One Stencil: Positive and Negative Images

Each stencil in the pack can make a Positive and Negative image, depending on which part of it you are using. This can get quite confusing, so we’ll keep it simple!

The Stencil on the Sheet

Each stencil comes looking similar to this Tree symbol from our Kanji set. The green square is the Negative part of the stencil whilst inside the dark green cut line is the Positive part.

Both can be used to create images in your design on your work.

The Negative Part

Here is the same stencil with the centre (the Positive) removed leaving white space. This is where you apply colour in your method of choice. Round the outside in yellow is masking tape to ensure your colour is only applied in the white space.

When colour is applied inside the Negative part, it produces a Positive image!

The Positive Part

This is the central part of the stencil. It has been removed from the Negative part and applied to the wood allowing you to apply colour around the image. Correctly, this part is called a Mask.

When colour is applied around the Positive part, it produces a Negative image!


Take a look at the images to the right (above on mobile devices). The colours have been applied with (A) the Negative stencil and (B) the Positive mask.

In (A), the colour was applied inside the Negative stencil resulting in a Positive image of the individual letters with bare wood around each element.

In (B), the colour was applied around the Positive mask to colour the wood, but leave the wood showing inside the letters. This is a Negative image.