Stenciling Sherlock

Stenciling Sherlock

First off, congratulations to Lesley, who won last months Cameo giveaway!  Hooray!  You have a ton of fun ahead of you.

And now for today: it’s challenge day!  This month’s challenge is Fabric!  I decided to tackle a rather intricate freezer paper stencil.  And what should I choose for my inspiration?  Why nothing but the best!  Sherlock’s wallpaper!

Sherlock Season 2 Wallpaper by Spigot
Sherlock Season 2 Wallpaper by Spigot

Don’t know much about Sherlock?  It’s a BBC television show based on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books.  Moffat stays pretty true to the books, and I love the interplay between Sherlock (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (played by Martin Freeman).  If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly suggest it.  Right now there are 3 series (seasons) out, and each series has 3 episodes.  Be aware ahead of time that the episodes are 90 min. long (not including commercials).  It’s really great because they cram a lot of story in there, but does require that you set aside some time to watch them.  You may find yourself wanting to watch them all together as well, which can be dangerous.  As a side note, if you are in the US, Series 1&2 are available on Netflix, and Series 1,2,&3 are available on Amazon Instant Video and in the iTunes store.  Rumor mill has it that series 4&5 have been confirmed, though there was a 2 year wait between series 2&3.

Anywho.  On to the crafting portion of this post!  Even if you’re not a Sherlock fan, you should enjoy this post.  It’s useful to anyone who wants to do freezer paper stencils, and particulary to those who are wondering about intricate patterns!  This post is part of a multi-post project.  The final product is a toiletry bag, which I made as a Christmas gift for my Husband.  The rest of the shaving gear are gifts from Christmas past.  They include a hand turned razor and badger hair brush by Run of the Mill, a ceramic shaving mug by Andersen Pottery, tweed scented shaving soap by Dirty Deeds Soap, and Sherlock aftershave by Nevermore Body Company.


I’m not going to go over working with the image to get it to be a stencil, but here’s a basic rundown of the steps:

  • Use a graphic editing program you are familiar with
  • Make sure you have a continuous design.  All of the parts you won’t be putting paint on need to be touching (for me, this was the white section).
  • For a repeating pattern, you can fix up the part that repeats, and then copy/paste it until you fill the area you want.
  • Make sure that all of the parts you’re keeping (white, in my case) have sufficiently thick lines.  These don’t need to be really thick, but they shouldn’t be so close to the black that you see grey pixels up close.
  • When tracing in Studio, err on the side of having the lines inside the actual border of the image instead of overflowing.
  • Use the internal offset feature if you feel your lines are still too thin.

Got it?  Let’s cut and stencil!


Download the FREE cut file here!



  • 12×12 piece of freezer paper
  • Brayer (not shown here)
  • Black and Yellow acrylic paint (or fabric paint)
  • Fabric paint medium
  • Pouncing brush
  • Mixing pots and mixing brush
  • Canvas fabric (at least 12×12)
  • Straight edge, cutting mat, and rotary blade (for cutting the freezer paper to size – not shown here)
  • Iron and ironing board (not shown here)
  • Silhouette cut file (download it for free here!)

**If you do not have a silhouette, you can try to use the same process I outlined for cutting vinyl without a machine.  There is a .pdf file in the download above.  However, as this is a very intricate pattern, be aware that, while possible,  it will take a good amount of time and dexterity to produce similar results.  There are resources that talk about how to print directly on freezer paper.  I have not tried these, and have seen some instances where this can screw up your printer, so print at your own discretion.  **

Step 1: Preparing your Freezer Paper

Ok,  here’s the thing with working with delicate stencils.  Use a new mat and blade – or at least one as close to new as you can get.  When I tried this with an older mat and blade (which were still in really good condition), it didn’t stick and started to tear.  I now have a mat and blade set aside specifically for delicate patterns.

To cut your freezer paper, use your rotary blade and cutting mat to achieve nice, straight lines.  This isn’t necessary, you could just use scissors, but I like nice straight lines.


Next up, use your brayer to press the freezer paper firmly onto the mat with the shiny side up.  This will give you a nice strong hold as well as help press out any of those pesky bubbles.


