Artistcellar Blog

Imagine. Create. Enjoy.

Hello everyone! 

Hope everyone is safe and healthy during these crazy times. Hats off to the protestors fighting for much needed change. My anxiety will not allow me to join in the demonstration, but I hear you. I see you.  I am with you.  

This project was started awhile ago, but I finally got her done!  I started with mixed media paper, spraying a few different oxide colors in blue and green thru a couple stencils.  I used 'Paris' from Artistcellar's Cathedral Series on the grass and 'Romans' from the Textures Series in the sky.

Since I've been so wound up lately with everything going on the world,  I decided to go the easy route and use some collage images from Crowabout StudioB. I needed a little whimsy in my life and her images never disappoint. 

To create a fun & easy border,  I used the outside edge from one of the Halftone Dots stencils to paint bright red half circles along the perimeter of the paper.  

Now is the Zen part of any project--adding doodles, outlines, & shading with colored pencils.  I added the quote "Her Favorite Dreams were of Flying" and called her done!

Much love to you all.  Stay safe!


I love combining more than one stencil on a card, and with Artistcellar you can get such fantastic designs using only part of a stencil.

Let’s look at how to make this mixed media, collage card.

First cut a piece of Neenah Classic Crest card stock to measure 4 ½” square and tape it onto a piece of scrap paper. Then take the Paris stencil from Artistcellar's Cathedral Series and tape it in place over the card stock. You just don’t want the stencil to shift around while adding ink.

Next, you’ll need some Distress Oxide inks in Candy Apple to add to only the right side of the stencil. You want your inking to be fairly uneven as opposed to one half being stenciled and the other not. Remove the stencil and wipe clean. Dry the ink and then stamp over the card with a script stamp.

Place the stencil back over the card stock making sure to align it with your stenciled image. Then add some gel medium in gloss, scraping the gel using an old loyalty or gift card over the part of the stencil with the red ink. Remove the stencil again and wash with warm soapy water to get rid of the gel.

Dry the gel medium with a heat gun, making sure to move it around quickly to avoid making bubbles form.

Take another ink pad of Distress Oxide in Black Soot and using a foam applicator apply the foam over the stenciled area so that you fill in the blank spots with the ink. You can see that I added black ink outside of the red area to make it look more organic. Take a paper towel and wipe away any excess black ink that is on the red, gelled areas.

Next take some watercolor paint and add some light blue along the edge of the Black Soot and some green splatter of watercolor paint onto the left side of the card. You’re looking for an uneven application here.

You can add another stencil with dots or any small pattern onto the left side of the card stock with some metallic paste. Nuvo Mousse in gold was scraped through this stencil to make the gold circles.

Lastly, stitch on some beads along the line of black. You can achieve this by making punctures with a piercing tool or ball head pin in a few places. Thread a beading needle with thread and tape the thread on the back of the card stock piece. Come up from the back in the first puncture you made, and slip a black bead onto the thread. Then go right back into the hole you just came out of and pull taut. Since the bead is larger than the puncture you made, it gets anchored onto the card front.

Cut out some accent layers of cardstock for the final card. The black piece measures 5” square, and the blue metallic card measures 5 ¼” square. Glue all layers onto a card base that measures 5 ½” square when folded in half.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use stencils with cards, sign up on the waitlist for the Stencil Master Class at While there you can also sign up to receive free, weekly projects sent each Tuesday to your inbox.

Hope to see you there!

I couldn't help it. I had to make another book! This time it is an accordion book with pockets. (Can you tell making books is one of my favorite things!)

Here are the supplies I used:

To start I folded the cardstock to create the structure of the book. First I folded one of the long sides up 3 inches to create the pocket. Then I accordion-folded it. This made each panel 5.5 inches tall and 2 inches wide. 

Next step is to decorate the cover! I unfolded the cardstock and used an old key card to scrape 4 different paint colors on the surface. After that was dry I refolded the accordion and used the stencils to create texture on the inside of the book. To keep the pocket in place I used washi tape on each end to hold the sides together.


To further embellish the outside of the accordion I used a black paint pen to write a favorite quote in a loopy cursive style.

