For those who like an extra challenge and something different!

The nice thing about scrapbooking and card making is the great flexibility you have to create your pages or cards. We know we can use stickers, cutouts, rubber stamps, and other goodies to make a real special page.

For those of you who like a challenge, and are seeking something a little different as a background for your pages, have you considered stencil layering? That is what theorem painting is all about.

Actually, this art goes back to the early 19th century. Theorem stenciling can be done on several mediums: vellum and card stock are two you use on a regular basis in your scrapbook efforts. But in the “good ole’ days” it was done on velveteen cotton. This painting process is especially directed at making cards–but not exclusively.

There is one specific feature that lends this painting process to card making. The painting doesn’t add any significant thickness to the finished card–because the picture message is on top of the card, and is the only addition to the card’s thickness–as opposed to most card making where the card’s thickness is increased by what ever embellishment is “glued or tacked” onto the card. Also, there are no worries about extra thickness causing damage to the envelope, card or embellishments being damaged in mailing.

Unlike ordinary stencils which have breaks in their design, theorem stencils do not. Each picture is created by painting several layers of pre-cut stencils. Each stencil cut focuses on a, or various, specific features of the picture. Each stencil piece usually requires the same paint color, but can be brighter or darker depending on the specific parts of the picture that require emphasis from the intensity of the color. As each stencil piece is colored the picture takes its form. When the final stencil is colored the picture is complete.

While the array of ideas for paintings can be enormous, the reality is in the cut out stencils. There are not many providers of theorem stencils because this is an art form that presently has a relatively small following. The warmth of the finished pictures, however, is reason enough to consider this as an opportunity to try something new. Thus you would be creating scrapbook pages that are unique and beautiful, and not many of your scrapbooking friends will have them–if any!

Because this is perhaps a new technique for you, it is highly recommended you look into theorem painter’s works, like Jean Hansen–who is skilled in this technique, and has pre-cut stencils to purchase, or look at: Rosier Period ArtThe Historical Society of Early American Folk ArtCrafter’s Corner, Inc. and Calico Jam Studio.

As a matter of information, here is a quote from Nancy at Rosier Art:

“Theorem painting (meaning painting with the aid of stencils) is considered traditional folk art. It was popular in the 1800′s. Theorem painting is most often done on white velvet fabric, which gives the painting a soft, lovely depth. Oil paint is presently used as it simulates the look of the antique theorems whose paint was hand mixed. Fruit and floral arrangements are the most popular subjects, but scenes were sometimes done.”

You don’t have to have fantastic painting skills to do this kind of work because there is a process in place–kind of like painting by the numbers. If you follow the process you can do it. Practice will surely enhance your skills, however.

There are several ways you can use your completed paintings in your scrapbook’s pages. You can use them more as a border. You can make them the total background of a page (hopefully you won’t be covering too much of your stencil handy work with photos, other embellishments and journaling. Cards, however, will allow you to use the entire painting–or as much as will fit on the card.

Give it a try. . . especially if you want to have something that is both creative, beautiful and few of your scapper friends will have!!!

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Ron on January 1st, 2009 | File Under Ideas | No Comments -