When you’re done, you’ll want to have it adhered nice and flat like so:


Step 2: Cut

Open up your file in Silhouette Studio.  I have the design sized to maximize the 12×12 sheet, but you could rotate it and scale it down for 8.5×11 if you have a Portrait.  The design is 11.5×8.725.  I started with a larger design to fit a piece of cloth 11×14, which is around some of the sizes I had seen in other dopp bag tutorials.  Then I sized it down to fit the paper.  I’m happy with this smaller size: he doesn’t travel with much (and I travel with even less).  **NOTE: if you’re not using a mirror image (mine is one – where mirroring produces the same image), make sure to choose Object – Transform – Flip Horizontally.


Now, head over to your cut styles and select custom.  Use the following settings: Speed 1, Thickness 10, Blade 3.  For regular freezer paper designs, I use a speed of 3.  Don’t forget to change the actual blade as well before cutting.  And remember, you’re cutting with the shiny side up.  (You’ll note that I now have a freezer paper setting.  You can save your own custom settings by hitting the plus sign in the lower left hand of the settings lists.  Thanks to the Silhouette Challenge Facebook Group for that tip!).  Go ahead and hit cut.  Then, make yourself a warm drink and curl up with a book for about a half an hour or so.  This will take a while….


Step 3: Weed

Oh, weeding.  I have a love/hate relationship with you.  I should note that I started this project as an HTV project, but it didn’t cut all the way through the vinyl.  I decided that the vinyl was still good, so I’d just hand weed it and use my xacto knife to cut through the parts that weren’t fully seperated.  Yeah.  15 hours of weeding later, I gave up and switched to freezer paper.  Have you ever had a moment where you know you’ve been spending too much time on something, but aren’t willing to give up?  Yeah.  Me to.

Never fear, weeding the freezer paper won’t take that long!  It will take a while though.  Plan on putting something on TV or starting up an audio book.  This took me half an episode of Sherlock to weed.

When weeding this project, you’ll want to choose your tool carefully.  Even though it’s a bit more dangerous, I decided to use a blade for weeding.  This let me get into the little nooks and crannies without worrying about tearing the design accidentally.  I also found that if I worked in ‘rows’ it helped me feel like I was making progress.


Don’t forget – be careful with that blade!


A nice clean weed!


And about 40 minutes later you’re done.

Craftermath alert! This is what my shirt looked like afterwards.  It’s almost like large snowflakes!  So pretty!  And yet I’m still finding bits in my carpet and couch.


Step 4: Peel

Don’t get all excited and just rip that sucker off!  You’ll actually rip it, seriously.  Some of that freezer paper is still pretty delicate!  So, here’s where we go back again.  Using the exacto knife, slowly go row by row (about an inch or so each) and peel up the pattern.  Carefully and slowly.  In fact, this took up the second half of the episode of Sherlock I was watching.  (Note that I had already done the first one, so I had a system down.)


Step 5: Iron

Ready to break out your iron?  Good.  Set it to the cotton setting.  Next you’ll be *carefully* and *slowly* pressing each piece into place.  Iron the freezer paper shiny side down.  This is the part of the paper that will adhere.  You want to spend time making sure that every little piece is adhering properly.  If not, you’ll get some paint under the freezer paper.  I didn’t get any blotchy paint, except where the freezer paper wasn’t sticking down fully.  Remember to go slowly and press, don’t glide over it until you’re all done, or you might rip your freezer paper.  This is another good place to go in rows.


Step 6: Paint

*Phew* We’ve made it to the painting part!  Go ahead and mix your paint to about a 50/50  mix of paint and fabric medium.  I usually err on the side of more medium.  (You see the yellow below, but I did the same thing with the black).


Then, using your pouncing brush to pounce over the entire sheet.  Don’t worry if you go over the edges of the paper, we’ll be trimming down the canvas during the sewing phase for this project anyways.


Here it is all painted up!


Now you just need to peel up all the freezer paper.  And guess what?  You can go wild here, because it doesn’t matter if you rip it anymore!  Just make sure you go through and get any pieces that might be hiding in the pattern.


Here it is, almost finished:


Some of the pieces came out really great, and others are crooked or have a bit of extra paint.  This appears to have everything to do with how much time I spent on the ironing portion.


