How To Stencil On Polymer Clay Using Parchment and Pearl Ex Powder

Stencil on Polymer Clay

Crafters Have Been Stenciling On Stuff For Many Decades. Today, Let’s Try It On Clay:

Do you ever get into a groove where one creative idea just naturally seems to tie in with other techniques you’ve been recently working on? Well this happened for me just the other day. As a result, this post is about using regular parchment paper to make a stencil for applying Pearl Ex Powder to a thin sheet of polymer clay.

While organizing some craft books, I came across an old book on stenciling. Back in the 80’s, folk art stenciling was a very popular thing to do. It was a revival art from the Victorian times done on furniture, walls and decor items.

I loved stenciling and have quite a few cut out designs that I used back then on all sorts of projects. I still have tons of stencil paints and brushes. Even have some tiny “cling stencils” for using on painted glass.

So when I saw this beautiful book, it made me think about combining the art of stenciling with polymer clay.

Flipping through the pages, I came across some small patterns which were meant to be enlarged for home decor projects. However, the small size was perfect for a polymer clay project. So I chose a pretty iris flower stencil pattern to try out.

Having a small strip of parchment paper lying around (trimmed from a larger piece recently used for testing a new image transfer technique), I decided it would work nicely as a stencil paper for the clay.

Being transparent, I used a pencil to trace the stencil design straight from the book onto the craft parchment paper. Next step was to cut out the stencil design with an Xacto knife.

I then rolled out a sheet of polymer clay and laid the stencil directly on top. After some gentle rubbing, the parchment stencil stuck to the clay with just the right amount of cling.

The nice thing about using the parchment paper as a stencil, is that the coating on the paper is nonabsorbent. This allows it to easily peel off from the clay when you’re done stenciling. It also does not absorb or leech out any of the plasticizers from the polymer clay. Plus it is easy to cut and is cheap as heck!

Now, also lying around on my studio work table was the new Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments that I just received as a Christmas stocking stuffer. So that’s what I used as a stenciling medium.

For stenciling on polymer clay, use a Q-Tip to add a very fine layer of the Pearl Ex. Different pigment colors can be used for different sections of the stencil. Be careful not to rub the powder under the edges of the stencil, because the Pearl Ex is kind of tricky to remove once it touches the clay. The best technique to remove excess color is to carefully sand it off after baking, with the folded edge of some fine sandpaper.

Make sure to blow off any excess powder before you lift the stencil or it will smudge. Bake as usual and seal with Future Floor Finish, Varathane Suitable for Polymer Clay, TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) or Resin.

Gorgeous!! Simply gorgeous! I love it when one idea flows to the next and the result is gorgeous! Whooo Hooo… I get to stencil again!


Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Cindy Erickson, 14 January, 2009

    Hi Cindy,

    For Christmas, I made both of my 21 and 23 year old daughters each a mobile. All of the pieces were made out of polymer clay…treble clef and music notes, and stars for Sarah, cool flowers, peace signs, and yin yang signs for Kaylah. For the stars on Sarah’s mobile, I stencils on designs like you described, using Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments. I guess great minds think alike!!! The mobiles bought turned out great…I was proud, and my girls were so happy with them!!!

    Hugs to you, Cindy

  2. Cindy Erickson, 14 January, 2009

    note to above post: I don’t know why I wrote the word “bought’ above…I certainly did not buy any of the pieces! I even made the lentil beads that I strung on it, and bent the wire for it myself!!! I just wanted to clarify that :)

    :)Cindy E.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 15 January, 2009

    Hi Cindy… Great minds do think alike! It is funny how you can be working away in your studio and a thousand miles away someone else is doing the same thing! Cool.

    Your mobiles sound really great! I bet your daughters do love them!

  4. Diana, 16 January, 2009

    Hi Cindy!

    I have found that working with Pearl X powders you have to be careful to not breathe in any excess powder that may get into the air. I wear a mask when I work with the powders as I am allergic to dust and the powders have the same affect on me. So, just to warn those who may be sensitive, they need to make sure they wear a mask.

  5. Cindy Lietz, 17 January, 2009

    Great advice Diana! Thank you for sharing that with us!

  6. JoAnne, 31 January, 2009

    This is great! I just bought some stencils to use with fabric paint sticks and now I can trace them on parchment and use them on my clay too. Thanks Cindy :)

  7. Cindy Lietz, 01 February, 2009

    Hi JoAnne! Why don’t you just use the stencil directly instead of making a parchment copy? It would be a lot simpler.

  8. Nidhi Singh, 29 June, 2009

    Please tell me where can i buy polymer clay and pigment powder.

  9. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2009

    Michaels craft stores, and many others, sell polymer clay and pigment powder. Make sure to buy Premo or Fimo clay and either Pearl Ex or Perfect Pearls powders. Hope that helps.

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