Now it's time to gelli print some tags for the inside of the book! I made more than I needed (which is easy and fun to do when you are gelli printing!). I chose my favorites to trim down to 2 inches wide and loop ribbon in the hole at the top fastened with a tiny staple. 

The book is now ready to be further personalized by adding journaling, pictures, ephemera, etc.! 

I hope you take some time and make a book this week!

I just wanted to make a cute brightly colored funky bird for my wall. That's all I wanted. I had a plan. I've done it before so I figured it would be a no brainer. I was wrong.

I started out on a clean canvas board. It was beautifully white and unmarked, ready for the lovely bird I had in my mind.

I started by making a beautiful background using my Dye-na-flow inks with water and some stencils. (At this point I am on track)

I then made a rough drawing of my bird using Distress crayons. (Still good!)

In hindsight, this is where it all went wrong for me. I used watery white paint to activate the crayons, the beak is not quite right, blug... And I covered much of my beautiful background! I tried to add some feathers, yuck.

So I took out my Dina Wakley paints in turquoise, lime and yellow  and my brayer and went to town!

I took out my nib pen  and acrylic ink in sepia and did (another) quick messy bird sketch, it looks good!

I took out my Dina Wakely paints again and painted it up, I  used a  bunch of   my yummy stencils (Cathedral series, Tibetan series and Sacred  Geometry) to add some fun. And then I realized I only liked the background! The bird is wonky again! Grrrr!!!

Sooo... I got a bit huffy and asked my kitty what I should do, she told me to spray it with water, I listened and  this is what I ended up with!

I then sat and pouted for a while, and I gave up on the birdy. I used my paints and  just painted what felt good... I ended up creating a little sad fairy. For all of the Grrrss and grumbles, I ended  up having fun and smiling! And THAT is what it is all about!

Big hugs and mushies to you!!

- Shana Banana!

Is it too early to think about Saint Patrick's Day? If you asked my dad that his answer would have been a resounding, "NO!". My father was very proud of his Irish heritage. He had quite a collection of Irish themed objects including several books about Ireland, pins, ties, green shirts a'plenty, knick knacks and even his business logo (which he asked me to design) was a shamrock! When I saw an unfinished wood shamrock at the craft store the other day I knew it had to be mine and I knew it needed two things: Artistcellar stencils and Dina Wakley acrylic paints. Well, and a wee bit of Inka Gold too, of course!

Here's what I used:

After lightly sanding my wood form I gave it a coat of Evergreen paint. 

While I waited for that to dry I used the stencils and paint on deli paper to create a few sheets with interesting layers.

I chose a couple papers and tore them into smaller pieces and applied them to both sides of the shamrock with matte medium. The best way to do this is to apply a thin layer of matte medium, then the paper and another thin layer of matte medium. Use your paintbrush to smooth everything out.

When dry I painted the edge with the Penny and Umber paint. I used Distress Crayons to add a depth of color to the outer edges of the surface and bring out more green. I also rubbed Inka Gold along the edges to give it some sparkle.

I found an inspiring Irish proverb and simplified it to add a little text to my shamrock.

A few little details made with my acrylic paint pens and a coat of clear finish later and I have a finished piece!

I really like the layers of texture and the shimmer of the gold. Many thanks to my lovely eldest daughter for being a fabulous hand model for me once again. May you all have the Luck O' the Irish with you in your creative pursuits this week!


I've been making some little art in a little book and it's been fun! It's supposed to be a daily art practice (it's a daily planner by Moleskine so there is a page per day) and while I am a little behind I am enjoying the challenge. Some days I just fill several pages with stenciled backgrounds or solid paint colors to give me a nice little jumpstart for more little layers. Can you tell I'm having a little fun?! ;)

The stencils I used for these pages are the Rouen from the Cathedral Series and Sea Foam from the Water Series. The paints are Dina Wakley Acrylics. Other supplies I used are black and white acrylic paint pens and water soluble crayons. 

I ended my mini art session with words I cut out from an old children's book. I feel like this will be a good thing for me to do this year and I hope you are inspired to make a goal to implement some little sort of daily art practice!

When you read this it will be after Halloween but I am in the thick of it as I write this. While I am up to my elbows in pink feathers, yellow paint and cardboard I had a fabulous idea on a new way to use the Cathedral Series stencils and it's a quick little project.

Over the past few weeks I have been teaching my kiddos at school about the Mexican Holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Calaveras (Sugar Skulls). We have been busy designing our own colorful skulls in paint, paper collage, colored pencil and ink. Sugar skulls are an interesting way to teach SYMMETRY and after making almost a dozen examples during class I was pondering how stencils could make designing a sugar skull easier. So after I went home from school that day I set out my stencils and decided on the Cathedral Series. The results are AWESOME.

In my art journal I used the stencils to create a crown area. Then, using a skull I had laying around for reference (hee hee hee) I sketched out the shape I wanted and inked that in black. 

Now the fun part. Look at your stencils and notice the various shapes created within it and use them to add designs to the skull. The following pictures will show how it progresses.

Awesome, amiright?!

Next comes color and I think I will use this to demonstrate to my students more techniques on how to color with colored pencil. In the meantime I need to wield my glue gun to put the finishing touches on costumes for my four daughters. Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

Happy creating!

Hello Lovelies! I hope your summer has been filled with fun, good food and ART! I also hope you get a chance to "get away" even if it is in your own town. :)

The project I am bringing to you today is one of my favorites. I have had this idea rattling around in the right side of my brain for awhile now.

If you could flip through my sketchbooks you might see a reoccurring theme. Houses. I think every artist has symbols, images, etc. that mean something extra special to them. One of mine is houses. Growing up my family moved often. In fact, I realized recently that I have moved, on average, every 3-5 years my entire life. That is many many houses. One house that has remained constant is my grandparents' farmhouse in Idaho. It is one of my very favorite places on the planet. If you want to read how my very favorite place influences my creativity you can read a blog post I wrote a couple years ago.

So, continuing this thought process about home. What does home mean to you? What function does a home have? I am sure it can mean different things at different times of our lives. These are the questions that were going though my mind as I created this series.

I started with three wooden house forms I found at my local craft store and my first layer was GAC-100 by Golden. It is a multi-purpose acrylic polymer that seals the grain of the wood. (Another option for this is clear gesso or you can go rogue and just start painting!)

Using a selection of Dina Wakley acrylic paints I painted each side a different color. Using the same colors on each house will help them have continuity. 

Then I grabbed my palette knife, Deco Art Media Crackle paste and the larger Halftone Dots Stencil and applied a medium to heavy layer to each side of the houses. (Tip: The thicker the paste the bigger the cracks.) Some sides were just the dots and others were solid crackle paste. When the paste was dry I went all ooooh and aaaaah at the delicious texture that I saw.

The next layers were paints (same as before) and dictionary pages. I only glued the paper to a few sides of each house. Again, using the same ephemera on each ties them together. (Kinda like Project Runway when they have a group of designers design a mini collection. The successful groups have a common element that appears on each of the designs, whether it is color, pattern, etc.)

At this point I found a quote I liked and also sketched out some imagery I wanted to paint onto the house blocks. When I looked at the super awesome bumpy surface from the crackle paste I knew it would be a smidge difficult to paint details. So I grabbed my favorite sanding blocks and went to town sanding all sides of the houses. Dust was flying and the result was AWESOME! 

All the divine cracks stayed but the overall surface was more flat and so so smoooooth. A bonus was the distressed look I got from the paint partially sanding off too.

Now that my surface was ready I started painting!

I felt the sides needed something snazzy so I picked out my favorite stencil from the Cathedral Series and it was perfect. 

I also used gold paint to add details and the shimmer shine just tied everything together. 

The result is a whimsical house set that makes me smile. Mission accomplished!







Hello again! I am excited about the project I'm sharing with you this week as it combines two of my favorite things. Hand-lettered quotes and beautifully designed stencils. The supplies I used are my Art Journal, black water-proof pigment ink pens (like Faber-Castell Pitt Pens), Cathedral Series Four-Stencil Set, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils (or the Inktense Blocks), small paint brush, pencil and a kneaded eraser.