And then, of course, since it’s Sherlock, we need to add the smiley face to the wallpaper.  You see, he got bored one day.  *shrug*  What can I say, it’s Sherlock!  I just hand painted these on.  I wish I had moved them over to the right a little more, so that the whole face would be on the front of the bag at the end, but they’re still mostly visible, so I’m ok with it.  I also should have gone back and put another layer of the yellow on.  Oh well, live and learn!


And finally, don’t forget to heat set your paint!


Well, that’s it for today’s post.  I’ll leave you with a reminder of what the finished project looks like and a bit of craftermath.  Next Monday I’ll post the directions for how to sew the bag.


Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

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

Some of us are trying something new this month!  Click on any of the numbered pictures in the image below to go straight to that project.  You can still click on the text link at the bottom as well.  I’m so excited to see some of these myself!

No-Sew Valentine's Day Pillows No-Sew Interchangeable Fabric Bunting Monogrammed Burlap Garden Flag Crawl, Walk, Bike Freezer Paper Stenciled Tote Bags DIY Bleach Spray Shirt Stenciling Sherlock Felt Star Wands Yoda Kid's T-Shirt Mark Your Territory- Dog Flags Nautical Pillows Big Sister Gift & Silhouette Cut File Nerdy Baby Onesies + Free Cut File Easy Easter Bunny Onesie - Silhouette Cameo Craft Fabric Envelopes for LEARNING LETTERS! (& cut file) Good Morning, Sunshine! Memo Board Hearts-A-Lot Burlap Pillow Cover Baby Quilt Surprise Holiday Banner Team Betty Tote Bag DIY Sock Minion Pretty Up Some Organza Bags Easy Heart Appliqued Onsies Bleach Pen Gel & Freezer Paper Stencils Made with the Silhouette Machine Valentines Baby Onesie & Boy's Shirt + Free Cut Files Valentine's OWL Always Love You T-shirt DIY Screen Printed Curtains Fabric Painted Quilted Wall Hanging Glitter Iron-On Top DIY Monogrammed T-shirts with Silhouette Heat Transfer Material Birthday Challenge Machine Applique with SIlhouette Cameo Fabric Applique Valentine's Day T-Shirt Cute as Cupid shirt Sew Cute Applique Rhino Onesie Upcycled Birchbox Cameo Accesory Organizer Customizing textiles with Heat Transfer Vinyl (working title) Easy Fabric Art Lady Bug Tote Bag with Silhouette Rhinestones Mommy and Em's Coordinated Aprons Canvas sketch project and a share Foxy Lady Pajamas Teddy Bear

1. A Tossed Salad Life // 2. unOriginal Mom // 3. The Turquoise Home // 4. It’s Always Craft Time // 5. Weekend Craft // 6. Practically Functional // 7. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 8. Cutesy Crafts // 9. Architecture of a Mom // 10. Black and White Obsession // 11. Lil’ Mrs. Tori // 12. Creative Ramblings // 13. Essentially Eclectic // 14. Adventures in All Things Food & Family // 15. From Wine to Whine // 16. Tried & True // 17. My Paper Craze // 18. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 19. Whats Next Ma // 20. The Thinking Closet // 21. Create it. Go! // 22. Getsilvered // 23. Create & Babble // 24. Bringing Creativity 2 Life // 25. The Frill of Life // 26. My Favorite Finds // 27. Chicken Scratch NY // 28. Terri Johnson Creates // 29. Simply Kelly Designs // 30. Pitter and Glink // 31. Fadville // 32. The Sensory Emporium // 33. DailyDwelling // 34. crafts, cakes, and cats // 35. Life After Laundry // 36. It Happens in a Blink // 37. Cupcakes&Crowbars // 38. feto soap // 39. McCall Manor // 40. Ginger Snap Crafts // 41. TitiCrafty // 42. Clever Someday // 43. Mabey She Made It // 44. Work in Progress //

Do you like nerdy home decor?  

You might also like some of these other projects that I’ve done!

Crack in the Universemario_kgdcraftermath_finished1Gallifrean_blinds_day_kgdcraftermath


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37 Responses to Stenciling Sherlock

  1. Ah! I live everything about this post! But I don’t believe I have the patience for such an intricate design. Great job!

