Cleaning Stencils

Having a free Monday is a treat for me. Most of the time Mondays are a big clean up or finish up of the weekend. Not that we throw thrash and things around but you know those last dribs and drabs that didn’t get done?
With not too much to do around the house I gave myself the gift of creating today.  I got my stencils* out, some silk tissue and fluid acrylics. Dabbing away I created some background papers for collage. That’s a whole other blog post.

After stenciling and making lots of papers I found a great way to clean up stencils. It’s safe and very effective.

Murphy Oil Soap** and some hot water is all that it takes to clean up many things. The soap is pure vegetable oil.  I also use it to clean my paint brushes and brayers. It will bring back that nightmare brush you forgot to clean last week. Just soak the brush in half Murphy Oil Soap and water. Don’t allow water level above the metal ferrules or you can loosen where the brush attaches to the handle.  In a day or so that brush you thought you would have to throw away is soft enough to use after a good rinsing. Rinse until the soapy feel is gone.

For stencils use a shallow plastic tote***.  Place hot water and the soap in the tote and submerge your stencils.

                                                            Tote size 14x11x3 1/2 inches

If you are in a hurry you can scrub gently with your fingers, rubbing at the paint to remove it. You will be amazed at how quickly the paint will dissolve. I work for a long time with my stencils, and they will have many coats of colors on them, so I will let them soak overnight. I have forgotten them soaking in their little bath for days. But nothing happens to the stencil, but it just makes it easier to remove the paint.

                                           After a short soak and the blue paint is almost gone

                                          After rubbing the stencil in the soak for a minute. 

When the stencils are clean rinse until all the soapy feel is off. Dry on clean cloth.

Go make more art with your clean stencils!

Resources: * StencilGirl Stencils
                ** Murphy Pure Vegetable Oil Soap
              *** RE Large Clip Box  by Sterilite


  1. Monica says:

    wow this is awesome! thank you.

  2. j elizabeth says:

    I wondered if there was any way to rescue the stencils my students had "ruined." Yay! I hope it will clean off the oil pastel.

  3. I have loss a few myself. But it never hurts to try. If you set up a "bath" before class you might them to put the stencils after they use them. It's hard I know. Good luck and let me know if the oil pastels come off.

  4. MB Shaw says:

    Genius!! Thank you so much 🙂

  5. dj designs says:

    Great idea, but I'm in Australia. Can I just use some vegetable oil, detergent and hot water? Will that work on them. I work with acrylics and would love to get rid of the stains. Thanks heaps.

  6. MB Shaw, You are welcome!dj designs, I'm not sure about the vegetable oil detergent. Sounds like it almost the same as Murphy's. Unless there is something in the detergent that would eat through the plastic it should be safe. Try a small area first though. Let us know if it works. Acrylics are very hard to deal with. Good luck and let us know.

  7. You all are very welcome!

  8. Claudine C. says:

    Thanks so much for this tip, I'm always scrubbing my stencils for days and this makes it so simple.

  9. So awesome! You rock for sharing this tip!

  10. JillGA says:

    Wow! Simple and safe! Love it! Thanks!

  11. You are welcome ! 🙂

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