Sarah Mayland

Painted Earlap Stencil Tutorial

In Knitting/Crocheting, Patterns on 03/25/2011 at 15:10

And I’m back!  I’m on spring break at school, and spent most of this week working on English assignments.  But I did promise some tutorials, and today I’m going to show you how to stencil your earflap hat.  Thank you to all those on Ravelry who have left me such nice comments on the hat!

So let’s get started:

You will need a piece of posterboard approx 20×30″.  A standard piece that costs a dollar at the local drugstore will do just fine.  Make sure you don’t get something too thick because you need something that’s a little flexible, and you don’t want to be cutting this thing till you’re 92. 
You will also need and x-acto knife, utility knife, or box cutter, a pen or pencil to mark where to cut your squares as well as to draw the stencil, and a ruler or other straightedge.  These items are needed to make the stencil itself.  To paint the stencil you will need some straight pins (aka common pins)  acrylic paint in any color of your choice and a medium-sized flat-tip brush. 

These are some of the things you'll need to make your stencil

 The next thing to do is to cut your piece of posterboard into squares that are 6×6″.  Obviously you can make any size you choose, but I find that the 6″ squares are really good for an adult-sized hat.  A standard piece of posterboard should yield about 12 of these squares.

After you have cut your squares, the next thing you can do is to plan out your stencil design.  I actually drew mine first with black pen so I could make changes as needed without it showing up too much. When you have drawn the design that you want to use for your stencil, trace over it in a color that contrasts your posterboard, so that you don’t have to strain your eyes when you’re cutting the stencil out.  When designing your stencil, there are a few things to consider: straight lines are much easier to cut than curved lines, and large pieces are much easier to cut than small ones. A bunch of little circles (like I did in mine) are a HUGE pain in the neck. Trace over your design in a color that contrasts the posterboard. After your stencil is drawn up, you are ready to cut it out! Carefully cut out your design using your x-acto knife, utility knife, or box-cutter. It is best to cut along the outer edge of your lines so that more space can be filled by the paint. Don’t rush this part — you don’t want to mess up your stencil or hurt yourself! The stencil is now cut out and ready to paint!

A standard piece of posterboard should give you 12 6" squares

Now that your stencil is cut out, you are ready to paint.  If you are painting an earflap hat, I could recommend laying the hat flat and pinning the stencil down onto the hat.  If you are painting something without earflaps, you should be okay to put the hat on a styrofoam head and pin the stencil onto the hat while it’s on the head.  When you pin, make sure you pin some of the spaces in the middle of the stencil so that the stencil doesn’t pop up while you are painting and mess up your design.  Better to have too many pins than too few. 

Make sure you pin the stencil to the hat in several places to keep the stencil from slipping

Now we paint.  Put some acrylic paint (the kind to paint an artist’s canvas, not the craft acrylic that you can use to paint ceramics) on a plate.  The brush you use should be completely dry.  Don’t water your brush or the paint, as that will make it absorb into the yarn rather than stay on top of it and give you a nice, deep color.  Take your time and slowly paint in all the spaces in your stencil.  Let dry for a minute or two and do a second coat if you feel it’s necessary.  Un-pin the stencil and slowly peel it away from your hat. Let the paint dry overnight.  That’s longer than it needs to dry, but always better to be safe than sorry.  Once it is dry, you can put your hat in the washing machine, and the paint won’t come off.   (Please only machine wash if your hat is NOT made of a fiber that will felt!)
This is the finished hat. Give it a while to dry and don’t be afraid to machine-wash it!

I hope this tutorial helps!  Please leave me any comments here or on Ravelry if you have any questions or suggestions about how to make this tutorial better (it’s my first tutorial, so any suggestions are very very welcome!)  And please, if you try this, post pics on Ravelry, or email them to me at and I will post them if you would like.  I’m really interested to see everyone’s ideas. 

  1. I LOVE your patterns! Your hats are gorgeous! I’ve tried a few, but unfortunately my mad crocheting skills aren’t remotely close to yours.

    • thanks for your compliment! just keep practicing — my crochet skills aren’t that spectactular, but i’ve done it so often i don’t even think about it anymore!

  2. Reblogged this on I Make Stuff. and commented:
    I just found this tutorial via and thought it was so neat! I can’t wait to try it!!

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