Reuseable Stencils for Enamelling

Thursday Tip

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles to do with enamelling and making jewellery. I hope you find them useful. I am writing about issues and problems I have experienced (and hopefully overcome), and tips and shortcuts concerning enamelling and making jewellery that I have come across in the course of the past twenty years or so. In this post I am going to tell you about how I make reusable stencils for use in my enamelling.

Reusable Stencils for Enamelling

There are many different materials you can make stencils from. My favourite is to use Transparent Film similar to that used for OHP slides. They are perfect as they are not too thick and are perfectly flat. Sometimes though I use the transparent windows you get on packaging. The main advantage of this material is that it is reusable an infinite number of times and is of course waterproof.

Making Reusable Stencils

I trace my design onto tracing paper with a fine pen. I then stick this tracing onto my transparent film. Then I cut out the shapes with either fine decoupage scissors of a scalpel and a cutting mat. You finish up with both positive and negative shapes that you can use at different stages. I make little tabs of sellotape to make them easier to pick up cleanly. If there are a lot of very similar pieces like the windows on my Brighton Pavilion Clock, I number them.

Using Reuseable Stencils

I spray the surface with a very fine spray of water. Not too much as you don’t want to flood it. Then I place my stencils carefully into position. The thin film of water hold them in place. Then I sift my chosen colours into place. With very fine point tweezers, carefully lift your stencils. With the larger ones it often helps to hold the piece at an angle so any stray enamel doesn’t fall in the wrong place. Dry carefully and fire. I put the tiny stencils into glass pots to dry so all the enamel falls off. they can then be reused. I hope you find this Tip useful to enable you to make reusable stencils for enamelling. Let me know how you get on.


  1. Muchas gracias por compartir, sí creo que es muy importante promover estos consejos a las nuevas generaciones de esmaltistas por el mundo. Otra alternativa son los separadores de carpeta de argollas (transparencia sin brillos y a elegir con muy suave textura o completamente tersos). Un abrazo desde mi festivo país!

  2. Great tip, Linda. I had to think about OHP – overhead projector? I’ll now start to hoard bits of friendly plastic and hope they stay flatter than cornflakes box cardboard. Mind you, some of my old cardboard stencils have been in use for a dozen years – but they do misbehave.

    • Yes. Overhead Projector is right. Sorry, should have been clearer. I think for me the advantage of plastic is that it is easier to make the stencils very small and detailed. The windows on the Brighton Pavilion clock are only about 20mm x 5mm which is pretty small. Beng thin as well, the enamel doesn’t pile up around them.