Stencils 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask! | taught by Mary Beth Shaw
Stencilicious A - Z

Course description


This quick-take course is designed for everyone who is new - or relatively new - at using stencils in their art. 

We will explore the terminology, techniques and tools used. You will learn to use a stencil with different types of paint and ink pads. There are no projects; basic stencil use is covered so you can start using your stencils! Additional information will be added to this class as time goes on and you will be notified when it is up so you can take a look (for free, of course). Each segment is designed to be short and easily mastered. We have provided links to supplies used that are available on StencilGirl Products.

In this course you will learn:

  • Handling and using stencil
  • How to stencil
  • Repositional spray
  • Storage of stencil
  • Cleaning stencils
  • When to clean and when to not clean
  • Brushes
  • Sponges
  • Applicators – Ink pads vs paint
  • Types of paints

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Mary Beth Shaw
Mary Beth Shaw

Mary Beth Shaw worked in the insurance industry for 18 years before she quit her job in 2000 to re-ignite a childhood love of art. She is now a full time painter and internationally known workshop instructor. Her creative process is largely self taught, spontaneous and joyful. She is author of Flavor for Mixed Media and Stencil Girl , both published by F&W and is also a columnist for Somerset Studios Magazine.

In 2010, Mary Beth recognized a need for 'artist designed' stencils and created StencilGirl Products, which has quickly grown into a respected supplier of high quality stencils for all media. Living with her husband and three cats, Mary Beth is passionate about every moment of life.

- Mary Beth Shaw

Instructor: Mary Beth Shaw

Reviews (53)

Fabulous class

by Doreen Kinkade
I so enjoyed this class, I am a novice. My favorites were the layering, texture and learning about Masks. And to receive a printout of the class that I can take into my room to refer to....PRICELESS!!!! Thank you !!!!!

Straight to the point & inspirational

by Sharon Turner
This was exactly what I needed.) It was clear, straight to the point and has been really inspirational. Looking for my dense sponges right now.

by Maurene McQuestion
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Fabulous class

by Doreen Kinkade
I so enjoyed this class, I am a novice. My favorites were the layering, texture and learning about Masks. And to receive a printout of the class that I can take into my room to refer to....PRICELESS!!!! Thank you !!!!!

Straight to the point & inspirational

by Sharon Turner
This was exactly what I needed.) It was clear, straight to the point and has been really inspirational. Looking for my dense sponges right now.

by Maurene McQuestion

Basic Intro to stenciling

by Donna Eaton
Thank you Mary Beth, this class helped me a lot👏🤗🙋🏻‍♀️

Great Introduction To Stencils!

by Amy Schneider
I am writing this while in social isolation due to the coronavirus. I finally had time to take the course and I am so glad I did. I am so inspired now to stencil away! There are so many ways to use stencils. I've been using them on my gel plate. This course has shown me other ways to use them, how to continue patterns, figure out the difference between a mask and a stencil, layering stencils and so much more. Thank you Mary Beth!

by Jill Tobin

by Janice Van Dijk

Appropriate - Understandable

by Joyce Geissler
Excellent. Adequate amount of time given for each section.

Great reference guide!

by Carol Ulrich
So glad I signed up for this class. I have been using stencils for quite some time but not consistently. I loved getting little hints, tidbits, and reminders of the best practices. Thanks!

Stencil 101

by Debra Legler
Very informative. Loved this course! Mary Beth is a wonderful teacher and is easy to follow and understand. I'm looking forward to taking more classes with her!

Title was exactly as expected

by Gertrude Carter
I bought the class when I was just starting and thought it was a great basic class. It was at the right level for a total beginner. I finished the class months later and felt that level could have been a tad higher to give a little more to the next level up beginner. Anyway loved Mary Beth teaching. would have liked a stencil used list attached to the end.

Very helpful

by Judy Friedkin
I had all of my questions answered about the basics of using stencil . The class is very thorough. Great class for beginners. Thank you.

Perfect Title

by Jane Christensen
I thoroughly enjoyed the way you set up this free program. Each segment is interesting and informative and the option to move forward at my own pace is perfect. Plus .... having those nice little reminder emails is great. All in all a wonderful course. Thank you.

