround [distributor], 2010.
Both a radical feminist history and a street art resource, this handbook combines short biographies with striking and usable stencil images of 30 female activists, anarchists, feminists, freedom fighters, and visionaries. From Harriet Tubman, Emma Goldman, and Angela Davis to Vandana Shiva, Sylvia Rivera, and Lucy Parsons, this collection offers a subversive portrait celebrating the military prowess and revolutionary drive of these women whose violent resolve often shatters the archetype of woman as nurturer. A sampling of quotes from key writings and speeches gives voice to each woman's ideologies, philosophies, struggles, and quiet humanity while the stencils offer further opportunities to commemorate these women and their actions through the reproduction of their likenesses.
Silhouettes & stencils vector designs
Alan Weller.
Mineola, N.Y. : Dover ; Newton Abbot : David & Charles [distributor], 2010.
Great for use in wall decorations or as spot illustrations for design projects, over 350 silhouettes and stencils boast a wide range of styles and subjects: storybook characters, animal borders, galloping cowboys, and more. And since they are all vector-based, the graphics can be enlarged, stretched, and customized in other ways without losing clarity.
Creative paper cutting : basic techniques and fresh designs for stencils, mobiles, cards, and more
edited by Shufunotomo.
Boston, Mass. : Trumpeter, c2010.
Transform a simple sheet of paper into a delicate snowflake, a sweet flower, or a dainty doily-or create an enchanted forest using a modern twist on the traditional technique for making paper dolls. Paper cutouts get a fresh look in this contemporary approach to the practice of transforming paper into art. Itís full of clever and cute designs and a range of different cutting techniques that you can use to make your own cutouts for display, decoration, or embellishment. Offering a range of styles, this book presents paper cutting techniques through clear step-by-step instruction, detailed diagrams, and templates. Once youíve mastered the basics, creative uses for paper cutouts are offered, including as cards, gift wrap, mobiles, collages, stencils, garlands, and more. Make the paper cuts in this book and add a creative touch to your home, gifts, or projects.
Bend the rules with fabric : fun sewing projects with stencils, stamps, dye, photo transfers, silk screening, and more
Amy Karol.
New York : Random House, 2009.
You've bent all the rules with sewing, so now what? It's high time you made your own fashions even more you with Amy Karol's next craft revolution: Bend the Rules with Fabric.
Printing by hand : a modern guide to printing with handmade stamps, stencils, and silk screens
by Lena Corwin ; photography by Thayer Allyson Gowdy.
New York : Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008.
Itís the natural inconsistenciesóthe accidental differences between one finished piece and anotheróthat make hand-printed fabrics, papers, furniture, and works of art so interesting. The quirks are what show the makerís intimate involvement in the process, and itís that unique quality that first attracted textile designer and illustrator Lena Corwin to hand-printing. nbsp; Even though decorative prints are more in vogue than ever, there was until now no up-to-date hand-printing guideóno single source explaining the tools and materials that are used today, or reflecting a contemporary aesthetic. Corwin has given us that guide. nbsp; Using step-by-step instructions and up-close photos, Corwin teaches crafters everything they need to know to master stamping, stenciling, and screen printing, from making their own printing devices to trouble-shooting when plans go awry. Her inimitable collection of projects ranges from stamped stationery and simple-to-sew pouches, to stenciled tote bags and furniture, to screen-printed bed linens and upholstery fabric. Thereís even a silk-screened dog bed. The author has created original artwork for each project (full-size patterns are included in an envelope at the back of the book), so that every crafter can achieve the same beautiful results. Or maybe not quite the same. Remember: Itís the subtle differences that make hand-printing so special and alluring.
Stencil 101 : make your mark with 25 reusable stencils and step-by-step instructions
by Ed Roth.
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2008.
The complete practical guide to stencilling and stamping : how to decorate and personalize your home with beautiful stencil and stamp techniques for interiors, furniture, fabrics, china and accessories
Lucinda Ganderton, Stewart and Sally Walton.
London : Lorenz Books, c2007.
Stencilling and stamping are two great home decorating techniques that are quick and easy to master. These tried-and-tested skills need little practise to perfect and can be used to add instant colour, design and a sense of style all around the house.
Stencilling : walls and surfaces, borders and friezes
Lucinda Ganderton.
London : Southwater, 2006.
  1. "Previously published as part of a larger volume, The complete book of decorative stenciling"--t.p. verso.
  2. Includes index.

A stencil can be a letter, illustration, symbol, or other shape in cut-out form. When paint is applied to this cut-out form, it leaves that shape onthe underlying surface.

Getting started

Prepare surface
Get supplies
Begin project
Align stencils
Apply paint

(from StenSource)

To get started some surfaces must be coated with a primer before the paint is applied. Primers are needed to seal porous surfaces, so that the paint spreads smoothly without soaking in. Once your surface is primed, it is then ready for a stencil and paint.

A wide variety of paint is available from a paint supply store or craft store. Water-based paints are safer to the environment than oil-based paints. For stenciling on materials, a fabric paint, which is specifically formulated for painting on fabric should be used.

To make a stenciled design on a surface, hold the stencil firmly in place with one hand. Hold the brush perpendicular to surface, and, using a circular motion, apply a light layer of paint to open area. Next, you need to work around the outer edges of the stencil first.

Continue the circular motion of brush, working towards the center of stencil with gradually lighter pressure. Make sure to allow color to fade away at center. This creates a shaded effect. Reposition first stencil, or position new stencil, and repeat painting process until you have completed your design.

To stencil on fabrics, they need to be first pre-washed. Next, place the fabric, right side up, on medium grit sandpaper, to keep the fabric from shifting. Use the stipple method for fabrics. This stipple method uses masking tape taped around the paintbrush bristles.Hold the brush perpendicular to surface, and apply paint using up-and-down motion. This stipple method of stenciling gives a textured appearance on fabric.

Stenciling is not difficult to master. Stencils are the most adaptable of decorative tools. With imagination, a few tools, a home can become decorated with your unique touches. Just remember, when searching for source material for designs, that there are copyright laws that need to be observed.

Remember to use your creativity to design new stencils. Enjoy the colors and designs that you create. Individuality is key to making your stenciling more fun!

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff