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Thread: Making Quilting Stencils / Marking your quilt

  1. #1
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    Oct 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    Making Quilting Stencils / Marking your quilt

    Does anyone make their own quilting stencils? I hate the idea of buying them - my blocks are seldom standard sizes, and often I'd need to buy a stencil in several sizes in order to do my quilt. So I'm trying to figure out how to mark my own designs on the quilt top. I tried buying some template plastic and cutting that to make a stencil, but it was (I guess) too thick, because cutting an intricate curve was a complete disaster. So, do you have any suggestions for making my own stencils?

    I've also tried sewing over paper templates - and I hate having to pull the paper out later.

    I'm also having a heck of a time finding something to mark with. I bought a pounce pad today, and that's not too bad, but I'm finding it doesn't always leave a legible line. none of the pencils I've tried are working at all. not sure if it's my fabric colour, or something wrong with the pencils, but unless I press REALLY hard, I get nothing. And they all say to mark lightly.

    Any and all suggestions appreciated. I'm getting desperate today.

  2. #2
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Since you already have the pounce pad, why not trace your design on template plastic and punch small holes in it with an awl. You can make the holes as large as you need so you can see your pounce marks.

  3. #3
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Northern Michigan
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    template plastic is a bit different than stencil plastic- stencil plastic is often cut with a stencil knife- which heats up- melt-cuts the plastic- template plastic is often made to not melt so you can touch your applique templates with an iron- so that may be part of the problem you had-
    there is also a little swivel knife (available at Nancy's notions) that works great for getting into those tight little places it is one of those tools i don't know how i lived without- i use it so much! and very inexpensive. (i think on the pages with rotory cutters & tools in her catalog) i have the swivel knife and the mini rotory cutter- both are used alot when i am cutting out appliques.
    as for marking quilts i generally use chalk- you can brush or wash it off - it shows up well- is available in lots of colors- works for me.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  4. #4
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    North Pole
    Great idea Bernie..I would love to make my own templates too. I just started using stencils with my hand quilting., I just finished a quilt using a Dritz water soluble pencil to mark with. I worked great and cleaned right up with a damp rag. It was white on a dark color. I will be going back to see if they make a dark pencil to use on light fabrics to try next.

  5. #5
    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Asheville, Lake Vermilion, Tarpon Springs
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    Try using Glad wrap. Really. Sounds crazy, but it works. Try looking at this

    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

  6. #6
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    I've used many different methods for marking for machine quilting. I've used masking/painting tape for straight lines. I lightly mark on dark fabric with a Fons&Porter pump chalk pencil. I have used Glad press &seal to quilt through for occasional designs but it like paper, needs to be removed. I am slowly building my FMQ design skills. When I do that, I use the block pattern to determine a design to quilt within it. As for stencils, I buy a basic shape stencil from my LQS and use all of it or parts of it to mark the top. If you want an all over design, you can put a large print on the quilt back and quilt upside done following the fabric pattern. Some people use tissue paper and using an unthreaded needle, they sew over a drawn design and pounce through the needle marks to mark the quilt. You will need to try different methods to see what works for you. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    If you can find some old x-ray film, it works wonders as stencil material....call your doc's office or maybe the local hospital radiology department and you might luck out.
    If you feel like you're special...it's 'cause you are!

  8. #8
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    New Jersey
    http://quiltingstencils.com/makeyourown.aspx Here is a link to the stencil company site on the page that contains the materials to make your own stencils. This is also a great place to buy stencils if you need something premade. They have one of the biggest selections. Best of both worlds. Supplies to make your own and large selection of premade. Hope this helps.

  9. #9
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Las Vegas, NV
    I also use many sizes, so EQ7 comes in handy...just find a design, add it to the quilt, and print. I have used a light box to draw on the actual quilt with either the blue water removable pens or sewline pens. It's a little time consuming, but it is so much nicer than sewing over paper. I use golden threads paper often, pretty easy to tear without damaging stitches, but it is time consuming to take out all the paper (I use an archival pen to trace onto the paper-have found that sharpies sometimes transfer to the fabric). My next thing to try is like "Tartan" said, sew without a needle thru printer paper and use the iron-off pounce with one of those sponge type paint brushes. Also thinking about trying some free-hand, but it does make me nervous! I actually used the Glad press-n-seal for a while, but it started gumming up my needles and skipping stitches, so I gave that one up.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SittingPretty's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    East Central Wisconsin
    I've heard of using tulle fabric in an embroidery hoop. You mark the design on the tulle with a marker. Then you trace the design through the tulle onto your fabric. You could use a permanent marker on the tulle (NOT ON YOUR QUILT!), if you want to save it, but I guess you could use a washout marker, if you want to use the tulle over again with a different design. As for marking your quilt, some people use the Crayola washable markers. I, too, have found that I have to press harder with the other pencils than the "light touch" in the directions. Otherwise, I like marking with chalk, but it does seem to brush off some.

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