The Choice and Preparation of a Design - The Flowers that will Produce Effective Reproductions - Cutting the Stencil - Painting the Design - Brushes and Mediums Required - Articles to which

Stencilling can be Applied

Painters and decorators commonly use metal stencil-plates - stencil comes from tinsel, a name once applied to thin sheets of metal - for marking numbers on gates, the letters of names, and many varieties of such simple untutored ornaments as are commonly applied in the lower class of domestic dwelling.

These facts have caused some people to look almost contemptuously on stencilling.

But the woman who makes her own design, cuts her own stencil-plate, and applies it with judgment to curtains, cushions, table-centres, and clothes, may make of stencilling a genuine art.

First prepare your design. This may be conventional or floral. If floral, it is well to know that some flowers are much more useful for stencil reproductions than others. The object is to get simple, decisive outlines, with effective notes of colour supplied by the flowers or berries introduced into it. The design must also be one that may be cut out without too much labour or time. A characteristic of a stencil design also is that all the lines of the plate must be connected so that it is a complete whole, and that there are no loose pieces. The result of the lines of the plate being all united is that the stencilled design consists of detached or interrupted lines. A little study of the design that illustrates this article will make this comprehensible.

Berries with decorative leaves, such as holly and bryony make good designs, and the contrasting colours red and green are always popular. Mistletoe, with its quaint, slim leaves and pallid berries, is good for a running border, or a palely tinted frieze, high up above a plain dark green wallpaper. The vine with its grapes is, of course, magnificent for stencilling, as for everything decorative, but should be done on a fairly large scale, as, if too small, it is difficult to cut out. not utilised

Fig. !. The stencil design shown as a border to a casement curtain

Fig. !. The stencil design shown as a border to a casement curtain. In this the corner is

Fig. 2. The apple design used on a square cushion cover

Fig. 2. The apple design used on a square cushion cover. The corners are used in this

Having planned your design, draw it carefully with a firm outline on fairly strong paper, such as cartridge or brown paper, and then lay it on a sheet of either cardboard or glass, and prepare to cut. it out. It is easier to cut on glass, but glass is apt to spoil the edge of your knife. Cut with an ordinary penknife, but see that it is sharp and that its point is good. Your hand must be steady, so that you keep to your line, and cut neither too much nor too little. Procure from your oilman some notting; a pennyworth does a good deal - it is a preparation of glue and varnish, and is used to stiffen the plate. Coat the design well with it, hang it up to dry, and it is ready to use next day.

The design printed on the card presented with this part is ready, after it is coated with notting, for cutting out, and may be used to produce any of the decorations shown in the three illustrations. This card is strong, and will serve for some time. Metal plates are, of course, stronger; but you cannot cut them out yourself, and so they are more expensive.

To Paint the Design

Purchase from an artist's colour-man proper stencil brushes. They are quite cheap, short, stubby brushes made of hog's hair, and it is best to have a separate brush for each colour. Oil paint is used, and the cheap twopenny tubes are good enough. The paint should not be put on too thickly ii you want the surface to be smooth. Little or no medium or oil should be used. The design is not painted in the ordinary manner. The paint is dabbed on, and the stenciller makes a continuous tapping noise as she dabs on the colour.

Stencilling is really most used for curtains. The popular short casement curtains are admirable when stencilled. You may have a simple border about four inches deep, or a spraying design could go about twelve inches up the curtain. The colours, of course, must harmonise with the decorations of the room.

Cushion-covers are also excellent for stencilling. In London, where everything in winter gets hopelessly grimy, many housekeepers like to have washable covers in which to encase their dainty brocade cushions, and stencilled covers are more uncommon than embroidered ones. Young girls' dresses and overalls also look very artistic when stencilled, and one good design can be applied to different things in varying colours.

Will Stencilled Work Wash?

The design that illustrates this article can be used for various things. In Fig. I we see it used as a running border on a casement curtain. In Fig. 2 the corner is utilised, and it forms a square on a pale green sateen cushion-cover. Fig. 3 shows the yoke of a holland overall in process of manufacture. It is stencilled in green. The colours used on Figs. I and 2 are those natural to the design - the pale green, red, and yellow of the apples, the green of the leaves, the brown of the stems.

Thrifty housewives will say stencilled work does not wash. But it does - not for ever, perhaps, but for seven or eight times. Wash the articles rapidly in . boiled soapsuds, dry quickly, iron on the wrong side, and they will look as good as new. When the colours begin at last to give way, it is an easy matter to get out your brushes and colours and touch them up again.

Fig. 3. The stencilled design arranged on a yoke for an overall or washing gown

Fig. 3. The stencilled design arranged on a yoke for an overall or washing gown