Anyone have tips for using stencils for decorating card backs?

I bought a set of dozens of thin plastic stencils. I want to use them to do things like draw an ornate box around addresses or the Postcard ID, or to stencil something neat the user likes that I don’t have a card for (example - a cute fox, or a train engine). I got them because while I appreciate art, I’m not great at creating it myself, So far, my attempts at using the stencils have been a bit disappointing because I don’t have a steady enough hand and make stray marks, …or it just doesn’t look as cool once it’s drawn. Tips, anyone? Color them in - what medium? Any tips from those who have used stencils to make something fun and clever - please, share…, and thanks!


Glue them with washitape on the Paper. That make it easyer. Use a dry pen and no ink run under the Plastik. Than it works.

  • Practice on scrap paper with the stencil first - that way you get a feel for the lines and edges.
  • Lighten up on your pen/pencil.
  • RELAX YOUR FINGERS! Loosen your grip.
  • Go for simple first then try some creative approaches like masking part of the stencil to create something behind something else. For example, place part of a post-it on your card, then trace the stencil of a cloud - the top portion should appear on the card. Remove the post-it and stencil another cloud just below the first. The end result will look like two clouds, one in front of the other.
  • Above all ENJOY!

I have no experience with stencils and pens, because I mainly use my stencils for mixed media art. If I use them on postcards, I use an ink pad and blender (brush or foam). For example, I have used this stencil many times for dog lovers. No steady hand needed at all :blush: .


Sounds like me!! I can’t draw to save my life. Stencils are great but I also trace images (copyright free!). If you don’t have a lightbox, tape the image to a window on a sunny day and then your card over that and trace! Even thick watercolour paper shows the image enough to be able to trace.
Whatever you choose, DO NOT GIVE UP!!! Once you get comfy with a technique you can then add in more and use different mediums. Keep creating and keep sharing.


Brilliant - thank you!

I love the idea of “blotting” the paw print for the pet lovers. Thanks. Also, I will take the advice of practicing on something else first - double the fun! A favorite technique I already have for “back decorating” is to lay down a dark washi strip and then peel off the letters for the recipients initials. (See photo).

But I’m finding that of the 800000+ people in Postcrossing, there are about 7 or 8 extremely common initials (A, K, S) and if I keep that up, I’ll have a thousand unused Zs and Qs. So I just ordered the set pictured, so I can stencil initials instead of investing in a million stickers. Plus now I can start stenciling the address box instead of drawing it.

I’m enjoying Postcrossing very much. I can’t wait until I can be sending more than 1 or 2 a week!


Hello all:

What wonderful ideas for decoration! I think I will start doing this as well. I have many stickers and washi tape however I have wanted to do some hand lettering and agree the stencils are likely the best next step. I do have a few blender brushes and colors of stamps. If anyone does this with more detail, I would love to see mores images - thanks!

I use a highlighter to fill in the stencils. Works beautifully and easy to manage.

1 Like

OK - the set came in today. At first they looked a little “low quality”, but I got some card stock scraps and started to play with them a bit. Turns out those pens do a decent job of not bleeding under the stencils. And I worked out a few more tips…

  • if the ink is not quick drying, don’t move the stencil right away
  • try to trace in one go; if you back up or go over the same spot multiple times, it shows
  • if you add any detail inside the stencil (like the owl’s eyes) use another stencil (nice round circles)
  • make sure the ink has enough contrast (my initials on the washi don’t stand out)

Thanks for the tips & suggestions. Please - keep 'em coming.