The holidays can be a wonderful time. Gathering family and friends for quality time is so important, but I have felt like my family get-togethers have been stuck in a rut. This year I wanted to have a holiday gathering that would be different. Sure I could have hosted an ugly sweater party or a white elephant party or even a cookie baking party, but I have already been to all of those and was kind of sick of them. Lately, I have been kind of obsessed with my JRV (Jami Ray Vintage) Stencils. In fact, I am so obsessed with them that I am now a retailer and sell them out of my Project Shop Booth (#134) at Plaza Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Lincoln Park, MI. (You can read more about why I love these amazing stencils in my blog post - How to be an A+ Stenciler.) The stencils also pair perfectly with DIY Paint that I also sell and love. Plus DIY Paint al natural, non-toxic, and easy water clean up so it can be used indoors with children.
For Christmas, I like to make homemade gifts (shocking I know), but you never know exactly what the recipient wants. This year I decided to host a stencil party with JRV Stencils. I sent out an email invitation and included pictures of all the stencils that they could choose from with the dimensions. I asked for them to RVSP if they could come and let me know which stencil they would like to use. I also told them that I would provide wood for the stencils or they could bring something from home the right size to stencil. (Did you know you can even stencil on fabric and heat set it with an iron?) If you were hosting a party and did not have a surplus of salvaged wood you could also buy the blank canvases from a craft store to use.
Here are the stencils with the measurements that I used in my email invitation.
Hot Cocoa JRV Stencil - 11.5" x 7"
Farm Fresh Christmas Trees JRV Stencil (top of the stencil only) 7.5" x 11.5" or
Farm Fresh Christmas Trees JRV Stencil (full stencil) 11.5" x 11"
Merry Christmas JRV Stencil 11.5" x 7"
& And To All a Goodnight JRV Stencil 11.5' x 7"
For the night of the party, I had all the wood precut, stencils, brushes, paint, and wax was set up. The tables were covered with plastic table cloths so after the meal my family & friends could paint right where they were seated. As my guests finished eating I had them paint the first coat of paint on their piece. I used DIY Paint in my FIFO (first in, first out) bottles so I could easily squirt out paint for each person. I used small paper plates to hold the paint. I also had hairdryers ready to help speed up the drying time. I think you could also have everyone paint the base coat when they arrive and then eat while it was drying. Our food was ready and we were hungry so we ate first and used hairdryers to dry the paint.
Stencil Party Set-Up
After the first coat of paint was dry the stencils were placed onto the boards and taped down. I love to use blue painter's tape to hold my stencils. Many of my guests had stenciled before, but it had been a while. I gave everyone a JRV Stencil brush from Paint Pixie and showed them how to offload the brush so that there was very little paint. I also showed them the proper way to stencil with a stippling technique where you go up and down with the brush. Then everyone got stenciling. If you wanted to save on supplies you could control the colors of paint and number of brushes and just have your guests rotate through each step.
My mom using JRV Stencil with multiple colors.
My Dad first time stenciling.
After the paint was dry it was time to apply a clear wax to protect the sign. We used DIY Paint clear wax. I gave everyone a 1" chip brush and a paper plate with a little DIY Paint Clear Wax on it. I told them to brush the wax on to the sign. I also let them know about wax-freak-out. When you apply wax to DIY Paint it does darken the color as it soaks in. When it dries it will lighten back up. When you use DIY Paint & waxes you always know when the piece is dry due to the amazing color change. I have not found success with trying to speed up the wax drying process so don't use hair dryers. Wax drying time is a perfect time to take a break for coffee and dessert.
Need help with using wax? Check out my post on How to Wax Furniture.
Once the wax is dry you can use a lint-free rag or a buff brush to buff the piece and reveal a shine. Buffing is one of my favorite steps. It really makes the piece come to life. I also had picture hangers for my guests that I offered to nail into their boards if they wanted before they left.
Final projects. All stencils used were JRV except the Let It Snow.
The stencils turned out great and everyone really had a wonderful time. Maybe it is time you try a different type of holiday party? Stencil parties don't have to only be for the holidays. I am thinking of having a spring stencil party, too. If you are local you can purchase the JRV Stencils, DIY Paint & wax, brushes, and FIFO bottles from me at my booth in Plaza & Antiques & Collectibles Mall in Lincoln Park, MI or you can shop my online store and have everything delivered to your door.