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Last week I came across Spanish street artist, Javier De Riba’s unique take on graffiti and knew that I had to re-create it, but on a much smaller scale. Drawn to the patterns found in the Palm Werregue Baskets of Colombia and in short supply of concrete slabs, I decided to spray paint a classic zigzag design on a rectangular piece of natural fiber fabric. And, boy, was I glad I did! The final product was a bold minimalist take on traditional indigenous art. Not only was it easy to create, it ended up having that special charm only found in hand-crafted Colombian artefacts. For the price of a couple of cans of spray paint and a long afternoon, you can create your own traditional pattern-inspired graffiti. Read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to create stenciled street art with a twist!
What You’ll Need
If you didn’t buy pre-made stencils, you’ll want to create all of your stencils prior to spray painting. It’s best to be technical here, so use a ruler and mark out how you want the layout of your design to be. With a permanent marker, transfer the design onto a lightweight plastic sheet (I used the cover of a plastic folder) and cut along the lines with an x-acto or utility knife carefully. Remember to go slowly and cut away from you to prevent any accidents. Depending on how many layers your design has, you may need multiple stencils to create the final image.
After your stencils are prepared, you will need to set the first stencil down and tape it into place. Now that the stencil is secure to the spraying surface, tape off and block the rest of the spraying area with cardboard to protect from cast off spray. Spray in even coats until the spraying area is completely covered and let it dry for a few minutes before peeling the stencil off. Repeat as necessary. Before diving in headfirst, always do a test run in another area so you can gauge how the spraying surface will react. For example, fabric is known to bleed.
After the first stencil has been laid down, let the paint dry completely before continuing on with the next stencils. Layered stencils, like the one shown above, will create more depth to your final image and make the design more visually dynamic.
Once all the stencils have been spray painted, your project is complete! For final touches, I recommend cleaning up the edges and protecting the art piece with a frame or proper concrete seal. Now all you need to do is share your unique graffiti art with family and friends.
What traditional pattern would you recreate with spray paint?