How to Stencil on Fabric and Paper

**This post is sponsored by Stencil Revolution and may contain affiliate links. All opinions expressed are my own.

How to Stencil on Fabric and Paper – Learn how easy it is to make beautiful DIY Printed Tea Towels and Personalized Handmade Greeting Cards with a simple stencil and some acrylic paint.

Stenciling with paint is a super easy craft project that anybody can master. There are just a few little hints and tips to make your printed stencil work clean and neat.

One of my favorite DIY Gift Ideas is to make personalized tea towels or kitchen towels. I love to use Cotton Flour Sack towels which are wonderfully absorbant and super easy to dye, paint or stencil.

You may have seen my post on how to make Shibori Tie Dyed Tea Towels.

These towels are so fun and easy to paint, you’ll want to print a bunch of them for every Holiday. Bunny towels for Easter??

Plus, personalized, stenciled cards or towels are a wonderful gift idea for Christmas, Mother’s Day or a Birthday present!


How to Stencil with Paint on Fabric or Paper




Stenciling on Fabric Supplies

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– Stencil (this one came from Stencil Revolution**)
Cotton Flour Sack Towels
Fabric Paint OR
Acrylic Paint and Textile Medium
Stencil Brushes or Pouncers
Masking Tape (optional)

– Disposable plate


Fabric or Textile Paints and Stencil Brushes or Pouncers


Red Acrylic Paint and Textile Medium


Christmas Stencil used to paint a Greeting Card and Cotton Kitchen Towel



How to Stencil on Fabric

The first thing you have to do is wash and dry your fabric or tea towels. This removes any sizing which may interfere with the adhesion of the acrylic paint. If the fabric is very wrinkled, go ahead and iron it.

Now you’re ready to begin stenciling. Lay your fabric or towel on a table and smooth out any wrinkles. Place the stencil on top of your fabric and secure the corners with tape, if using.

(For Fabric or Textile Paint:
No special prep required. Simply shake your bottle of paint and then squeeze out a small amount on the plate.)

(For Acrylic Paint and Textile Medium:
Mix the two according to directions on the Textile Medium. My bottle calls for 3 parts paint to 1 part Textile Medium. I used an old paint brush to blend them together.)

To begin stenciling, take a pouncer, dip it in the paint and stamp it a few times on the plate or scrap paper to remove excess. You only want enough paint to cover the pouncer but no more.


Mixing Acrylic Paint with Textile Medium for painting on Cotton Tea Towels


Holding your pouncer straight up, begin applying paint to your fabric by tapping the pouncer up and down on the stencil until the cut out space has been completely covered. Refill the paint as necessary. I suggest moving slowly until you get a feel for the process.


Stenciling on Cotton Tea Towel with Acrylic Paint and Textile Medium



Cotton Fabric Tea Towel stenciled with snow flakes for Christmas


Allow your fabric to dry overnight. Check the directions on the textile medium or fabric paint. They may require heat setting the paint with an iron before washing.


How to Stencil on Paper

The process for stenciling on paper is the same for greeting cards as it is for fabric. Load your pouncer (or stencil brush) sparingly and apply the paint to your paper. Allow to dry completely.


Hand Stenciled Christmas Greeting Card with painted Snow Flakes


It’s hard to see in the photo but I embellished my Christmas Card with glitter nail polish. You can use glitter glue, if you have it.


I love this project for the simplicity. It truly is one of those crafts that virtually anyone can do with wonderful results.

The stencil from Stencil Revolution was very high quality: Sturdy with firm edges to prevent bleeding yet flexible. It also cleaned up fairly easily (with a sponge) and can be used over and over.


Stenciling Tips and Tricks

Tape down the stencil. Taping the stencil to your fabric or paper will keep it from moving around while you are dipping the brush or pouncer in the paint and applying it. I did not tape my stencil but it did move around so next time I definitely will. Make sure to use appropriate tape for your paper so it doesn’t tear when you remove it.

Don’t us too much paint. Dip your pouncer into the acrylic paint and then tap it on some scrap paper or fabric a few times to get rid of the excess paint. You don’t want any paint to squeeze under the stencil which will make a messy print.

Hold your stippling brush or pouncer straight up. Holding your pouncer perpendicular to the fabric or paper will help to keep the paint from bleeding under the stencil.


How to Make a Stencil

If you’re having trouble finding just the right stencil for your project, you can actually make your own. Here’s a great tutorial showing you Two Methods for How to Make A Stencil.


How to Stencil with Paint on Fabric or Paper


Christmas Card Hand Stenciled with Snowflakes