How to Make Stencils From a Rubbing
There are so many beautiful intricate carvings on old furniture and decor. What if you could capture that in a rubbing and turn it into your very own stencil for other projects? Keep reading, I’m going to tell you how I make my own stencils from a rubbing in 3 easy steps.
Antique and Vintage Furniture and Decor Have Ornate Carvings Waiting to be Captured
The more ornate the furniture and carvings the more I love it. Recently I was building a Shower Cornice and decided to do a rubbing of the Eastlake carvings on my vintage washstand and mirror frame to create my own stencil pattern.
I’m not a stranger to creating a custom stencil though. I created How to Train Your Dragon stencils when I did a dresser makeover for my oldest son.
In a way, using the carvings of old furniture and decor could be used in the same way you use rubbing plates. By simply using the texture of the carving it creates the texture on paper for you. I’m just using it in a different manner to create a different kind of art by creating a stencil design.
Watch this on Youtube:
The Step by Step Instructions for Creating Stencils from a Rubbing of Eastlake Carvings
I love to paint designs and I’ve used all kinds of ways to get the look I want. But creating a custom stencil is an easy way to get straight lines right from the get-go.
It’s also a fun way to incorporate that old-world charm of yesterday when you use rubbings of carvings. Let’s get to the step-by-step instructions so you can start creating your own custom rubbings and stencils.
Tools & Supplies to Create Your Own Stencils from a Rubbing
These are the exact tools and supplies I use to make my custom stencils.
- Printer Paper or Cardstock 80 lb
- Pencil or Fine Tip Marker
- X-Acto Knife
- Paint Brush
- Acrylic Paint or Paint Pen
- Laminator and Laminator Pouches
- Clip Board
Additional Optional Supplies for Custom Stencil Projects
These items are helpful if you’re applying your stencil and creating a wooden project. These custom stencils from a rubbing can be used on practically any surface, however. So, choose additional protective products for whatever material you’re using.
Step One – Finding Your Design to Print Out or Draw
Typically I use Google search to find a design I want to print out. This is the strategy I used when creating the How to Train Your Dragon Dresser for my son. However, today we’re talking about strategy #2 which is creating stencils from a rubbing.
I have an Antique Eastlake washstand that will become the bathroom vanity in my guest bathroom. And as I’m working on this bathroom makeover the idea struck me to use the carvings on my Eastlake washstand and create a stencil.
I used this technique to mimic the carvings of the Eastlake-style furniture in designing my Shower Cornice.
A Whole New World of Possibilities for Vintage and Antique Inspired Stencils
Now I’m looking at every piece of ornate furniture as another possibility for creating a rubbing and turning that into a stencil I can use in art!
Not all carvings are optimal for creating a rubbing or a stencil simply because they aren’t easy to imprint on paper with a pencil. Curved or rounded and protruding designs don’t work as well as engraved carvings where wood is taken out vs added on.
But now I will forever look at furniture as a way to create my own unique kingdom of stencils!
Step Two – How to Create Rubbings from Antique Furniture Carvings or Engravings
For this step, you’ll need a Pencil and a Piece of Paper. Thin printer paper is best for creating an accurate rubbing.
- Take a pencil and a piece of paper.
- Hold it up against the carving you wish to copy.
- Move your pencil back and forth applying slight pressure at an angle. But not so much as to puncture the paper.
- You will quickly start to see darker outlines of the carving show through the rest.
- Allow those outlines to guide you to capture the whole carving into one complete rubbing of the design.
- Cut the main part of the rubbing out from the rest of the paper. Keep the margin about 1″ around the design.
Step Three – How to Create Stencils from a Rubbing
For this step, you’ll need a Laminator, Laminating Pouches, X-Acto Knife, Clip Board, and your Rubbing.
- Take your cut-out rubbing and put it into a laminating pouch.
- Run it through your laminator.
- Allow it to cool for 3-5 minutes, or whenever it’s cool to the touch.
- Take a moment to examine the rubbing and choose which parts should be cut out and which should be left intact for the integrity of the stencil.
- Use your X-Acto knife to cut out the design so you’re left with a design to your liking.
Step Four – How to Use a Custom Stencil to Paint a Design
For this step, you’ll need your Stencil, a Pencil, an Eraser, a Fine-Tip Marker, Paint Brushes of varying sizes, Acrylic Paint, Paper Towels, and a Cup of Water to clean your brush between colors.
- Lay out your stencil or stencils and decide where you want to place them.
- When you have an idea about their placement you can use a bit of scotch tape to hold your stencil in place or hold it with your hand.
- Using a pencil, lightly trace the outline of your stencil.
- Then go back over that with a Fine-Tip Marker.** This step is optional but is helpful if the pencil is hard to see on a particular surface. I do it after the pencil because the first layer is easy to mess up. And pencil markings are easy to erase.
- Remove your stencil.
- Start slowly painting in your stencil design. Move the position of the piece to make it easier to paint harder detail areas.
- When the design has been painted let it dry completely.
- Coat your project with a protective top coat like Polycrylic. Or use 1-2 layers of furniture wax.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope I have given you some inspiration, ideas for creativity, and maybe a push to create your very own stencils from a rubbing. It really does add so much character and charm to projects when you customize them to suit your style and taste.
Don’t forget to come back for more great projects like these DIY Projects.
Meet the Author
Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→