Create Art Using Homemade Stencils

Teach your kids to use paints, rollers and stencils to create beautiful, unique pieces of artwork.

By Meghan Burch
Oct 26, 2016



Create Art Using Homemade Stencils

Oct 26, 2016

In this activity, your child will create stencils, which will then be used to create unique art prints. What's great about this DIY art exercise is it allows your artist to work with whatever shapes or images appeals to him or her. Each artwork created is unique and reflects the style of its creator.

What You'll Need

  • Construction paper or magazine pages for the stencils
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor paper, cardstock, or heavy drawing paper to print onto
  • Red, blue, and yellow tempera or poster paints (or magenta, cyan, yellow, and black if you want to more closely replicate the offset printing process colors)
  • Brayers or small foam rollers from a craft or hardware store
  • 3 plastic plates, or foam trays

How to Do This Activity

Step 1: Have your child cut shapes out of pieces of construction paper. If your child is young, you can help with this step. Both the shapes she cuts out (the positive shapes), and the paper the shapes have been cut out from (the negative shapes) can be used as stencils. 

Step 2: Have your child arrange or overlap the stencil shapes on a larger piece of paper.

Step 3: Prepare each of the paints in a separate paint tray. Start with one or two spoonfuls of paint along the top of the tray. This can get messy, so spread out some newspaper underneath the paint trays.

Step 4: Have your child roll her foam roller back and forth in one tray to coat it evenly with paint. Then, have her roll the roller slowly over the stencils. Cover the whole surface of the paper or just an area.

rolling paint
Step 5: Have your child peel away the stencils to reveal the print she created. While the foam rollers are not in use, tell your child to rest their handles on the edge of the tray (that'll help keep her hands clean!).

Step 6: Show your child how you can overlap multiple colors or a variety of stencils to create a unique print with depth and contrast. Make sure your child uses a separate foam roller for each color to avoid unintentional mixing. It can also help to let the paper dry for a couple of minutes between rolling each color.

Explore Some More

Here are some questions and variations that can help you extend this activity:

  • Ask your child, "What new shapes can you make when you overlap stencils?" Then try it out.
  • Ask your child, "What new colors can you make by overlapping colors?" Then give it a go.
  • Have your child design a pattern by repeating the same stencils across the paper.
  • Cut a stencil in a new way, such as folding, cutting into the side, cutting out one shape to make another.

Have you tried an exploration like this yourself or with your young learners? Feel free to share your ideas on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.

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