Make Something: Stencil

“Today, make a stencil and use it in your work.”

Really? Just seven days into 365, I met this prompt with an eye roll. Cynicism. Already.

But I’m all in. So at 10:15 p.m., finally home from a full day of writing and consulting followed by an energetic evening of teaching at StoryStudio Chicago, I pulled out a few art supplies and started “making.” The idea literally came in pieces:


I began with a puzzle-piece shaped paper punch. I pulled a paint chip from the stack of colors we rejected when choosing paint for our basement walls a few weeks ago. The heavy stock felt like good stencil weight. Punch. I grabbed the top pad from a stack of inks, noticed a pleasing shade of blue, and pulled a sheet of light blue card stock from my paper pile. Pressing ink pad directly to paper, I inked through the stencil onto the card stock. One, two, three puzzle pieces wandered across the page …

Crap. Favoring odd numbers, I had intended to stencil five puzzle pieces. But my spacing allowed for only four. At nearly 10:30 p.m., I was not starting over. So I inked the fourth puzzle piece and brainstormed four-letter words.

Resisting the urge to use one of the choice words that first came to mind, I landed on “idea.” Since I never print photos anymore, I dug into my abundant scrapbooking supplies for a sheet of silver letter stickers. After pressing the stickers onto the inky paper, I outlined the stenciled shapes with a silver pen, then scanned the page, cropped the image, and added a filter to darken the edge.

Voila. The idea nearly comes together. Isn’t that often the way?

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