TECHNIQUES AND TIPS
Feel free to print a copy for a reference guide.
HOW TO TRANSFER A PATTERN
Begin by tracing the pattern onto a piece of tracing paper. Once the design has been traced, lay the traced pattern on top of the piece you intend to paint and tape it down with a piece of painter's tape. Slide a piece of transfer paper underneath the tracing paper and trace only the main design, using a small stylus or pencil. Be careful not to press too hard, as it will leave permanent indentations in the wood. The only way to remove these is by sanding them. Your goal is to make it clear enough to see but, light enough so the paint covers the lines. Once the base coat has been applied and is completely dry, you can begin transferring the details, as needed. For example if you have a design of a house, you would transfer the house, base coat and shade or highlight in the appropriate areas, allow to dry and then go back and transfer the windows. Be careful to follow the instructions on the transfer paper to be sure you place the correct side down. I usually do a test before beginning. You can find transfer paper,tracing paper, and a stylus at most arts and crafts stores. A good source for this is http://www.theartistclub.com/
Apply paint with the largest brush possible to fit the surface, you are painting. It is best to apply several light coats, if more than one coat is needed, as opposed to one or two heavy coats. If your project consists of wood, you may need to sand in-between coats with a fine grit sand paper, unless you are trying to achieve a rough, primitive, or rustic look. Wipe clean with a tack cloth. Allow ample drying time in-between coats before sanding and transferring your pattern.
I use a stipple or dry brush to do most of my stenciling although, a makeup sponge may also be used. Use whatever works best for you. Lay your stencil on your painting surface and tape it down with a bit of painter's tape. This will allow it to stay in place when you begin stenciling. Dip your brush into the paint, tap most of it off onto a paper towel. Begin pouncing, in an up and down motion, onto your stencil pattern. Start in the center and work your way to the edges. If you have too much paint on the brush it will cause seepage underneath your stencil. If this happens simply wipe off with a wet cloth, allow to dry and repeat steps above. You can also add shading or highlighting using the same procedures listed above.
Add just enough water until you get the consistency of ink.
SHADING AND HIGHLIGHTING
I almost always use the Traditions extender/blending medium to do my shading and highlighting. I can't say enough good things about this medium. It is the best product for floating I have ever purchased. I keep a small sealed container next to me at all times. A small baby food jar works great for this. Dip your chosen brush into the extender/blending medium and wipe some of it off onto a paper towel. Brush on the area you want to highlight or shade. It should look shiny, not wet. This will take some practice. Now lightly load your brush into the desired color and work it into the brush,now brush on top of the extender medium. Quickly grab and appropriate size mop brush and lightly tap, tap, tap the area, so that it looks like it blends together. There should be no harsh lines.
Dip your brush into the desired color, and tap some of it off onto a paper towel. Add the color to your design in a quick up and down pouncing motion.
Dip your brush into the desired color and wipe the majority of it off onto your paper towel, and pounce, scrub, or lightly brush in the color.
Scrubbing is a form of dry brushing. Dip your brush into the desired color and wipe the majority of it off onto a paper towel, and instead of pouncing, or brushing, you will scrub in a circular or back and forth motion.
To double load a brush, dip one corner into the desired color, and the other corner into the other desired color, now work the paint into the brush on your paint palette in a back and forth motion.
Spattering is a really neat technique. It is just what it says. You can create a snowy looking back round, or just a spattered appearance. They do make spattering tools,but an old toothbrush will work just as well. A bit messy but, it does work. First thin your paint down a bit, but not too much. Practice on something before spattering your piece. So, once you have your paint thinned, dip the toothbrush into it and using your forefinger, pull your finger back towards the handle of the toothbrush, and there you have it, a spattered back round.
The easiest way I have found to clean stencils is to spray them with oven cleaner. I lay a piece of plastic or something down (I spray them outside, because of the over whelming fumes from oven cleaner)spray the entire stencil and leave sit for about 20 minutes and they will easily wipe clean, even if you have several coats of paint built up on them, which I usually do.
INEXPENSIVE BRUSH CLEANER
Try Murphy's soap. I've been using it for quite some time, and I love it. The oil in the soap keeps your brushes nice and soft.
INEXPENSIVE PAINT PALETTE
Use good old wax paper, or freezer paper for a paint palette. It is inexpensive, easy to find, easily disposable, and the waxy surface makes it very easy to blend paints. Use parchment paper for tracing paper. It comes on big roll, usually found in the isle of the grocery store that has foil, wax paper, seren wrap, and those types of items.