Thursday, September 18, 2014

Making Stencils for Monoprinting

I use paper stencils extensively when I do my monoprinting.  The stencils allow me to create representational imagery that creates focal points and brings the compositions to life.  I mostly use bird stencils and am constantly on the lookout for new imagery that I can use.  And when I make a stencil for a print, I usually cut at least 10 of the image in different sizes and papers to give me plenty of choices when printing.  I also use repetition of imagery to tie the composition together and make it more dynamic.

In the past I've cut stencils by hand, using scissors and a stanley knife.  Its hard work (though enjoyable) but I'm not very good at accuracy to get realistic details like feathers and toes on my bird stencils.

And so I've invested in a new art toy to help me with my stencils.  Its a 'Scan and Cut' machine, which does exactly that - scans in my image then cuts it out.  Absolutely brilliant!  I can create multiples in different sizes of birds, all cut with beautiful detail.

There's lots of possibilities with my new machine and it certainly makes fabulous stencils that will greatly enhance my monoprints.  I'll post some photos of the stencils in use soon!

The Scan and Cut machine in action.

One of my silhouettes of birds I used as a template.
This is what I scanned into the machine.

After the machine has cut the stencils, I lift
off the paper.  Some of the stencils remain
stuck on the low-tack surface, they
come off easily.
The resulting stencils, cut by the machine,
in different sizes and papers.
The added bonus is the negative shapes left after cutting,
I can use these too for my monoprints,
so nothing is wasted.

14 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Its not cheap but OK if you think you can get your money's worth....!

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  2. Wow Sandra - congratulations re being in possession of the 'Scan and Cut' machine - I became aware of these a few months ago and though mmmmhhh oh I would love one of those. So I really do look forward to hearing more from you in future posts concerning your use of this machine. Let us know what kinds of materials you can cut with it. best wishes Aine

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    1. In this case I've used some cheap scrapbooking paper which is really thin. I've also used cartridge. Apparently you can use the machine to cut fabrics and felt, haven't tried this yet as I'm not a textile person, but I'm going to try some thicker papers to see how it goes. I want to also use textured papers but I think the machine might have difficulty with the uneven surface, but its worth a try. Plan B is to cut the stencil then use my press and texture plates to make the texture.

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  3. That's fabulous...I MUST get one.

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    1. The machine was a big investment and had my partner Craig a bit worried, but I knew I would get my moneys worth over the long term. I've already used it to create a 'paper cut' artwork for an exhibition, felt like I was cheating but it did a great job on my designs!

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  4. many years ago (and I'm talking early 1990s!) I had an amazing set up -- I attached a roland cutter/plotter and a HP scanner (back then a scanner cost over $1000 - and only scanned B&W.... sigh) to an early model mac (waaaaaay before the imac revolution - my puppy had 16mb of brute power) and installed the early versions of Adobe software (photoshop 2.0 if you can believe it!) --- now this combo meant I could scan artwork, convert it to vector image - then output to a machine that cut it soooooooooo accurately it was staggering.....

    it was a dream combo ---- years ahead of its time (it used to knock the socks off anyone who saw it - because it was a rather unique combo of machines, computer and software) --- I'm looking at your new delicious beast and remembering the good times I had with roland (now more than 20 years ago.... sigh)


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    1. sounds like you needed a whole room for that set up, but yes way ahead of its time. Good times indeed!

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  5. Hi Sandra, I note here in Australia that the Brother machine is called the Scan & Cut, but it looks quite different to the one in your post. Could you please tell me the brand of machine that you are using. Thanks, Sue

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    1. Hi Sue, yes its a Brother ' Scan and Cut'machine. I bought it at Lincraft in Brisbane on special a few months ago. Maybe they have updated to a new model already?

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  6. Hi Sandra,
    So sorry for getting your location wrong! Perhaps the brochure that I located is of an older model and you have the updated one. Thanks for the reply.
    Sue

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    1. No worries, sometimes its hard to tell where we all live, given the internet has made our world smaller!

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