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Thursday, November 9, 2023

Stencils And Ink Sprays

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We do not often think about using ink sprays. I suspect because they tend to be the messier side of paper crafting. But on the flip side, they can be a lot of fun and very rewarding. We are using spray inks with paper today, 

This is a very basic technique that has a lot of applications. You could use this technique in art journals. scrapbook base pages, greeting cards, junk journals and so much more. 

While we all love ink sprays, there are times when we also hate these products too. Clogging is the biggest problem with any of these products. Clean the nozzle after each use. Use water and a paper towel to keep the nozzle clear for a consistent spray.
 Sometime when you press down the spray top, they don’t pop back up again. If this happens, just pull on the top to help it come back up. It’s a little annoying, but it means that you can still use the spray ink inside the bottle. If push comes to shove just move the ink to a clean bottle. I keep several empties on hand just for that purpose. 

Let's Talk About Ink Sprays

There are a few different options when it comes to ink sprays. You want to be sure to select the spary that fits your needs. 

Adirondack Color Wash Spray

A translucent spray with a darker range of colors.

Altenew Ink Sprays

Metallic Shimmer Spray-These sprays are acid free and archival. They come in 2 oz bottles. 
Metallic Ink Sprays

Distress Oxide Spray

This product is a pigmented ink fusion that creates oxidized effects. It is the fluid version of the distress oxide ink pads.
These need to be shaken before they are used. If you forget, you will get an entirely different effect than expected. It is recommended that you shake them side to side. There is a ball inside the bottle that will mix the contents. The manufacturer also recommends that you store them upright. That way mixing will be less of a problem. It starts out shiny but has a chalk like finish when dry.

Since this is an opaque spray, it is perfect for art journaling.

 Comes in a 2-ounce spray bottle.
71 colors are available. Free color chart.

  • Make sure to clean the nozzle every time that you have finished using them so that the nozzle does not get clogged.

Distress Spray Stains

These sprays are basics for most spray ink techniques. They are water-based dye inks for paper and porous surfaces. They are the fluid version of the distress inks. The colors match the distress ink pad line. The bottles contain 1.9 fluid ounces of liquid ink in a fine mist sprayer. You can mist with water to lighten the color. 
The metallic spray stains are thicker than other sprays. They are completely opaque.
75 colors make this collection the largest collection of all of the ink sprays Use the spray 8-10 inches away from your project with a sweeping motion. There is a picket fence stain that gives a milky effect to your projects that I do recommend having. 

Dylusions Shimmer Spray

Colorful pearlescent shimmer makes these sprays stand out as a defined statement. Use as a finishing spray or layer over inks and paints to create luminous effects and backgrounds. There are currently 32 colors. Get a free color chart.

Dylusions Spray Ink

These are highly concentrated colors. They are non-toxic and acid free. Is water reactive.
 The bottles contain 2 fluid ounces of spray ink. This ink tends to glost and lighten.
There are currently 36 colors available. Get a free color chart.

Inkadinkado Spray Mist

Dries very fast! These are alcohol based but are considered non-toxic. Is pigmented and shimmery. May sometimes dry a different color than the dye. Each bottle contains 2 ounces of spray mist.

Mica Spray

There are 12 different sprays available. There are three mica sprays for the Distress line, Diana Wakely Media line, Dylusions line and the Wendy Vecchi line. Free color chart.

Perfect Pearl Mists

These are liquid bound mica powders. They are considered transparent and permanent. Each bottle is 2 ounces with a fine mist spray. The thing to know about these sprays is that the perfect pearls in these bottles will settle at the bottom. So, they need to be shaken well before use. Flip the bottle over and shake them. That way you can see that all of the perfect pearls are distributed evenly.

For this product, the darker the surface, the better the result.

The product tends to be a low shimmer. One of the places that they are good for is when you make rolled paper flowers. After you cut the flowers on your electronic cutting machine, spray them with the perfect pearls shimmer spray. That softens the paper, and you can get a better rolled paper flower.

DIY Perfect Pearls Shimmer Spray

Tattered Angel Chalkboard Mist

Chalky semi opaque mist-highly pigmented. About 12 colors currently. Must be shaken side to side so that the glimmer is spread throughout the fluid. You can blot this product with a paper towel to get it to dry faster.

Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist

Translucent with lots of shimmer. This is a non-toxic pigmented spray that gives you a slight hint of glimmer.

Before you use this product, you will swirl the bottle, rather than shaking it. That helps to avoid air bubbles. Lack of air bubbles gives you better results.

  • You also want to not overuse this spray with stencils, 2-3 sprays should be more than enough. Any more than that will cause you to lose the stencil pattern.
  • Dry it before you move it. It is a liquid so if you move it before it is dry, the liquid my run and you will lose your stencil pattern.

