Nautical Star Burlap Banner: Stencil Material Tutorial

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

I think one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a new home feel like your home is through hanging pictures and decorating bare walls.  Don’t you?  Even just adding one piece onto a previously blank wall can infuse a space with so much warmth and life.

And yet, I find that the initial excitement over decorated walls all too quickly wears off for me, and wall art can quickly become “white noise,” fading into the background.  It’s like I don’t even see it anymore.

{Does this happen to anyone else?}

Well, my solution to keeping things fresh and new for us is to change out some of our wall art with the changing seasons.  And there’s the perfect spot at the base of our living room gallery wall for seasonal banners.

So, I’ve been slowly but surely building up my banner arsenal.  So far, I’ve got fall covered…

…Christmas…

…Valentine’s Day…

…and now, my newest banner on the block has a patriotic vibe going on, perfect for this season between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.  I give to you, my Nautical Star Banner:

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

The best part is that when I was looking up free clip art from which to create my stencil, I had no idea that the star I envisioned is referred to as a “nautical star.”  I only thought of it as a vintage metal star, but clearly, this star was meant for our walls.  We are nautical-obsessed, after all.

For You

Today, I’d love to share with you all three things:

  1. A FREE Silhouette cut file for the nautical star stencil I designed.
  2. A step by step tutorial for how to use one of Silhouette America’s newest and most ground-breaking products, the *stencil material.
  3. A clickable collage of 27 other patriotic creations by my Silhouette Challenge buddies.  So.  Much.  Inspiration.

Oh, and I lied.  There’s one more thing:

4.  I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram for a FREE Silhouette starter kit of your choice.  And just so you know, it’s a quick one, over in 48 hours!  #earlybirdgetstheworm

And now, because the type A in me is diggin’ the number system I just developed, let’s go through these one at a time.  And you can hop around to whatever is most valuable to you…or even better, all four!

1.  Free Cut File

For you folk with your own digital craft-cutter, I’m happy to share the Nautical Star Stencil I created with y’all in the form of a FREE cut file.  [Fine print: This design is for personal use and is not to be used for commercial purposes.]  Just click on the image below to download the file from box.com.  Note: the file below is for V2, which is compatible with the new V3 software.  However, if you prefer to use the V3 file, click HERE.  

Free Silhouette Cut File for a Nautical Star Stencil...perfect for a patriotic banner or nautical decor.

Click HERE to download the .studio file from box.com

2.  Stencil Material Tutorial

Step 1.  Design the stencil.  I found a free clip art image of a nautical star that I traced in Silhouette Studio.  Then, I used “bridges” in order to connect the “islands in my design.”  Essentially, I used the weld and eraser tools to create those bridges from tiny rectangles.  This allowed me to have one intact stencil for my entire design (the shadowed nautical star and the square outline).

Creating "bridges" to connect "islands" in a stencil design.  A Silhouette tutorial via thinkingcloset.com

If you’re trying to create a stencil out of text, then here’s a great video with tips on how to do that.

Step 2.  Test-cut your design on cardstock.  I’ve made too many mistakes not to do test-runs.  And since I’ve never cut a stencil with bridges before, I wanted to ensure I had enough support on those triangles as well as the square border in order to keep the whole stencil intact while still allowing room for paint.  Lo and behold, I did!

Step 3.  Cut your design out of the stencil material.  The stencil material comes on a 12″ x 24″ roll, so you don’t need a mat.

The Silhouette stencil material comes on a roll...so no mat needed!

Instead, just feed the stencil material directly into your machine.  Don’t forget when loading your stencil material to select “load media” instead of “load mat.”

The Silhouette stencil material comes on a roll...so no mat needed!

As always, I did a test cut on my stencil material to make sure my blade settings were right on.  As you may recall from my first tutorial using the new V3 software, the test cut button is a little tricky to find.  Make sure you don’t select “send to Silhouette” at the bottom of the CUT SETTINGS window (see above screenshot), but instead proceed to SEND TO SILHOUETTE window.  There, you’ll see a teeny tiny triangle in the upper right-hand corner of the gray box.  Select it while your mat/media is loaded and your machine will cut out a tiny box and triangle in the upper right-hand corner.

How to make a test cut in the V3 software for Silhouette Studio via thinkingcloset.com

I’m really glad I did do a test cut because it turned out that my V3 software was acting buggy and even when I manually set my blade to the recommended settings for stencil material (blade 9, depth 18, speed 1) it wasn’t cutting through.  I have a Mac and was able to switch back to my V2 software (legacy edition) without replacing my V3 software, and it cut with the recommended settings no problem.  So, all that to say, if you run into cutting issues, it might not be the media, but could be a bug in the new software.

Step 4.  Weed the unwanted parts of your stencil.  First, I just weeded or removed the sections of the stencil that were unwanted.

Weed out the unwanted portions of the design to prep your stencil for use.

