In many cultures, people put auspicious shapes, colors, gems and even plants near their doors as talismans, to keep bad things away from their homes. These are often used for religious reasons. In Santa Fe, you will see doors painted blue. In India, you will see mango leaves hanging over doors. In Marrakech, during Royal Design Studio’s Paint and Play Retreat, we saw hamsa on doors. The hamsa is an amulet shaped like a hand, commonly found in Morocco and the Middle East, and it’s hung on a door to ward off the evil eye and negative energies, and to attract protection.
With all the repair trouble our house has cost us, maybe we need a front door amulet! But, a hamsa probably wouldn’t “go” with the front door of our traditional/farmhouse style Midwestern house. So why not create wall art with an amulet shape, and hang it in a foyer or entryway?
You can use any symbol that is meaningful to you. You can use a cross or other religious symbol. Or you can choose any shape you like such as a lotus, heart, even an elegant vase shape. To find my image, I simply searched on Google Images. Just look for a simple shape with a basic outline that you can cut out. Add “line drawing” to your search term for simple black and white images and look for royalty free clip art.
- Stencils – Jali Allover Indian Furniture Stencil, Marrakech Medallion, Taj Tile Indian Border
- Royal Stencil Cremes – Bronze Age, Orange Ice, Pearl Oyster, Aged Nickel
- Royal Stencil brushes
- Amulet shape printed on paper
- Piece of wood or thick chipboard – or you can also do this in a picture frame or on a canvas
- Scrapbook papers – available at hobby stores, or download and print digital papers
- Mod Podge
- Brayer or flat edge
- Chip brush or foam brush
- Thin brush for drawing thin line
- Painters masking tape
- Pen or pencil
- Paper towel
- Indian box lid from World Market
- Glue like E6000 glue
First, let’s play with colored scrapbook papers! For the Moroccan hamsa shape, I chose the clay and blue colors we saw in Morocco. Here’s a tip to narrow your paper choices: there are several patterned scrapbook papers, but because we’ll stencil our own patterns on these papers to personalize them, be sure to choose papers without much bold pattern. You can use papers with textures or subtle light patterns.
I used digital papers that you can download, in case you want to copy this project exactly, download Rina’s Moroccan Nights Worn Papers and Rina’s Moroccan Nights Paper Pack. Gorgeous! They look like the old worn walls in the Marrakech medina.
If you’ve never downloaded digital scrapbook papers before, here’s what happens: you will download a file. Usually the image in the file is 12″ x 12″. You can resize or crop the image in photo editing software so the entire design will print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper. Or you can set the file to automatically “shrink to fit” when you print. Print on a color inkjet printer. Use thicker paper like a card stock. My home printer is really good but it always runs low on colored inks, so I printed at Staples. Staples is closest to me, but Office Depot, OfficeMax and FedEx Office all have printing centers. Choose to print on a thicker quality paper. Thicker paper will wrinkle less when you use Mod Podge.
Also find an amulet shape you like, and print it on plain white paper. If you like the hamsa shape I used, I’ve provided a PDF download.
If you want to print a bigger shape, it’s easy even if you don’t have a photo editing software. You simply adjust the size in the PDF print settings. The default is 100% but you can tell it to print larger than 100% and this makes your image larger:
This might make the image larger than your paper. No problem. Tell your printer to “tile” the image or print “poster size” so it prints across several pieces of paper. Here’s how to do it:
Now, pull out your piece of wood board (or picture frame or canvas). I used chipboard.
Lay out your scrapbook papers on the board, keeping in mind that your amulet shape will be in the middle and will cover some of the paper. You can use one color of paper and that will keep eyes focused on your amulet. I like to mix things up so I laid out several colors plus thin strips of patterned scrapbook paper.
My papers needed cutting to fit the layout. You can use scissors or a paper cutter. For this part, Chaai the Crafty Cat decided I needed supervision and he helped hold the paper. If you don’t have a cat, I think you can still cut the paper just fine.
Next, decoupage your scrapbook paper pieces on your board. Apply a light layer of Mod Podge to your backing surface with a brush or foam. Let the Mod Podge set for a bit so it’s not super wet. I find this helps prevent wrinkles in the scrapbook paper. Also thicker paper wrinkles less. Lay a piece of paper on the Mod Podge and smooth the paper with a brayer or a flat edge, working from the middle out toward the edges. Working from the middle out helps to push out any trapped air and prevent wrinkles and air bubbles. If you do get bubbles, you can prick the paper with a pin or Xacto knife and push the air out.
After your paper is adhered to the board, spread a coat of Mod Podge over the entire surface. Let it dry completely. I find it’s easier to paint and stencil on a layer of Mod Podge than directly on scrapbook paper – the paint glides on and you can easily clean off any mistakes.
Cut out your amulet shape. Lay it on the scrapbook paper. Draw a line around your shape.
Decide what color you want for the background of your amulet shape. Paint this color around the edges of your shape with a thin brush. Then fill in the shape with paint. I wanted silver but ran out of my silver paint! So I mixed Pearl Oyster Stencil Creme with a small bit of Aged Nickel, and got silver.
Now for the stenciling! You can stencil over the entire surface of your paper or stencil on just part of it. If you stencil just some parts of the paper, use painters masking tape to block off the area you want to stencil. I chose to stencil on the orange papers with the Orange Ice Stencil Creme. Painted on orange, it adds a golden shimmer to the paper.
Inspired by pictures of real hamsa pendants and doorknockers, I stenciled down the fingers and in the palm to make it look like filigree.
First I drew lines for the fingers. You may find, depending on your shape, that you might need to draw in some lines so it’s obvious what your shape is.
You may need to protect the scrapbook paper area. If you’re working with a shape with straight lines such as a cross, you could put painters masking tape around the edges of your shape. With so many curved lines, I saved the white paper from my cut-out and used that as well as tape.
Next I used the Marrakech medallion in the palm area. I painted with Bronze Age Stencil Creme.
If you find spaces unfilled near the “thumb” area, as in the picture above, you can leave it that way, paint it solid, or you can fill it in with part of a stencil. I masked off an area of the Marrakech medallion stencil that would fill half the space, then flipped the stencil over and filled in the rest of the space.
While shopping at World Market, a bejeweled blue Indian box gave me a crazy idea. The “evil eye” you often see on hamsa are blue. The blue box lid could be placed on the hamsa. I haven’t yet committed to the idea 100% and glued it on. Here I show it as an idea to make your wall art a multi-media piece, if your creativity takes you in that direction. You could also glue colored rhinestones on your wall art!
Source: Grand Bazaar Jewelers
So what do you think, should I glue the bejeweled box lid on, or no?
Want more ideas on stenciled wall art? Take a look at these easy & beautiful DIY tutorials:
- Easy Stencil Wall Art to Drive Away Winter Blues
- Stencil How-to: Sweetheart Stenciled Wall Art
- DIY Decoupage Wall Art