Get Crazy With Color

Who says you have to limit yourself to one color or even one-color family? As we always say, "your art, your way" So experiment with color. Use 2-3 different color sprays on one piece of paper! Find the combinations that float your boat and use them to your best advantage.

While you are at it, mix different kinds of sprays to see what works for you! 

The closer to the stencil you spray, the juicier the image.
Too much ink? Just roll a roll of paper towel over the image to blot up any excess ink.
Sprayers may get clogged. Soak them in warm water and then spray them till the clog goes away.
If you are developing your ink spray sets, divide them into three groups warm, cool and others. Makes it easier to work with colors. Black, white and grey are considered non-colors-They go with everything.
Remember, if you use two colors or more, where they meet, a third color will be created. Take time to experiment with your sprays so you know how they work together.
When you’re all finished using the spray ink for the day, turn it upside down and give it a couple of pumps until nothing comes out.   I like to use every drop of color, so the cleaning created the start of a future art journal page.

Tools And Supplies To Use Ink Spays With Stencils

The first thing you will want to consider is protecting your workspace. The ideal situation would be to use your ink sprays outdoors where the spray could cause little damage on a non-windy day. But even then, I would use a spray box. You can make your own custom spray box with a shipping carton is less than 30 minutes.

Other tools and supplies that you will need include:


You can use any stencils that you would like. If you are using a stencil that has sharp lines, you may want to use a temporary spray adhesive like Pixie Spray. 

Cardstock and/or vellum

You can opt to use white, colored or even metallic cardstock to create your stenciled images. Remember, this is a wet technique, so you will want to use at least 80-90lb cardstock. Try using some watercolor paper or textured paper for a different look.

Vellum will not absorb the spray so it will take longer for the vellum to dry. But you can get some amazing effects with it! When spraying vellum, make sure to place a piece of cardstock behind the vellum. Attach the papers together with some mint or washi tape. that way you will not get curling of the vellum.

Using the heat tool. especially with the vellum, will decrease the amount of time your papers need to dry.


Most ink sprays will stain your hands and everything else they come in contact with. If you want to keep your manicure fresh, it is well worth it to wear gloves.

Heat Tool

It is super important to use your heat tool for these techniques as your manufacturer recommends. 
  • If you get too close or your tool is too hot, you take a chance of getting a scorch mark on you paper. 
  • If you have two settings, try the lower setting first.
  • Remember to always let your heat gun warm up before you apply it to the paper.
  • Make sure that you set your heat tool on safe surface, I keep a large tile to lay mine on.
  • Always allow your heat tool to cool off completely before putting it away,
  • Finally, remember to unplug your heat tool when not in use.

Paper Towels

This is a fun, but messy technique. So, you want to keep some paper towels handy to blot ink and clean up any little messes you may make. You can also blot some of the ink off your project if you overspray.

Easy Steps To Use Spray Inks With Stencils

  1. Set up your spray station. Place some parchment paper, waxed paper or scrap cardboard st the bottom of the box. 
  2. Place the cardstock in the bottom of the spray station.
  3. Place the stencil over the cardstock.
  4. Spritz the spray over the stencil. The more you spray, the darker and richer the color will be,
  5. Carefully remove the stencil and set it aside.
  6. Carefully remove the cardstock.
  7. Place a new piece of cardstock on the bottom of the station.
  8. Flip the stencil over to use what is remaining of the spray. Go over the image with a paper towel roll to press the ink onto the paper.
  9. Then add a little more spray to complete the second stenciled image.
  10. You can keep flipping the stencil till you have all of the images you need.
  11. Set the stenciled images aside to air dry or use the heat tool to dry your projects.


Along with the liner to your spray box, you can include some paper toweling to absorb some of the wet media.
Don your gloves before you get started. Some ink sprays are difficult to get off the skin. The gloves can be used several times before you dispose of them.
Be careful using too much spray with your stencils. The more spray you add, the more likely some of the spray will steep under the stencil.
The farther away you hold the spray, the more of a mist like effect you will get.
If you are using an oxide ink spray, make sure to shake the bottle well for the best results.
A brayer can be used to press the ink onto the paper. Just make sure to clean the brayer in between colors unless you like a messy look.
Layer some acrylic paint on your project before doing the ink spray and stencil technique.

Oxide Ink Resist Technique

You can use one or more oxide inks to create a resist technique. This is a great tag or art journal technique that will turn out perfect every time.


