Watercolor with Stencils

by Lindsay Adreon

Watercolor through stencil openings for a unique background.


  • Rubber cement
  • Stencils (The Crafter's Workshop Rose Bouquet (12x12), Ocean Window (6x6), Bird & Butterflies (6x6), and Blueprint (12x12) used here)
  • Watercolor paper (Arteza Watercolor Paper used here)
  • Watercolor brush (Arteza Water Brushes used here)
  • Watercolors (Dr. Ph Martins & Distress Inks used here)
  • Adhesive eraser (Optional)
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (Joy Clair "Hello Sentiments", Versamark Ink pad, Versafine Clair "Monarch", Embossing Powder (Clear, Black Sparkle, & Bronze), Anti Static Tool, Heat Tool, MISTI, IrResistible Black Pico Embellisher, Nuvo Drops - Copper Penny, Adhesive)


  1. Step 1

    Apply a thicker layer of rubber cement to the back of the stencil.

  2. Step 2

    Adhere the stencil to watercolor paper and allow the rubber cement to dry.

  3. Step 3

    Using an adhesive eraser or your finger, rub away dried rubber cement that might have spread from under the stencil.

  4. Step 4

    Using your watercolors and brush, watercolor the open areas of the stencil and allow to dry.

  5. Step 5

    Once the watercolor has FULLY dried, carefully remove the stencil.

  6. Step 6

    Using your finger or adhesive eraser, remove any leftover residue from the rubber cement.

    Rubber cement will remove easily from your stencils! After it has dried, just use the adhesive eraser or your finger to roll away the dried cement!

  7. Step 7

    Embellish and complete the card.

  8. Step 8

    For watercoloring negative space, position the stencil onto the panel and apply a layer of rubber cement through the open areas of stencil.

  9. Step 9

    Remove the stencil and allow rubber cement to dry.

  10. Step 10

    Watercolor over the stencil area to reveal the resisted image. Allow watercolors to dry completely.

  11. Step 11

    Using your finger or adhesive eraser, remove the rubber cement from the panel.

  12. Step 12

    Embellish and complete the card.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Watercolor with Stencils. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Great tutorial with a great outcome. I didn't hear how you clean your stencils. How do you clean them? Some of then were so delicate. Thanks for sharing your talent.
MA  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 4:14 AM
Ahhhh. I just read the answer to my question in the step by step photos. Gently rub off the rubber cement from the stencils. Sorry to bother you, I went directly to the video.
MA  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 4:17 AM
What a fun technique. I can see that I'm heading out soon to buy some rubber cement! Thank you for expanding my knowledge!
Jeanette Robertson  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 6:16 AM
I think I have rubber cement! Can't wait to try!
muscrat  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 8:20 AM
This awesome technique to stretch our stencils. Thanks Lindsay for sharing it with SCS! I hope my rubber cement is not dry yet so I can try it.
Helen Gullett  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 9:50 AM
Thanks for sharing this technique....seems very easy - I will definitely give this a try!
Susanne Gleason  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 11:47 AM
I may have thrown out my rubber cement, but if not, I want to try this--especially your second idea using it as a resist. Gorgeous work!
Greta H  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 11:56 AM
Wow!! And I mean it, WOW!! I love stencils, I struggle with watercolor but keep trying to like it, and I adore simple yet beautiful techniques. You just checked all of the boxes!! I was just in WallyWorld after work today, so it looks like I'm going back tomorrow for some rubber cement. Great tutorial.
Kim  |  Wed Feb 6, 2019 at 5:25 PM
Nice idea and very pretty! I think you're using a mask on the first card, though, rather than a stencil.
JMG  |  Thu Feb 7, 2019 at 10:02 AM
I made two more but have to finish them as cards! This was a fun technique.
muscrat  |  Sat Feb 9, 2019 at 9:50 PM

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