Captures the essence of the course perfectly

by Mary Stott
An excellent introduction to using stencils. Content is well-organized in short modules. Mary Beth's provides an articulate and thorough explanation to accompany each demonstration. For me, the pace of her delivery was perfect. I'm so happy I did this course. It will help me make much better use of my StencilGirl stencils!

by Karin Bergsten-Buret


Gets you started

by Jo Murray
Definitely a good way for a beginner to learn about stencilling. Clear instruction and great examples.

Stencil 101

by Mary Martin
Great overview of the basics for using stencils with a variety of paints, inks and texture pastes and a multitude of tools.

My review of Stencil 101

by Pam Palmer
I found Mary Bath’s tuition really good, learned things I hadn’t heard before and thoroughly enjoyed this course. I will recommend to friends.

Fantastic! Answered all My Stencil Questions

by Anne Dalton
Ok, I have a LOT of stencil anxiety. I know it's supposed to be a fun thing to do with no pressure.... So I had all those beginner problems... the most effective tool apply the paint... color bleeding under the stencil... how to use multiple stencils... to clean or not to clean the stencil... how to continue a pattern across the surface without making myself crazy... on and on. Mary Beth nailed every one of them! Thanks! It's really perfect.

General Overview

by Terri Foley
I really enjoyed listening to Mary Beth & watching her demonstrate her techniques. Loved the tour of her studio too!!

Great Intro To Stenciling

by Deb Riddell
Stencil 101 is a great intro to stenciling with lots of tips and tricks and practical advice about how to use StencilGirl Products great stencils, thank you Mary Beth!

by Linda Bennett

Stencil 101 Was Sunshine In My Rainy Day

by Catherine Clement
I purchased Stencil 101 today after seeing Carolyn Dube's email. It was a dreary day here in MI's Upper Peninsula, but this course provided all the sunshine necessary! I watched, went to my art space and created, and this dreary day just became comfy and cozy. I will be ordering products and looking for more courses. Thank you so much.

Take this class!

by Linda Aldridge
I’ve been using stencils for a while and thought I knew it all. I was wrong! I learned so much from this class. Mary Beth is the best teacher and I really learned a lot! No matter what level you think you’re at you should take this class.

by William Danahey
More to this than I had realized and oh so much food for thought - Thank you.

by Sheri Schneider

by Leslie Webb

Stencil 101

by Kate Brehe
Excellent, concise class

Stencil 101

by Carol DuBois
Although I have used stencils for many years, I enjoyed taking this course to refresh my memory. Also, I learned a few things I would never have thought about them. Thank you. Excellent course.

by lorraine reynolds
I thought this course was a great jumping off point for people who are new to the world of stencils.


by BB Bayerle
Fun and clearly explained. Love the "non fussiness" attitude!

Stencil 101

by Ellen Martin
Informative. Let me know what I needed to know. Will go forward with classes.

More than Awesome!

by karen mooney
The course is very informative and also MaryBeth makes it very personable. The thing that impressed me the most was that I started this course awhile ago. Things came up, I forgot to finish the course and I had only completed 70% of it. I never would have remembered on my own to go back and finish. Something amazing happened though. I got an email from Stencil Girl reminding me of the course and that I hadn’t completed it! I was so surprised! I’ve taken many e-courses since I began doing mixed media and I’m sure I have my share of courses out there that aren’t finished, even though I was enjoying the course, but nobody has ever reminded me to come back and finish! I’m so grateful to Stencil Girl for their thoughtfulness. I was completely surprised and even awed that they cared even after receiving payment. The course was full of tips and techniques since MaryBeth is so knowledgeable. I ended up starting from the beginning again. All in all Stencil Girl is a great company. Their programs are so great. I expected stenciling to be easy, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it correctly! Now, I still get surprised when my stencils come out so well. I would definitely encourage anyone to take this course whether you’re a complete beginner or for a refresher. I know I won’t forget about it again and I’ll use it for a refresher in the future. Than you Stencil Girl, Karen Mooney

by Donna Perrino
It was very informative since I am a Beginner...but my mind is swirling wanting to get busy and try out what you have offered. I only do greeting cards but this will be my new "thing"....Thanks!!!!

by Connie Adams

Lots of good tips

by Joan Terrell
Whether new to stenciling or not, this course will inspire you to see in a different way and to imagine new things.