Step 5.  Peel the paper backing off of your stencil and apply it to your project surface.  My absolute favorite thing about the new stencil material is that it has a sticky backing, which helps create a strong bond between the stencil and material you are stenciling.

The best thing about the new stencil material is the sticky backing...really helps prevent bleeding and makes it great for re-use!

In my case, I decided to use–no surprise here–cream-colored burlap.  Even though it blankets my entire workspace in tiny hairs and is a beast to clean up, I just love the rustic look so much that I’m willing to put up with it!

Cream-colored burlap and crisp apple strudel!

The hairs did get stuck to the stencil each time I used it, but I only needed to cut 2 total stencils in order to paint 10 stars…a much better ratio than if I had been using vinyl or freezer paper.

With a fibrous material like burlap, a stencil cut from the stencil material lasted five times!

{Adhesive back of stencil after 5 uses. Not too shabby considering I used burlap that LOVED to shed!}

Step 6.  Apply your paint or ink to the project surface.  For my color palette, I chose to stay in the neutral zone not only because I sometimes like to do that with holidays, but because then it would better match our living room gallery wall. So, I mixed my slate-colored paint, and since this is a decor item that I don’t plan to wash, I used plain acrylic.  However, if you are stenciling a clothing item you plan to launder, check out this post for tips on using fabric medium with your acrylic paint.

As always when stenciling, I made sure the edges of my stencil were firmly adhered to the burlap; and then, I used a foam brush to dab the paint onto the burlap in an up and down motion, not side to side.

Applying paint in an up and down dabbing motion when stenciling: protects your surface from bleeding paint.

Using this method, I barely had any bleeding, which is remarkable considering what a fibrous fabric burlap is!  I dare say that my first foray into using the stencil material was extremely successful; and I really see this as being a game-changer for those who want to re-use stencils.

TIP: If you can’t complete your project in one sitting, simply cover your paint cup (brushes included) in saran wrap and store them in the fridge. Depending on how much paint you have in your cup, you can go 1 – 2 days without your paint drying up.  In fact, the paint behaved much better after 2 days in the fridge!

Step 7.  Touch up the unpainted “bridges.”  I set a timer and after 20 minutes with the overhead fan on, I could peel away the stencil without worry of the paint being wet still.

Peeling up the stencil after sufficient dry time.

Then, I took a very tiny paintbrush and simply hand-painted over the gaps of paint in the star and the square border where the bridges had been.

Adding final touch-ups to the nautical star burlap squares.

And I repeated step 5 and 6 until all 10 of my nautical star squares were painted.

I'm impressed with how easy it is to use the Silhouette stencil material for stenciling on burlap!

Step 8.  Cut out your burlap squares.  I then just grabbed a pair of scissors and cut out my burlap squares, leaving a small border beyond the painted outline.

Cutting out the nautical star burlap squares.

Step 9.  Glue your burlap squares to some twine, hang, and enjoy!  I used my Burlap Love Banner as a guide, along with a ruler, to help me with spacing.  And then, I simply adhered the twine using a string of hot glue to the backs the squares.

Assembling the Nautical Star Burlap Banner.

Assembling the Nautical Star Burlap Banner.

Annnnd, here she is in her final hanging place:

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

Seeing this project hung up as “the new banner on the block,” I’m delighted with how it turned out.

I love that I can call it my Fourth of July banner…but it also works as everyday decor.  And that’s rather convenient because someone (cough cough) likes to leave her holiday decor up long after the holiday has passed.  In fact, someone (cough cough) may have left a certain Christmas tree up until Valentine’s Day a few years ago.  But I’m not naming names.  {Wink.}

Nautical Star Burlap Banner: love that this can be used for everyday decor as well as for the Fourth of July!  Also, is it not amazing that you can cut stencil material with a Silhouette machine?!  Game-changer!

3.  Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge buddies and I are all sharing patriotic projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

Monogrammed Patriotic Serving Tray Captain American Romper Patriotic Burlap Stars (Pottery Barn Knockoff) Patriotic Onesie {Plus Free Cut File} Patriotic Shirts with Layered Heat Transfer Vinyl DIY Patriotic Tote Bag Red, White & Blue - Patriotic Decorations How To Create DIY Temporary Tattoos Made in America Freezer Paper July 4th Shirts Red, White, and Blue Paper Star Lanterns Fourth of July Rustic Flag Paper Sparklers Pretty Patriotic Pillow Nautical Star Burlap Banner: Stencil Material Tutorial Patriotic Map Art Wooden Fire Crackers; July Silhouette Challenge DIY Chalkboard and Vinyl World Map Let's Talk about Red White and Blue! DIY 4th of July Baby Outfit How To Make A Pinwheel {+ Free Template} Patriotic Nail Art Star Jewelry Vinyl on Wood Blocks Land That I Love Red, White, and Blue Patriotic Placemats DIY Paint Splattered Patriotic Tote Bag Patriotic Mason Jar Candle Holders