First step is tracing the stencil into the paper to make the decorative border. Please notice that I am tracing a portion of the stencil first and then rotating the stencil and tracing a different part. This ends up making a symmetrical design that looks elegantly complicated. The magic of the Cathedral stencils!! Try "rearranging" the way you use your stencil images. Happy accidents will abound. 

Next comes the hand lettered quote. I turned to my trusty Pinterest board devoted to inspiring words and chose quotes that weren't too long. Using my pencil and kneaded eraser (because it erases cleanly, without smudges) I penciled in my words until I got to a general composition that I liked. Then I used my pigment pen again to ink in my letters and build them up with angles, thick and thin lines, and little embellishments. 

Final step is the color!! Grab your watercolor pencils or Inkstense blocks, choose complementary colors and begin filling in various parts of the design. The Cathedral series is inspired by stained glass windows so I wanted to use vibrant colors to convey that idea. Be sure to layer different shades of color to add depth. Don't worry about filling in the space completely with color. When you use a damp brush to "activate" the pigment you can smooth it out and fill in all the nooks and crannies. Gorgeous!

This project was kinda like making your very own coloring page. How trendy of us! Haha! As you can see from this picture I had Bob along for maximal creative zen relaxation. 

Happy creating!

Today I want to introduce you to our guest blogger Susan Purney Mark. Susan is a quilter, stitcher and artist who also owns Fabric Imagery in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada. She loves playing with color, pattern, and texture on fabrics and does this with various surface design techniques such as screen printing, stenciling, stamping, painting and dyeing. I was honored when she agreed to be a guest blogger, I couldn't wait to see what she did with Artistcellar stencils! 

When Lisa asked me to write a guest blog for her and sent me a package of Artist Cellar stencils, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Last fall my husband and I traveled to Ephesus in Turkey and spent a wonderful day exploring all the ruins and soaking in the culture and history. It has become a magical place for me, full of mystery and wonder. The sort of place where you want the walls to talk and tell you of the 2,000 years of history that they have seen.

I took dozens and dozens of photos, knowing that there would be inspiration for years to come to create art quilts inspired by the sights that day. I’ve been working with improvisational piecing in my work with random strips of fabric, sewn and cut, then sewn and cut again, letting the design evolve and change as I work with layout and composition. I love this way of working, I find it both exciting and challenging as I try to let the work tell me what it should become within a loose framework of my ideas. My fabrics are hand dyed, screen printed and sometimes coloured during the sewing and piecing phase.

I made a small sample to test some ideas of what might evolve, this piece was whole cloth, screen printed and free motion stitched. In a small corner of the work, I used Shiva sticks and part of the Paris stencil (Cathedral series) and gently worked in colour to give the illusion of what the ruin might have contained. Though perhaps it’s a flying leap from an Ephesian ruin to a Paris Cathedral image… but that’s art!

I think it turned out very well. I’m going to add some more colour in the stone work and then mount this piece on canvas board.

When I teach, some of my workshops require students to have a print table to pin the fabric on and make it stationary. I’ve produced a short video that may like to see about an easy way to make your own print table: I think you’ll find a print table to be an indispensable item in your studio.

Next, I decided to roller print with textile paint through the surf stencil and Paris stencil and have prepared a sheet of Plexiglas and covered it with a piece of Glad Press and Seal, that way when I’m finished I can remove the Press and Seal and throw it away without having to wash the Plexiglas. There are two colours of paint and I’ve rolled through it a couple of times to get it soaked into the sponge roller.

Generally when I work, I will attempt to give suggestions of images rather than the full stencil, so the pieces I created for this post will be cut up and inserted in some part of the larger quilt. I like to think there’s a bit of mystery for the viewer to spend a little time looking at the surface of the quilt and finding parts that engage their interest. So when the quilt is done, you may not recognize the Paris Window in an ancient ruin!

Here’s the fabric I’ve assembled in preparation to work on this quilt next month.


If you’d like to see more of my work then come by and visit at