Friday 25 August 2017

DIY - Make Your Own Stencils Using Border Dies

Hi everyone, thank you for stopping by. I hope you are having a great day.

If you are like me, you have more border dies than you know what to do with. But sometimes we want the illusion of dimension without actually having the additional layers of paper. So what to do? Typically I would cut a border using my regular cardstock and then toss it at the end because it was so saturated with ink that it would either be no good, or the ink would transfer from an old project to a new projects.

Today I will show you how to use your border dies to create your own reusable stencils. 

The materials are pretty basic, and as you can see from the picture above it doesn't take much to make your own great stencils.  I chose to use borders as that is what I stencil most often, but you can do this with any of your dies - for example I plan on creating some balloon stencils so that I can create a party background for a future post (foreshadowing? Yep.)

Start with a piece of clean stencil material. I was able to get a two pack of stencil sheets from my local art store for dirt cheap. It's a thin, plastic material about the same sturdiness as my regular 110lb cardstock. They came in 8 1/2" x 11" and I trimmed it down from there. For the larger stencils in the first picture - I cut them to 6x6" squares and then used the left overs for other dies. 

Here I am using two of the "Stitched Hillside" Border dies from Lawn Fawn. These create a great snowy background in any winter scene (or grass if you're going for something a little more summer).

I used some low tack washi tape to hold my border dies in place and then ran them through my die cutting machine. Even though they create a stitched look, it doesn't change the way the stencil works as the stitch doesn't go all the way through the stencil, and if it does the hole isn't large enough to allow ink to pass through; at least for me. It will depend on the type of materials you use.

I did find that I had to run it through my machine twice - I would have done another pass but I didn't want them to shift and ruin my new stencil. After, just remove the tape and the dies, if the cut isn't clean, trace it with your craft blade. This material is incredibly easy to cut so while I did have to use my knife for all the stencils just to get a clean cut, it didn't really feel like I was cutting anything.

To finish it off, I used a smooth surface writer (this one is by Sharpie) to write the name of die that I used to create the stencil.

As you may have noticed from the first picture, they are all Lawn Fawn. The only reason for that is I have all their border dies. I'm not even kidding. It's like a compulsion. Or Pokemon - I just gotta get them all.

For the Ocean Waves and Puffy Clouds, I simply rotated the stencil 90 degrees and used the next size die. 

A couple things to keep in mind:
  • You are cutting a plastic material - watch out for sharp corners
  • If you need to finish off the cut with a craft knife - be careful and take your time, you don't want to slip and cut into your stencil
  • This plastic is not a porous material - like any other stencil the ink will sit on it, it will get on your fingers, it will rub off onto your project - just wipe it clean with a baby wipe
  • Store your stencils flat - these and any other that you may have - I keep mine inside a page protectors with a sheet of black cardstock so I can see it clearly, in a three ring binder
  • Have fun with it! Now that all your dies can also become stencils the possibilities are endless!
I hope today's DIY has been helpful. If you haven't already, please follow me over on the right side bar so you don't miss any future projects or tips, if you are viewing this via mobile device, scroll to the bottom and click "View web version" first. You can also follow me over on Facebook. If you have any questions about this DIY or a suggestion for a future post, please comment in the section below, I would love to hear from you!


  1. Thank you! I've been doing this with cardstock and throwing them out each time. I may do this with my clear mylar stuff as an experiment.


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