1. Our Rosey Life // 2. My Mom Made That // 3. The Kim Six Fix // 4. Create & Babble // 5. The Frill of Life // 6. My Paper Craze // 7. Kate’s Paper Creations // 8. Simply Kelly Designs // 9. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 10. Mama Sonshine // 11. Lil Mrs. Tori // 12. Tried & True // 13. It Happens in a Blink // 14. McCall Manor // 15. The Thinking Closet // 16. unOriginal Mom // 17. Sowdering About // 18. Weekend Craft // 19. The Outlandish Momma // 20. Adventures in All Things Food // 21. Practically Functional // 22. Silhouette School // 23. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 24. Ginger Snap Craft // 25. Pineapples And Pinecones // 26. Black and White Obsession // 27. TitiCrafty // 28. Architecture of a Mom //

4. Instagram Flash Giveaway!

Instagram Flash Giveaway @thinkingcloset!  The prize?  A Silhouette starter kit of your choice!  Only 48 hours: runs through 10a EST 6/11/14, so don't delay!

If you have an Instagram account (and if you don’t I think you should consider it; Instagram is my fav-or-ite!), don’t forget to stop by to enter my giveaway!  The prize?  A starter kit of your choice!  All you have to do to is:

  1. Make sure you’re following Silhouette America and yours truly on Instagram.
  2. Re-post my giveaway graphic to your Instagram feed with #starterkitgiveaway and @thinkingcloset in the caption.  To re-post a photo on Instagram, the easiest way to do it is to take a screenshot (here’s how) or you can save the pic above (right click on a computer or hold down on a smart phone), add it to your phone camera roll, and post it to Instagram!

This is a short one: only 48 hours, wrapping up at 10a EST on Wednesday, June 11th, 2014, so don’t dilly-dally.  Git your sweet self to Instagram to enter!  And I’ll tag the winner in this same post on Wednesday, so keep a look out.

{Fine print: sorry international friends; this one is for US and Canada residents, 18 years of age and older only.}

And this concludes another epically-long post.  Hopefully it added a bit of brightness to your Monday!

{I like to link up at these parties.}

*Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase after clicking through, I receive a small commission.  Please rest assured that as always, I only recommend products that I use and love like my Silhouette Cameo!

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Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    LOVE this. Nautical + Americana is one of my favorite looks. Ready for a terrible, terrible confession? I bought myself a Silhouette in November. I took it out of the box sometime over the winter. And I still haven’t made anything with it yet!

  2. Marmie says

    This is just perfect for summer…4th of July…and just so vintage and nautical! Will you put it in your nautical bedroom after the summer?
    Pinning this for future use as our family room is Americana style and this would look great!
    All of the patriotic projects are wonderful and unique…can’t believe it’s getting so close to the 4th!

  3. says

    This is fabulous burlap banner, Lauren! Love the idea of using stencil. Question, did you use also fabric paint from Silhouette or can I use any kind of paint? THANKS!

  4. says

    Love the burlap banner! It’s perfect!
    I see that you switched to the “New” version of studio. Do you like it? and do you recommend me to move up? I do ALOT of print and cuts and I’ve heard that is where Silhouette has fallen short on the new software.

  5. says

    LOVE! I am so obsessed with nautical, but unfortunately in a land locked area, it seems like there are limited opportunities to make it part of my home decor. Love the painting on the burlap. It’s gorgeous!

  6. says

    Trust you to find a way to integrate nautical and patriotic into a single project. :D I love how it came out, and it fits your decor to a T. As a matter of fact, I think it fits better than any of your other banners do!

    P.S. – It’s great to see that the stencil material holds up well!

  7. says

    Was so excited to see the finished product, Lauren – simply gorgeous! LOVE the burlap color you chose! Just an fyi that burlapisthebomb.com is an available domain name…could be a winner!! ;) Big hugs!

  8. says

    Lauren,
    Great idea incorporating the Star banner with a way to use at least all summer or with other seasons and added decor for fall or winter too?
    SC Love,
    Karen Marie
    Dragonfly & lily Pads

  9. says

    I had no idea you could create a stencil on your silhouette! I have been wanting to make over my filing cabinet, and was planning on buying a stencil, but would love to make one instead. However, the island-bridge thing is totally confusing me. Is there a tutorial that explains it? Your banner looks so cute!

  10. says

    This burlap banner is awesome. I’ve been wanting to get the stencil material and try making my own. I’ve just been using the vinyl for my stencils. I’ll have to grab some next time I go to Michaels.. You did a great job with it!

  11. says

    I have been trying and trying to figure out how to do this in the Cricut. We have the nautical star design, but turning it into a stencil with the “bridges” is the challenging part. Any chance you have some experience with Cricut machines??

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