How to Stencil with Glitter and Turn Dull into Dazzling

Front of card stenciled with two colors of glitter

You’ve probably stenciled with inks or paints, yes? But when you stencil with glitter, you take your cards to a whole different level. There’s simply no way to describe the brilliance and sparkle these beauties boast. Let me show you the ridiculously easy way to get the effect yourself!

This technique needs no more than a "KISS"

Cardstock, glitter, and lace - all you need to stencil with glitter
Just need a few supporting players on this stage

The materials for this technique are few. (By the way, “KISS” means “Keep It Simple, Sweetie,” in case you didn’t know.)

A few pieces of card stock, a piece of sticky back paper, and a piece of wide-hole lace. I’m not sure what you call lace with a design that has wide holes in it. There’s probably a technical name for it. For the purposes of this tutorial I’ll call it “wide hole.”

Oh, and the glitter.

Now, to be honest, I’ve never done this technique with “ordinary” glitter. You know, the kind you get in a craft store. I know there are some very nice glitters there because I have a zillion of them.  I’ve got the cheap stuff, and the shaped stuff (star-shaped glitter anyone?), the glass glitter, and I even have vintage glass glitter (which WILL cut your fingers if you’re not careful). I’ve got a whole drawer full of other glitters. But the day I discovered Art Glitter, well, stick a fork in me, I was done.

Closeup of special glitter by the Art Glitter company
This is G.L.I.T.T.E.R.

This is glitter on a whole different level. It’s virtually weightless, and the sparkle is out of this world brilliant. I don’t know how she did  it, but Barbara Trombley, the founder of Art Glitter, discovered how to make the glitteriest glitter on the planet. I’m pretty sure she’s a rags-to-riches, started-the-business-in-her-garage-in-1981 kind of story, and the company now produces 1200 colors and different opacities of the most exciting glitter I’ve ever seen and worked with.

Those poor other glitters. I keep saying I’ll use them someday, and maybe I will. But not on my greeting cards.

No shrinking violets here

This is the time to let your little light shine, as it were. AG glitters are brilliant, and even the tamer colors are vibrant. So let your hair down and go crazy with the color. This is your time to shine! (Which you will, because your face WILL sport some sparkly flecks before it’s all said and done. Trust me.)

Sticky back paper is a must - that's what the glitter sticks to.
Sticky back paper is a must - that's what holds the glitter!

You’ll need quality adhesive paper, the stickier the better, for obvious reasons. It doesn’t matter if the front is matte or shiny, because it’s not going to show anyway. The sticky back part is the star of this show.

Cut it and your card stock layers to size, including your base and your mat(s). For my card, I used black for the base and plum for the mat. The adhesive paper was white. For a few moments.

Back of paper layer showing double sided tape

Before we go any further, it’s time to apply adhesive to the layers. Normally we’d apply “snail” adhesive, the kind you apply with roller application. And we’d apply it later in the game. But when working with very delicate layers (say, when covered with whisper-light glitter), you don’t want a heavy-handed snail stomping the back of your beautiful paper. High-tack, double-sided tape to the rescue! But not just any double-sided tape, you want the kind that’s backed with paper to allow for precise placement.

A side note: a roll of this tape lasts forever, it comes in various widths and it has many uses, so I recommend owning more than just one size. I used 1/4 on this card.

Apply the tape to the two layers (colored mat and adhesive paper) and leave the paper backing for now. We’ll remove it later.

Let the games begin

The lace is now stuck to the sticky side of the adhesive paper

Warning: No matter how hard you try, glitter will travel and find you, your clothes, your floor, your face, and your dog’s face. It’s what it does. It can’t help it. You were warned. (See Notes)

Now that the prep work’s out of the way, it’s time to have some fun. Remove the backing on the adhesive paper, and lay your “wide hole” lace on the surface. Gently smooth out any wrinkles, taking care not to stretch the lace. Now is the time to reposition any dominant designs to your satisfaction.

Place the lace and paper onto a piece of folded cardstock. This part could get a bit messy, but that’s ok. It’ll be a pretty mess.

Shaking the container gently from side to side, cover the card/lace layer with glitter. Cover it completely.

The first color of glitter poured onto the lace stencil

You can place a layer of copy paper on top and press it all down to make sure the glitter gets into the holes of the lace, but if you chose a porous enough pattern, you shouldn’t need to. Because glitter will travel back with the paper to some degree. I don’t do this. My lace is pretty wide open, and the glitter sticks sufficiently all by its lonesome.

You could also tap the edge of the lace/paper combo with your finger to encourage a little more glitter to take up residence on the sticky paper, if it makes you feel better. If couldn’t hurt.

Now pick the lace/paper/glitter up GENTLY and pour the excess glitter onto the folded cardstock. GENTLY. Then pour it back into the container. GENTLY. Try to not miss the container.

A pile of glitter that was accidentally poured onto the table
Oops (see Notes)

Once you’ve poured the excess glitter off of the lace/paper, give the paper a few firm “thwacks” with your thumb and middle finger to dislodge any stubborn flecks. There are always a few.

Now gently peel the lace away.

The stencil is revealed with one glitter color in place
It's a little bit of magic

Repeat with the second color.(Except for the part about spilling glitter all over the work surface.)

The stencil covered with the second color of glitter
Anticipation builds

Drumroll please…

Finished layer showing paper stenciled with two colors of glitter, purple and red
The sparkle is off the charts

I’ll say it again – the sparkle is OFF the charts. Even from across the craft room. I’m sure this technique would work with any quality (read: fine) glitter, but Art Glitter is truly the best. (I don’t get commission from them, I just love their glitter.)

A fancy design's finishing touch

A small, jeweled tag with a greeting finish this card
So much glamour needs very little accessorizing

Just like a black dress, a card this glamorous needs very little to finish it off – just a simple, double-tag greeting popped up on dimensionals and two tiny gemstones to match one of the colors, in this case, red. Of course I didn’t have red stones, so I made my own custom-colored ones with a Copic marker.

Custom-colored rhinestones using red Copic marker
Why buy a rainbow when you can create your own?

And that’s how you stencil with glitter. What looks like a fancy design is really quite simple, but it has off-the-charts WOW appeal. The hardest part was choosing the colors.

Now it's your turn

Angled view of card stenciled with glitter
Don't forget to finish the inside

Now it’s your turn to stencil a card with glitter and share it on Facebook so we can all enjoy it. And hey, why not go for broke and try three colors! Live life on the edge!

We’ll wait for you – happy crafting!

Notes:

1. If you spill this brand of glitter, the only way to clean it up is to sweep it off the table with a credit card onto a piece of folded paper. If you use your hands, most of it will stay on them. You’ll need a hard, sharp-edged surface (like that of a credit card) to corral those pesky but beautiful flakes. And even then, you can expect much of it to land everywhere elsewhere.

2. Mr. Right told me on our evening walk that I had glitter on my nose. I wasn’t surprised. I found it elsewhere in my shower, too. *ahem*

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Hi, I'm Shea!

Hi, I'm Shea!

Do you prefer handmade to store bought? Would you rather make something than buy it? If you want to tap into your inner creative genius and say, "Yes, I made that," stick with me. From greeting cards to soap to old-fashioned desserts "from my mother's recipe box," (sprinkled with tales of life as an almost-senior), you'll learn that handmade beats the socks off store bought!

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