Gesso Through a Stencil

Karen Burchill aka CreativeKady here with an art journal page tutorial using one of my favorite techniques.

TCW provided me with product but the ideas and opinions are my own.

Napkins are a great source of focal images and color inspiration. I especially love pairing TCW stencils with the napkins that I use in my art journal.

For this page, I start out with the napkin Scarlet Petrol from and pair it with TCW855 Linked Tiles. When matching a stencil to a napkin I look for similar shapes. I chose TCW855 Linked Tiles because I feel the rounded motif resembles the flowers on the napkin, while at the same time giving me the vintage wallpaper look I am going for.

After taking off the extra 2 white layers I “watercut” the parts of the napkin that I wish to use on my page. I use a liner brush with a small amount of water. For this page I am combining a couple of the images to make my own composition that fits the page.

Once I decide on placement I draw a light line around it to mark off the area I do NOT want to apply any texture.

One of my favorite techniques is rubbing “thickened gesso” through a stencil. This gives texture but looks and feels different than when you use straight modeling paste. DIY TIP Create your own “thick gesso’ by mixing TCW White Modeling Paste with TCW White Gesso. Nothing makes me happier than texture on a page.

I glue down the napkin using TCW Gel Medium thinned with a little water for a more fluid medium.

To colorize the page, I take the colors from the napkin. I am using Cobalt Teal, Naples Yellow and Magenta. I apply the paint with my finger rubbing over the stenciled texture area.

To help blend and soften the colors I mix in TCW White Gesso. My goal is to create a background that looks like sky and flowers in the distance.

To make the stenciled texture stand out I rub brown acrylic paint lightly over the textured areas. See the difference it makes when you compare the top left hand to the bottom right section I’ve done.

Using the napkin art as my guide I paint over the flowers, adding some of my own. This gives it a painterly effect and makes the focal images stand out from the background.

To finish I use a woodless charcoal pencil around the edges and splatter with brown, gold and white .

I hope you give this technique a try.

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CreativeKady / Karen Burchill

TCW Brand Ambassador

6 thoughts on “Gesso Through a Stencil

  1. Awesome page and great technique ideas! Love using thick Gesso through a stencil as well. Beautiful page my friend. 💖🎨

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