Today at Cutting Edge Stencils, we decided to decorate our vegetable garden with some stenciled chickens. Vegetable gardens need some decor, too! The garden has a nice arched entrance, so we thought that we would put two antique milk cans on each side and stencil them with my favorite black and white Dominique chickens. We hunted down two nice milk cans on eBay, which was lots of fun. There were actually tons of them to choose from, in every color imaginable. Can you believe they were delivering milk in these a half-century ago? We finally settled on two beautiful orange and blue milk cans and waited for a nice day to start our stenciling project.
The Dominique chicken stencil is a two-overlay stencil, meaning it has two separate plates (or layers) that need to be stenciled one after another. The reason it’s necessary to have two plates is because there are multiple overlapping colors in this chicken stencil design. The technique is simple and fun, and this quick how-to stencil tutorial will show you how to do it. This stencil is just perfect for any country decor!
For this project we need two milk cans, Dominique chicken stencil (size small), few craft acrylic paints (white, black, red, yellow and raw umber for shading), stencil brushes, a foam plate, some blue painters tape and a paper towel.
We began by securing our milk can in a chair so it didn’t roll around while we stenciled. Then we wiped the surface clean and placed our first overlay, securing it with a few pieces of blue painters tape. You can certainly use a spray adhesive to make sure that there is no paint bleed under the stencil, but we personally don’t like using it, so blue painters tape works better for us.
All right, let’s stencil! We squeezed a dollop of white acrylic paint onto a foam plate. You know, you need very little paint for stenciling! We’ll end up using less than a tablespoon of paint for the entire project. After dipping the brush in paint, we made sure to swirl it around few times on a plate to work the paint into the bristles. Then – and it is the MOST important step in stenciling – we blotted off the excess paint onto a paper towel. Skip this step, and you’ll get some paint bleed under your chicken stencil.
Next, we applied the paint by simply pouncing and swirling the brush over the stencil until it was all covered.
For the feet, we took a smaller brush and used some yellow paint. Yes, you’ll need a separate brush for each color; that’s why it’s handy to have our 4-piece stencil brush kit!
Then, with a little raw umber, we did some subtle shading around the edges of the chicken to give it some dimension. It’s very important to have an almost dry brush for this step! Make sure you wipe the brush really well on your paper towel before shading. And – voila! The first layer is done! It took about 5 minutes and looks great already.
Now we’re going to place the second overlay right over our first print. It’s completely dry at this point, remember we used very little paint? If you are afraid that your first overlay hasn’t dried, give it a minute or two before placing the second overlay over it. We are going to align the second chicken stencil plate using the chicken’s feet as our registration! The feet are cut onto both overlays so it’s easy to align the stencil using them as a guide.
Secure the second overlay and begin stenciling, this time with red for the crest and beard, black for the body, and yellow for the beak.
When stenciling the body, we try to make the edges somewhat darker than the middle, and then accentuate the wing feathers by making them darker. These are finer details; they add to the look, but are not crucially important. If you didn’t shade at all, your chicken will still look great! For the beak, we used a smart trick: a shield. The bridges separating the beak are very narrow, and it would be hard to stencil it without messing up the nearby areas. You can make a simple small shield out of a piece of a paper towel (you can always use a piece of tape) to protect the rest of the chicken’s face while stenciling the yellow beak. Easy trick, and it makes it so much neater!
Finally, the big reveal! Look at that stenciled chicken! We love it. Now, we want to stencil the second milk can, but we want our chickens to face each other, so we’ll need to flip that stencil for the mirror image. We have to clean it first, so the old paint from the opposite side doesn’t transfer while we stencil.
Cleaning the stencil is fast and easy when you use acrylic paints. The paint comes right off with just water and a dish washing brush! Make sure to do it on a flat surface, like a back of a baking tray, so the stencil doesn’t get entangled and damaged. See the stencil cleaning process in detail by watching the video below.
Now we can stencil the other chicken using the same technique that we just described. Takes about… 10 minutes!
Look at these awesome milk cans! We absolutely love how they turned out. Acrylic paint should be good for outdoors, so we are not worried about adding a top coat to our stencil work. Plus, top coats tend to yellow and peel outside as time goes on, so we would leave our cans alone. If it fades a little bit, even better – it will blend more naturally with the patina of the antique milk can!
Look, the real chickens approve of their portraits! Aren’t these Dominiques gorgeous?
To get the full scoop, please watch a very informative video below:
Would you like to try this for yourself? It’s easy and fun, and you can put those chickens on walls, pillows, furniture, or stencil an entire chicken border in your kitchen! If you are a fan of a country decor, this stencil is for you! And guess what? The Dominique Chicken stencil is now 20% off! Use code CHICKEN20 at the checkout :) Coupon is good until Friday, September 21st, 2012.
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Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you soon!
Janna, Greg and the Cutting Edge Stencils crew