  • Oxide ink sprays in your favorite colors
  • Stencil of your choice
  • Paper towels
  • Clean spray bottle with water
  • Heat gun
  • Craft mat, silicone mat or parchment paper
  1. Lay the craft mat or parchment paper on your work surface. And then lay the paper that you are using on top.
  2. Spray the oxide ink of your choice on the paper.
  3. Use the heat gun to completely dry the ink. The ink must be dry for this technique to work. You could allow it to air dry too.
  4. Once the paper is completely dry, place the stencil over the paper. Make sure it is tight in the paper. Use any type of low tack secure the stencil to the paper.
  5. Spray the paper with the water spray.
  6. Let the water react with the ink for a minute or two.
  7. Blot the project with a paper towel.
  8. Let the paper dry.
  • Reactivate any ink that is one your mat with the water spray, smoosh some paper or a tag over the leftover ink to use it up.
  • Glass mats work well for this wet type of technique.

Wet Wipe Oxide Spray Technique


  • Oxide inks
  • Paper
  • Wet wipe or baby wipes
  • Stencils
  • Low Tack tape ot washi tape. 
  1. Apply one or to oxide inks to your paper.
  2. Use a heat gun to dry the paper or let it air dry. The paper must be dry for this technique to work right.
  3. Once the paper is dry, lay the stencil on top of the paper.
  4. Secure the stencil to the paper with the low tack tape.
  5. Wipe the paper with the wet or baby wipe to remove the excess ink.

Adding Gesso To Your Stencil Before Spraying

Another option is to add gesso to your stencil before you spray it. The gesso adds texture and dimension to the paper. If you are not familiar with gesso, it comes in thin, medium and heavy textures. For this technique, I would use either the medium or heavy texture. Experiment and see which texture you prefer.


  • Cardstock-90-110lb in white or solid colors
  • Gesso-medium to heavy texture
  • Stencils
  • Spatula
  • washi tape
  • Paper trimmer 
  • Heat tool
  • Silicone mat or parchment paper
  1. Cover your work surface with the silicone or parchment paper.
  2. Cut your paper to the size that you need with the paper trimmer. 
  3. Lay your paper on your work surface.
  4. Lay the stencil over the paper. Use a piece of washi tape or any other low tack tape to create a hinge on the top of your paper. 
  5. Apply a thin coat of gesso over the stencil.
  6. Carefully remove the stencil from the paper
  7. Let it air dry or use a heat tool to dry the paper. If you use a heat tool, be very careful not to get too close to the gesso. If you have a low setting on your heat tool, use that. You want to avoid bubbling the gesso.
  8. Wash the gesso off the stencil and the spatula right away so that it does not dry. Use warm water.
  9. Once the paper is dry, spray a fine mist over the project. Add more spray if desired.
  10. Dry the paper with the heat tool.

The Difference Between Using Gesso With Ink Sprays Or Not

What Can You Do With The Finished Stenciled Images?


1.Die Cuts

One thing that you can do is to create panels and ovals to layer onto greeting cards. Start with a card base that is made from 110lb cardstock in the size desired. Die cut the panel, oval or circle. Mount it to your card base either with double sided tape or foam tape. Add a sentiment and any embellishments. You will have a truly custom greeting card. 

2. Tags

Spray inks are the perfect media to use on tags. Tags are used in lots of mixed media projects. Lots of paper crafters create tags ahead of time to add to their journals, planners, art journals, Bible journals and a lot more. Any technique that you can do on card stock, of course you can use on tags. 

Use the ink sprays for the base of your tag. Then add embellishments and words to create a custom design.  You can do themed tags fir different seasons, themes and occasions. Because you can create gift tags for birthdays, holidays and special occasions with these techniques. 

Start with a tag base. You can cut a tag on you electronic cutting machine. You can also use a die to cut tags in different sizes. You can also hand cut them using a ruler and a cutting craft knife. Make sure to add a hole in the top of your tag. That way you can add ribbon, twine embroidery floss or anything else you would like to add to your tag. Tags are the perfect way to use up those bits of ribbon.

Just like other paper crafts, you will want to cover your work area with either a craft mat, silicon mat or some parchment paper. Remember that ink sprays will go anywhere and everywhere. Do spray in a cardboard box or outdoors. 

Making tags with ink sprays is a lot of fun.

Journal Backgrounds

Journal Background Tips

  • If your page gets too dark, you can always add some Dylusions White Linen Ink Spray to lighten it up.
  • Always allow one layer to dry before you add another layer.
  • Use stencils to add more dimension to your pages.

We hope this information, ideas and tips have helped you think about giving these techniques a try. As always, we welcome your comments, ideas and thoughts. Please leave a comment below. 

Happy Crafting!



Supplies To Make Stencils With Ink Sprays