Merly Impressions December 2013 Challenge

Hi everybody! It is that time of the month again and we are here to challenge you once more!

This month we decided to challenge you in a slightly different way. For this challenge you are free to use any colours, any theme and any title you wish but, whatever you do, your layout has to include working with:


To complete this challenge we are giving you a little more time than normal. We are extending this challenge right through the Christmas period – the final date for entries is the 3rd of January 2014. The next challenge, and all subsequent challenges, will begin on the 5th of the month and end on the 3rd of the following month.

One of our design team has created a layout to provide a little inspiration:

By Pam…

I was so excited when I found out that November’s challenge was stencilling. Stenciling is one of my favourite techniques as it allows you to add layers and interest without adding bulk. Stencils can be used with a variety of media including, gesso, acrylic paint, mists, chalk, ink, texture paste and pens. This month I was sent this Tim Holtz Stripes stencil to use.

Layering Stencil - Stripes

As you can see this is a linear design, with very few cross pieces to stabilise the long lines. Consequently you need to take a bit of care when using the stencil. I found it helpful to use some repositionable adhesive on the back of the stencil to affix it to my cardstock. Also I found applying my media with a brush in the direction of the long lines worked best.  I had fun with this stencil so here are a few ideas about ways to use the stencil.

Firstly, a scrapbook page.  This page uses scraps of paper from The St Nicholas collection from Kaisercraft.  One thing I liked about this collection is it’s versatility. There are lots of neutral designs which means you can use this collection for non Christmas layouts.


Here’s how I did the background. Firstly, I spread gesso through the stencil. I wasn’t particularly fussy about how neat this was. When the gesso was dry I sprayed some mists along the lines of the gesso and allowed the colour to drip down:


When the mist dried I replaced the stencil and took a black pen and drew along the stencil lines.


Here’s a close up of the stencilling detail:


Then I layered up my papers and completed the layout.

I hope this has given you lots of ideas for incorporating stencils into your challenge entry.

We can’t wait to see your creations!

Please add your creation to the gallery below before the challenge closes at 1:00pm on 3rd January 2014. We will then choose our favourite layout to win a fantastic prize – a £25.00 voucher to spend on anything you want from the Merly Impressions online store. Wow!

We do hope that you have fun with our challenge and that we bring some inspiration your way. Every month I love to look through all your gorgeous entries but please make sure you follow the challenge rules as we are sad to have on occasion to remove some entries as they didn’t follow those rules. You can find a full list of the Challenge rules on the Monthly Challenge page but we would like to politely remind readers that:

  1. anyone who puts their entry on their own blog must link back to this post ( so that all your visitors can find the gallery below and enjoy all the fabulous layouts being created
  2. each creation entered must be “new” (not previously entered into a Merly Impressions or any other challenge)

It can be difficult for us to view any of your entries linked through Facebook therefore we are kindly asking you if you could please post your photos on the Merly Impressions page as this should make it easier for us all to admire your work. You can also email your entries directly to us at and we will add them and link them through our Photobucket gallery.

Have fun!

Chrissy xxx


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