I love all things art-making and watercolor painting is definitely one of my favorites! There are just so many different techniques you can explore and the creative possibilities are endless. Using stencils for watercolor painting is one of the techniques you can use to create beautiful art.
Watercolor stencils are great for when you want to create backgrounds for artworks, patterns for watercolor cards, or fabric designs. They provide a structured shape that you can easily watercolor.
**This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommended. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**
15 Beautiful Stencils for Watercolor Painting
This stencil set comes in 8 elegant and beautiful floral patterns. They are eco-friendly and made from PET plastic material so are durable and reusable. I really like the design of the circular format with the botanical elements inside of it. They have been finely cut so that there is a lot of space for watercolor play!
If you are looking for a floral set of stencils then this is great! They offer a variety of different flower combinations for your watercolor painting. They also come in a variety of sizes to best suit your needs. Lovely watercolor stencils for your art journals or watercolor paintings.
And we love a bit of greenery! This set offers you 12 pieces of different typers of tropical leaves. This gives you the opportunity to use the stencil shapes on their own as a stand-alone watercolor painting, or as an addition to a watercolor illustration.
Mermaids, shells, fish, and more! These stencils are great for seaside watercolor paintings or children’s book illustrations! These are also available in different sizes.
These stencils include a variety of different birds, bird cages, branches and flowers.
Sunflower and dragonfly stencils which come in a variety of sizes and are made of PET material, which is safe for our environment. Durable and lightweight they are also easy to clean.
These Stencils come in a huge variety with an adhesive back. They are durable, reusable, and repositionable. I find these to be very helpful because they are translucent and you can see where you are placing them and what is actually beneath them!
They’re made from laser-cut polyethylene, so you’ll achieve clean edges every time.
These cute stencils are made from durable paperboard so are reusable, but also eco friendly. The paperboard may absorb some of the watercolor paint and so you need to make sure to allow your washes of watercolor paint to dry in between layers.
These metal cutting dies can easily be used for watercolor stenciling. You need to make sure they are securely placed on the paper – your spray adhesive will be great for this. Paint over them as you would paint over a standard watercolor stencil.
These are some of my favorite stencils because the designs are quite unusual, and I love the animal characters! Marabu Silhouette Stencils feature an ornate owl, a detailed elephant, and several others. These are great to use for art journaling, watercolor cards, or mixed media projects!
These are professional stencils most often used for face and body painting. I have put them into this list because they are a great way to achieve patterns in watercolor backgrounds. Using these as watercolor stencils will help you create artwork with repetitive shapes and intricate lines. You can layer watercolor washes with these stencils to create an interesting and effective design.
These beautiful floral stencils includes vivid flower patterns, such as sunflowers, dandelions, roses, lotus flowers, chrysanthemums, peonies and even a mandala!
Christmas Stencils 16 Pcs It is always helpful to have some Christmas Stencils handy for cards and Christmas gifts!
These Halloween watercolor painting stencils are great for Halloween decor, Halloween artwork and cards! This set comes with 12 different pumpkin designs!
Watch this great video below on 3 ways to use watercolor stencils!
How to Use Watercolor Stencils
- Choose your stencil and find an interesting position on your piece of paper.
- Tape down your sheet of watercolor paper using artists masking tape.
- If you want to, you can start your watercolor painting by first applying a light wash of color before you begin with your top layer. This can create a lovely layered effect!
- Spray the back of your watercolor stencil using spray adhesive and stick it on your watercolor paper.
- Start applying washes of watercolor over the paper and the stencils. You will find that to paint into the crevices, and small spaces of the stencil you need to manipulate your paintbrush. It is important that the watercolor paint doesn’t bleed underneath the stencil, so always work with a light touch.
- Allow the paint to dry fully before removing the stencil.
- Use warm water and soap to gently wash the stencil (if using a plastic watercolor stencil) so that it can be reused and is ready for the next time!
What do you need before you start watercolor stenciling?
- Watercolor Paper
- Spray Adhesive
- Watercolor paint
- Soft bristle brush
- Paper Towel
- A jar of clean water
- A palette
- A heat tool (this is great for speeding up the watercolor paint drying process!)
Tips for Using Stencils for Watercolor Painting
- Remember to work on paper that is has a heavy weight (thicker, and stronger than plain printing paper). This is so that the paper doesn’t buckle or warp when you paint watercolor on the surface. It’s a good idea to work on paper that is at least 300gsm. You can choose to work on cold-pressed paper which usually has more of a tooth (more textured), or hot-pressed paper – which is smoother.
- Watercolor paint becomes lighter as it dries. If you want more vibrant colors in your stencil painting then you need to layer washes of color to build up the intensity of the color.
- Keep your colors clean. Wash your brush well between using different colors.
- Test out your color combinations on strips of used or offcuts of watercolor paper before you begin your artwork. It’s always a great idea with any art medium to play and explore the medium before you begin. This helps you to understand what the medium is capable of and what you can achieve.
Making your own Watercolor Stencils
If you would like to take stenciling a step further you can make your own stencils for watercolor painting! Here are some quick steps for making your own stencils.
- Choose an image, shape, or pattern you would like to paint. (You can even draw your own design in pencil, pen, or digitally on your iPad or PC using Photoshop, procreate or even just paint!)
- Place your design underneath a mylar transparency sheet.
- Using a permanent marker trace your design onto the mylar transparency sheet. (Alternatively, you can also print out the digital design onto the mylar paper with an inkjet printer.)
- On a cutting mat, use a craft knife to carefully cut out your design.
- And you have your own stencil!
This is a great video on how to make your own stencils for watercolor painting.
If you haven’t tried watercolor painting you definitely should! It is a great way to explore art making and craft. Make your own stencil for watercolor painting or try out the recommended ones in my list above! As always I would love to hear about your creative art making!
Other articles you may enjoy…