Stencils and masks allow you to apply your own patterns to pages, in the colors of your choosing. They’re great for breaking up solid sections, or layering over each other to create depth.

First, some stencil and mask basics:

stencil-lowresThis piece was created almost entirely with stencils. The Frida stencil is hand cut; the background flower stencils were punched using paper punches; the letter and rose stencils are purchased, and the lines were added using tape. Watch the video below to see how it went together:

When the piece is viewed in person, there are places where you can see all the way down to the first text page layer. That’s some serious transparent layering!

More Stencils & Masks in Action


This piece was also made almost completely with stenciling. The Poe and crow figures are hand cut; the lettering stencils were purchased; the background texture is done using sequin waste as a stencil.


This set of altered book pages was done using a hand cut positive and negative mask. I simply cut the contour of the profile down the center of a piece of manila file folder, to create a positive and negative, and used the two pieces to block in the faces. I think I show this mask set in the first video, at the top of the page.


This set of altered book pages is made using a mask. I painted the page pink, and then used gesso around the mask to get the pink figure. Then, I traced around the mask, slightly offset, with a black pen.

I teach an online class at Ten Two Studios, all about stenciling. Check out Quick Stenciled Pages to learn how to cut and use your own stencils.

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