WHAT gives one more satisfaction than individual decoration in the home ? It is this eagerness for something different, for something one's "very own," that brings complete satisfaction. The pleasure is naturally greatest when these results are obtained by one's own efforts. Little touches here and there count for so much in making a home a real home. The monotony of stock designs is thus eliminated. One does not relish the idea of stereotyped decorations within the home any more than similarity of color schemes for the exterior. How depressing are the long rows of houses owned by many corporations and rented to their employees! It is still more disturbing to note this tendency creeping up into more pretentious houses, where whole streets are made up of buildings exactly similar in ground plan and having only slight changes on their front elevations.

And so many of the present-day handcrafts have helped raise the standard of home decoration. The art of stenciling can claim a share in this advancement. The desire for "individuality" in the home is the direct cause of the present popularity of this form of decoration, and the ease with which most satisfactory results can be obtained presage its continued use. Stenciling is, indeed, a most pleasant occupation. It is the means of making such a variety of useful articles. Curtains and portieres with attractive stenciled borders matching the wall dec-orations, table throws, pillow covers, bags, and other Christmas gifts all come within its range. A simple description of this interesting pastime might not be amiss. The various illustrations in this chapter represent some of the possibilities in stenciling. Whether for a curtain, portiere, or pillow cover, the operation is practically the same. The fabric is first stretched very smooth over white blotting paper or pieces of newspaper, and fastened firmly to a drawing-board or table-top with thumb tacks or large pins. After selecting an appropriate design it is necessary to make careful measurements, in order that the repeat of the stencil will meet properly at the corners or fit the piece to good advantage. A soft pencil line or basting thread will serve as a guide line on border patterns. Sherwin-Williams Stencil Colors are of the exact consistency for stenciling, and only require the addition of one-tenth part stencil medium in order that the completed work may be "fast" and withstand soap-and-water washing. Stencil white can be added in reducing any of the colors or combination of colors.

A Similar Stencil Can Be Used Effectively on the Wall.

Plate CVIII. A Similar Stencil Can Be Used Effectively on the Wall.

Even Silk Can Be Stenciled.

Plate CIX. Even Silk Can Be Stenciled.

A Pillow Cover with Simple Stencil Design.

Plate CX. A Pillow Cover with Simple Stencil Design.

An Attractive Stencil Border.

Plate CXI. An Attractive Stencil Border.

Dip the stencil brush into the colors, which have first been thoroughly mixed with the medium by means of a spatula or small knife, get the brush thoroughly filled and scrape off all superfluous color, then proceed to stencil. Better results are obtained by tapping or pouncing than by brushing on the color, and it is usually best to try out the color on a waste piece of the fabric in order to obtain the proper color before proceeding with the actual work. Turpentine or benzine should be used for cleaning both stencil and brushes.

This operation is practically the same for wall decoration, which can be accomplished with equal ease. The same designs can be used with good effect on walls, curtains, and portieres, thus connecting the entire scheme.

The colored illustration at the head of this chapter will show to the reader the effect of a stenciled wall. This rose stencil is extremely attractive in combination with the green wall and white enamel woodwork. A white enamel iron bedstead can be used effectually here, although the special furniture shown lends individuality to the room. A light shade of silver gray was used on this floor, and such a stain has a tendency to subdue the yellow tones of the natural finished floor. Complete specifications for this room may be found in Chapter XX (Specifications For The Illustrations). Several other color plates in this book illustrate stencil effects on walls and fabrics. The other illustrations shown in this chapter represent some of the many beautiful articles which can be decorated by means of stencils. Curtains are particularly attractive, and when treated with the proper colors can be placed in one's regular wash without the slightest injury.

A Wisteria Stencil Used on Both Frieze and Curtain.

Plate CXII. A Wisteria Stencil Used on Both Frieze and Curtain.