How To Use Stenciling In Machine Embroidery

Stenciling can add a whole new element to your embroidery. To learn tips, tricks and techniques for stenciling, check out part 1. To learn the steps of combining stenciling and embroidery, read on!

baskets 1024x820 How To Use Stenciling In Machine Embroidery

Ink and Paint Stippling

Stencil diminutive baskets onto fabric, then fill them with embroidered blooms as shown above.

  • Choose a metal, plastic or paper stencil. Select colored ink or paint suitable for the project fabric.
  • Stabilize the fabric by ironing freezer paper or iron-on stabilizer to the wrong side, behind the area to be decorated.
  • Position the stencil on the fabric right side. Hold it in place with painter’s tape or masking tape, ensuring that the tape doesn’t block any areas of the stencil.
  • Pour a small amount of paint onto a palette, scrap of freezer paper or paper plate. Tap the stencil brush onto the pain to apply color to the ends only. To work with ink, simply tap the brush onto the inkpad surface.
  • Tap the brush onto scrap paper or fabric until the excess color is removed. The bristle ends should be clearly visible, not covered with a smooth layer of paint.
  • Tap the brush up and down over the stencil cutouts. Refill the bristles with color as necessary. Repeat until the stencil is covered with color, allowing variations in the degree of fill to create shading within the design.
  • Remove the stencil by lifting it straight up from the fabric. The stippled color should penetrate the fabric surface; therefore, smearing is unlikely, but exercise caution to be sure.
  • Stippled ink and acrylic paints dry very quickly and may feel dry to the touch immediately, but lay the work aside in a protected area to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Heat set as instructed.

Embroidered Flowers

To arrange embroidered flowers to fit within the stenciled basket, choose one of these two methods:

  • Print full-size templates of the flower embroidery motifs, marking the center and top edge of each. Stabilize and hoop the stenciled fabric with the basket centered. Arrange the flower templates as desired and mark each location. Remove the templates. Embroider the flowers individually, using the machine’s commands to locate the center of each blossom as marked.
  • Scan the stenciled basket to create a computer images. Open the image in embroidery customizing software as a template. Check to be sure the template is the same size as the stenciled motif. Arrange the embroidered flowers around the basket within the software. Save the arrangement with a new file name. Print a full-size template of the complete arrangement and use it to position the flowers around the hooped and stabilized basket fabric.

Multicolored Stippling

While some complex motifs may require several stencils, one for each color, most multicolored designs can be created from a single stencil.

house and tree 1024x567 How To Use Stenciling In Machine Embroidery

The tree was stippled with two colors of fabric ink from stamp pads. A slightly larger brush allowed the brown ink to invade some of the green leaves for a blended appearance in keeping with the stencil and embroidery styles.

  • Choose a stencil brush size that corresponds with the stencil openings. A tiny brush will allow more control when stenciling adjacent areas in different colors; a large brush makes quick work of extensive design areas.
  • Apply on color of ink or paint at a time. Work from light to dark colors. Shades applied later in the process will cover accidental overruns of lighter tints. Some blending of colors can be an attractive addition to the finished design by enhancing the handmade appeal of the look.
  • If the stencil is large, use painter’s tape or masking tape to cover areas of the stencil that won’t be filled with the current color. Remove the tape without moving the stencil on the fabric when the color is complete. Mask a different portion of the stencil before applying the next color.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about stenciling and how it can be combined with embroidery. With these two techniques together, the sky’s the limit.

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