Rustic Merry Christmas Sign Tutorial


Today I’m sharing a quick tutorial on multi-layer stenciling using acrylic paints with your Silhouette stencil vinyl.  When I first begin a project like this, I like to lay out my shapes in Studio and fill them all in with color to get an idea of what the finished product will look like.  I chose a wood panel that was about the same width as my stencil vinyl, so I changed my page settings to reflect the size of my final stencil (in this case 13in x 9in) to start.  The main element of my sign is the vintage-style wording, so I placed this on my page first and then decided on some other elements.  To complement the natural wood plank I was working with, I chose to combine the pine bough from a design by Lori Whitlock  with a pine cone ornament from Hero Arts.

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Screenshot 1

The pine cone looked like it needed a base color and I also wanted to make my wording really pop.  I used the Offset Tool to create a mat layer for the wording with an offset distance of 0.05in.  For the pine cone, I simply made a copy of the shape and released the compound path so that I could delete all the cut lines except for the outline.  I could nestle this outline under my shape to create a multicolored design.  This is what my final design looked like:

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Screenshot 2

I would need to paint my sign in two steps now and it was important to be able to line up the layers perfectly for the pine cone and lettering.  To ensure both horizontal and vertical alignment, I added three small “crosshairs” around my space by typing plus (+) signs using the text tool.

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Screenshot 3

Then I created an exact duplicate of my entire design by opening a new tab, selecting all, and using copy and paste.  I deleted the appropriate elements from each copy to form two separate stencils as shown below.  Be sure to only delete unwanted cut lines without moving others and to leave the crosshairs on both pages.

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Screenshot 4

Once you’ve cut and weeded both sheets of vinyl, you can transfer your first stencil to the wood (the scraper tool makes quick work of this) and paint your base layers.  I also lightly traced the inside the crosshairs with a pencil.  Once the paint is dry, you can remove your vinyl stencil and it will look like this:

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - First Layer

Since you have crosshairs cut into your second stencil and the Silhouette stencil vinyl is clear, lining up your second layer is a breeze.  Here you can see how I layered the crosshairs cut into the vinyl directly over my traced lines and then painted my second color over top.

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Second Layer

The result is a perfectly aligned mat for your greeting with crisp, smooth edges thanks to the Silhouette stencil vinyl.

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Detail

To deepen the wood grain just a bit and make my sign a little more rustic-looking, I added a few coats of clear polyurethane varnish.  This is also a good idea if you are planning on hanging the sign outdoors to protect it from the elements.  Lastly, I attached some jute rope to the back using a heavy duty stapler so that I could hang it above my mantle.

Rustic Merry Christmas Sign by Annie Williams - Final

I hope this inspires you to try some multi-layer stenciling…thanks for stopping by!


Designs Used:

Merry Christmas (#5473)

Pine Bough & Ornament (#4921)

Holly & Pine Cone (#23501)