Stenciled Flask - or how to get clean lines on your stencils.

Seeing as he's a man who often claims his customers drive him to drink, when I spotted a hip flask in Tiger before Christmas for a meager £3, I just had to pick it up for Mr O's stocking.

He's not a spirits person, but as we have established before he loves his beer, so I decided to pimp this very very plain steel hip flask with a decoration to suit what I knew it would end up containing.

By fluke, we had to repaint our chrome bathroom caddy over the summer, so I already had the correct paint colour for my idea, but how to get the design onto the flask. Its curved, so just taping the stencil on wasn't going to work, and anyway, I've always been pants at getting clean lines on thinks I mask off or use stencils to paint.

The answer, which never occurred to me until I was rooting around in my cupboard of goodies and it literally hit me, was spray mount. I was thinking I would use double sided tape to hold the stencil on the curved. But then, what if I wanted to reposition the stencil? Not so good then. But I simply sprayed the back of the stencil and then placed on. Spray mount is like the stuff on post-it notes - designed to be placed and moved and re-placed over and over until you are happy. Perfect for this job really!

Marking where the edges of the item you are painting (like I have) on your stencil makes it easier to place it. However, if you do need to re-position the stencil, just clean off the blank space with a cotton bud dipped in white spirit. It didn't affect the "seal" around the brown paper at all.

Make sure the stencil is properly stuck on and paint as normal. Don't try and do one layer, many thin layers are better than one thick. Once you are happy, and as soon as as you feel confident the paint won't drip or run, take off the stencil. This should insure you don't take some of the painted image off along with it, and retain those nice clean lines!

I use brown paper for my stencils, and find it perfect for the task. Its cheap, and its also slightly waxy, so paint doesn't soak through, but its still thin and easy to cut with a craft knife, which makes it great for stencils.

Mine design isn't one of my own, its copied. It's actually part of the logo of the beer company Mr O has shares in. Well, if they did a flask I'd buy that but they don't - so I printed the image in the size I wanted and traced it onto tracing paper. Then I taped  it onto the brown paper and cut through both layers together. You could just use your print out, but as tracing paper is thinner its much easier to cut through both layers at once. If what you are cutting is too thick you'll need a lot of pressure and skill to get clean lines.

Give it a few days, as long as you can bare basically, for your paint to fully dry and then wash off any sticky residue that might be lingering from your stencil. I just popped the flask in with the dishes to be honest - nothing fancy needed to clean it off. Doesn't it look spiffing?? Best bit on Chritmas day was Mr O thinking it was proper merchandise. Colour me chuffed!!

I'm definitely loving using spray mount to keep my stencils in place. I just need to find more things to paint.

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