DIY Super easy stencils

My little girl just turned 4! I Can’t believe it.

I take birthday presents seriously. When choosing them I try to find things to encourage them on their current interests, I try to stay away from dolls and girly stuff because I know that most likely someone else will give them those presents, and honestly… don’t really like them.

Now Maite is going through a very creative and artsy face so part of her gift was art and crafts supplies: 12 big bottles of colour washable paints (600ml each), sponge paintbrushes, beads for making bracelets, some sewing sets, stickers and some other things for her explorer kit (I will tell you all about the explorer kit on a future post).

After 2 birthday party celebrations we kind of needed a day in to relax, perfect excuse for painting activities. I really wanted to try the sponge brushes, yes, probably the gifts were also for myself -guilty-. These brushes are perfect for stencils but we didn’t have any at home so I made some super easy ones.

What you’ll need

  • some plastic lids (yogurt, cheese spread, ricotta)
  • shape punchers
  • scissors

Making the stencils

This is the easiest and less messy part of all.

First, cut out the edges of the lid, and try to get big rectangles in the flat surface (1). I tried to cut round corners to avoid accidents, and then just punch through with the chosen puncher (2). By punching on one end of the rectangle, there is a small area left to help the kids hold down the stencil while painting.

An alternative to plastic lids can be using cardboard but I chose the lids since the stencils can be easily washed and they will last much longer. The yogurt lids were very thick so I could only use the heart and the circle puncher, but I am looking for a slimmer lid to make a more detailed stencil with our snow flake puncher.

Using the stencils

What you’ll need:

  • paint
  • mixing tray
  • sponge brushes or small sponges
  • water jar
  • paper
  • towel or cloth

It’s easier to use stencils with a little bit of paint but I find terribly hard to get the girls to use only a little bit of paint a time. So in anticipation of this activity, I let the paint dry out in the mixing tray… (Who am I kidding!? I completely forgot to clean it up last time we used it #badmumconfessions). But it was actually a good thing, by adding a few drops of water at a time we got a heavier watercolour sort of paint, perfect for this activity.

Basically, hold down the stencil, and gently tap the brush or sponge down covering all the area.

Some tips for painting with kids

1- I always start by protecting the working area.  plastic table cloth is essential.

2- Protect clothes or get dressed for messy paint. A waterproof apron can be an option, at home we usually wear old clothes that we don’t mind getting stained (I don’t really worry much, the pain we use is very washable)

2- When possible, provide each child with a whole set of materials: you will avoid fights and excessive mess.

3- Giving each child a small towel as part of the materials avoids lots of mess (yes, I don’t like messy tables). Seriously, it helps them keep their hands clean if the want to, and also its super useful for painting, they can remove the excess of water from the brush by simply tapping the brush on the towel.

4- I find very helpful to show them the activity before they start, at the same time I try to set the rules to follow. For example today it was very important to remove the excess of water, so I emphasised on that.

5- Water jar: There are many non drip water jars that you can find in stores. Honestly, never found them useful. Tried different types of jars and what works best for us is a wide, short, heavy based, glass jar. Yes, glass. I’m always around when they paint, mostly because I’m afraid to find a hipster mural on my wall if I walk away. (BTW, the jar comes with a spicy taco sauce! Yummy!!).

Can you think of any other ways to make stencils? Please let me know, I would love to try them out.




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