Perfect title

by denise spillane
This is a great class. I’ve been stenciling for a while and still learned a lot. Very thorough. Videos are excellent. Just watched the add on videos. It is wonderful to know that as new things come up they will be added. Thanks Mary Beth.

by Marilyn Holland

Great intro

by Margaret Richardson
As others have noted, it can be very useful to take an intro course even if you have been doing whatever it is for a while. I always learn something. The videos are quite well done. The quality of the stencils both in terms of design and structure enhance the likelihood of great results, too.

Great primer and review

by Bernie Ryan
This is quite an interesting class, full of great tips for the beginner as well as for those looking for a bit of a refresher. It touches on a bit of everything for the new stencil artist. Mary Beth's pace is just right. It wasn't so fast that I couldn't keep up and/or missed a tip or technique. It wasn't so slow that I was hypnotized into a nap, or found myself wishing she'd hurry up. It was just right. She is a friendly, experienced instructor. The camera angle is excellent, with everything well lit and in full view. The course is broken up into short segments which is perfect for me. I watched one or two when I had a few minutes. Then another few when I had a bit more time. And I can always go back and review some of the tips I learned early on, which I find helpful. I greatly enjoyed and learned quite a bit from this introduction to stenciling. If I can't get a class with Mary Beth in person, this is definitely the next best thing.

Wonderful Workshop!

by Pamela Barnes
I am new to using stencils. Stencil 101 gave me all the tips and techniques on how to use stencils with the proper tools and mediums to get good results. I've watched the videos several times and plan to move on to the journal workshop. Thank you Mary Beth and Stencilgirl!

Great for both beginning and experienced stencilers!

by Mary Nasser
I wished I'd had access to Stencil 101 years ago when I first began stenciling! Although I've been using stencils for years, I still learned new techniques in these videos! Now I want to try stenciling with heavy body paint and a palette knife and watercolors, too! Beautifully filmed and incredibly informative! An excellent video to have in one's repertoire! Thank you, Mary Beth!

Very basic

by Billie Miles
I thought a 101 course might include one or two easy, simple projects. This seems like a pre 101 course. Thank you

Great Introduction!

by Janis Graham
In this introduction Mary Beth discusses and demonstrates the use of different tools and paint consistencies (even an ink pad) in stenciling to get various effects. I love the way she shows how to layer stencils to create more depth, which is one of the first things I noticed when I saw her personal journals in a class I took with her. This is a great introduction to stenciling.

Perfect description

by Maureen Biagi
Even when you are not new to a technique, I find that taking a well done basic course is usually helpful, and Stencil 101 is a very well done basic course. I learned a number of things here that were new to me and it enlarged my concept of using stencils in a wonderful way. Mary Beth is an excellent and delightful teacher.


by Rachel Bell
Love you, MaryBeth. Love your knowledge and your personality, how easily you present techniques in a clear and concise method. These are the basics and I hope everyone goes to your website for all the free videos to expand their knowledge. The many, many ideas you share are what gives this stencil world its' spark and excitement. FUN!!! Thank you so much for enriching my life! ~Rachel Bell


by sue Doyle
I have had a hard time learning on my own to stencil. Mary Beth gives a quick and complete way to stencil. I understand now. I also would clean my stencils, now I see I really do not have to. I have torn stencils cleaning them which makes them unusable. thanks for the class.

Great information

by Beth Broadway
Great introduction to stencils and beautifully filmed. I look forward to purchasing another class. The quick tour of their home based business was a joy to see. Real people, providing wonderful stencils for use to use in our artful journey. Thank you!

Stencil 101-good stuff

by Denise Neumark-Reimer
I have been working with stencils for many years and as I watched Stencil 101 I learned NEW STUFF! 1. Sofft sponges are not just for Pan Pastels 2. Layer colors immediately - if my sponge is dry enough 3. Other tidbits that I am glad I got to review again.

by Dolores Baker
Great course! Lots of useful tips and information on how to use stencils and get great results! Its a basic course but is also a wonderful fun refresher for experienced stencilers!

Great info!

Mary Beth Shaw is very knowledgeable about how to use stencils. In this course, Stencil 101, Mary Beth shows the tools we can use with stencils, what kind of media to use, layering techniques and how to clean if you decide to do so.

Perfect tutorial!

by Phyllis Berker
This course was so fun to watch, and so helpful to learn the basics of stenciling. I got some great tips from the videos within this course, and truly love Mary Beth's style of teaching.