DIY Stamps, Stencils and Layers by Helen O’Hara

Hello everyone!

This week I have a bumper 3 part tutorial for you on how to make and combine stamps, stencils and layers. 

There are 3 videos so be sure to watch them all. First up, I’m making stamps with adhesive craft foam and a soldering iron. 

Craft foam is usually available in the kids section of craft stores. Be sure to get the one with adhesive backing.

Using a soldering iron to melt and cut foam can give off some fumes, so be sure to work outside and wear a mask. You need to cut on a heat proof surface such as a glass table, glass chopping board or ceramic tile. Make sure your rulers are metal- not plastic- or else they will melt! 

I used some wooden and cardboard templates to draw around and cut into the foam with my soldering iron but you can just draw with a ruler or freehand. Keep the paper backing on as you cut. Mind your fingers! 

Details and patterns can be added with the tip of the soldering iron.

Once the foam is cut, you can really easily peel the stamps off the release paper and stick them onto a backing. I’m using Coreflute plastic (often use in real-estate signs), but any scrap plastic will do. You can even use cardboard but it will go soggy after using the stamps for a while.

The stamps are now ready to use in your Gelli Arts® projects, but you might like to make matching stencils – read on and watch video 2 for how.

To make my stencils, I’m using Craft Plastic and Dura-Lar both from Grafix®.

Take a stamp and roll some ink or paint onto it and print right onto the plastic. Be sure to leave a boarder around the shape.

Use scissors and a craft knife to cut the stencils out. If you are careful you can get both a positive and negative shape.

To see how to use these stencils and your stamps in a layered print watch video 3.


In this project, I’m using acrylic paints and fabric but you could print onto paper as well. If using fabric you will need a smooth fabric with a high thread count. Here, I’m using cotton but satin works well too.I have masked off the edge of my Gelli Arts® plates to get a straight edge but this is optional.

You could start by adding some paint using one of your stamps.

Or, you could roll on some paint and then pull parts off with a stamp.

You could mask areas with a stencil and then roll paint over the top before pulling the stencil off. You want to leave some parts with no paint at all.

It’s really important to LET THE PAINT DRY before starting each layer. Keep layering paint using stamps and stencils until the whole plate is covered in paint. In warm weather it should dry quickly. I’m working on several Gelli Arts® plates at a time so I don’t have to wait! You can use combs and bubble wrap and other textures as well. Keep layering!

The WHOLE PLATE MUST BE COVERED WITH PAINT before you begin the last step. If in doubt just roll a thin layer of paint over the whole thing and again, let it dry.

When it’s time to make the print ensure all the paint is dry and then roll a layer of white paint over the whole surface. It’s worth spending a little time on this to make sure every single bit is covered. 

Then, pull the masking tape off to reveal a nice straight edge if using. Whilst the paint is still wet, lay your paper or fabric over the top and smooth down to make good contact. Leave it all to dry. 


Once completely dry, peel off the fabric or paper carefully. All your layers should come up together.

Here are some of the prints I made using this technique. I hope you enjoy it too. 



Michael’s Stores

Blick Art Materials


Helen’s blog:
Gelli Arts® Instagram
Gelli Arts® Facebook
Sign up to receive emails + special offers from Gelli Arts®

2 thoughts on “DIY Stamps, Stencils and Layers by Helen O’Hara”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: