2 examples show how the same stencil is used to create both a relief carving
and an inlay.
(click on the image to view a larger example)
There are a number
of ways to transfer an image onto the materal you are going to carve,
engrave, or etch on.
If you are a good
free hand artist, you could draw directly onto your subject. You can
first coat the surface with Whiteout or white enamel spray paint, to
provide a better surface to draw on.
Rubber Stamp, Picture,
Most artists prefer
the stencil approach since it is a lot faster than free hand. Stencils
can be free hand drawn, printed from a computer, traced from a photo,
or produced on a copy machine. You can also cut out a picture from a
magazine or use a rubber stamp. These are the least expensive methods
and work well if there are no fine line details. Once you have the image
on the stencil, it is a good idea to use a spray fixative or
clear coat over the image to prevent smudging it with your fingers.
Since the glue stick is water-soluble it makes removal easy when you
are finished engraving. This is a definite advantage when working with
delicate items such as eggshells.
way of getting an image onto a surface is called solvent transfer. With
this method you use a laser printer or copy machine to create an image
on a piece of paper. You then take the paper and lay it with the toner
side facing the working surface. Once the paper is taped into position,
wet the backside of the paper with a Q-tip dipped in acetone. The acetone
dissolves the toner and transfers it to the work surface. This method
will not work on certain surfaces. Nonporous surfaces require a very
controlled application of acetone, otherwise the image will blur. Heat
is another way of transferring the toner to the surface you are working
on. A cloths iron works well for this.
Slide Decal Paper
speed products can provide you with 2 types of water slide decal paper
that you can print or copy onto. They are very thin and work well when
you have a lot of fine details. One type puts the image on the topcoat,
the other puts the image on the glue itself and you apply the lacquer
topcoat yourself. This puts the image closest to the work surface and
is best for extra fine detail engraving.
a line through the stencil requires a little more pressure than without
it, so you will need to practice first. Use a rubber stamp, carbon paper
tracing or the solvent transfer method to apply the design directly
onto the work surface. In this way, you wont have to worry about applying
the correct amount of pressure to cut through the stencil. Carbon paper
leaves a dark blue line, which works well for light colored objects.
With dark colored objects a white carbon paper is required. Craft and
fabric outlets sell a white transfer paper. Once the design is put on
your subject, use a clear coat, or fixative, to prevent the design from
Carver has an excellent waterproof stencil, which is made from a thin
Mylar sheet, with a peel off backing, it is called repro paper. Also,
it is transparent and can be used to trace on. This stencil works especially
well if you are going to use water or have fine details. This material
tends to form bubbles when it is applied. Piercing them with a sharp
object can eliminate the problem. You can run this stencil through a
copy machine or laser printer. Once the stencil is applied, simply trace
the lines, cutting through the stencil into your subject material. It
will take some practice to develop the proper cutting force to use.
It does take more effort to engrave the surface when you are cutting
through the stencil. This stencil material is available for $1.15 per