    • Karen, I hear what you’re saying. This is definitely a project that requires patience. I can just be a bit too stubborn sometimes!

  2. Girl, you always tackle such amazing projects. Of course you caught my eye on the black and white, which makes me OBSESSED with your stencil. I’ve even watched Sherlock a few times but hadn’t noticed that background (surprisingly!). Oh and I really enjoy that it’s not the typical damask pattern (I guess I went a little overboard over the years).

    I cannot wait to see how you turned the fabric into a toiletry bag. I could totally use a new one for my new purse!!
    Trisha D. recently posted…Mark Your Territory- Dog FlagsMy Profile

    • It hadn’t even clicked with me that it was black and white! The pattern is the wallpaper in Sherlock’s apartment. He kind of abuses the poor thing. 😉

    • I’m so glad you started watching it! Truth be told, I’m not caught up with Season 3 yet myself. No excuse for it, I just don’t have the time. And it’s killing me!!!! Especially with all the spoilers online.

    • Thanks Pam! I wasn’t even sure I could do something this intricate, but figured I wouldn’t know until I tried!

    • Thanks Diana! The weeding wasn’t too bad in the end – especially after the htv fail! I guess that made it feel really quick after spending *way* to long on the htv.

    • Thanks Glenna! I’m glad I attempted it, now I know that I *can* do it! It opens up so many possibilities when you know where you can push the limits. Not that I’ll be doing designs this intricate very often….

    • I need to learn where you are in Jersey! I’ll send you an email. Maybe next time I’m visiting family we can meet up! No promises on the chair thing though.

    • Ah Bob, great to see you enjoying your time with your family and your mountains. I trust it is proving refreshing for your difficult work ahead.I love the proverb "Mehemea Ka Tuoho Ahau Me Maunga Tei Tei – If I should bow my head let it be to a high mo;utain&quotn. It sparks again my desire to learn Te Reo. The language of some of my ancestors. If only I was 10 years younger I may have learnt it at school!..Take care aye, Jamie

  3. Wow, wow, WOW!!! What an amazing project! I can’t believe how detailed of a design you were able to cut and stencil on this project. Amazing!!!

    My husband and I just “discovered” the Sherlock series recently. I had surgery and was on bed rest for 2 weeks and when we found the series we had plenty of time to watch them all. LOVED this show and can’t wait for the new seasons!

    I’m so glad that the FB Silhouette Challenge group did fabric this month. I definitely will have to try a simpler project first, but I’m going to pin this to my Silhouette board for someday when I am more confident!

    Peace, Love and Joy,
    Joyce Fisher recently posted…Hey Cinderella, the Paper Pumpkin Offer Ends at Midnight!My Profile

    • Thanks so much for the pin Joyce! I was surprised I could do it this detailed in the end as well! The trick with the freezer paper is using as close to a new mat and blade as you can – I did rip a few pieces at first.

      Good luck with your projects! I’m sure you’ll do a great job, and with the silhouette Facebook group at your back, you’re bound to have success!

    • Thanks Tori! Ah yes, the weeding. I think my idea of what a big weeding job is has completely changed with the bad htv cut. Each flower took me about an hour for that cut! Why oh why didn’t I give up and switch to freezer paper earlier?!?

    • Thanks Carrie! I’m so glad I didn’t give up! I can be a bit… obstinate… at times. It turned out to be a good thing for me in this case!

    • Thanks Meredith! It looks like I’ll have the chance to try this again with HTV. Hopefully it will cut right! Then the weeding just involves removing the single connected piece. *so excited*

  4. Love love lovity love! Everything about this is perfect. Only “proper” fans will get it, it’s not an obvious fangirl item, it’s just right.
    Everyone in our house is a massive Sherlock fan, in fact my daughter was at the Hay literary festival just today listening to Benedict (yes, we are on first name terms of course) reading love letters. I believe some other actors may have been there too but she didn’t mention them! Very exciting!
    Julie recently posted…Paper Cutting First AttemptsMy Profile

    • Oh, thanks! 🙂 I’m a big fan of subtly adding fandoms to everyday life. I’m so jealous of your daughter! He’s really good at his craft.

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    Summer recently posted…SummerMy Profile

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