So this is one that I’ve been sitting on for a while. I was meant to post this around christmas as a gift idea but I needed some time off to collect myself. Testing out makeup means swatching palettes but sometimes finger swatches can look a little messy hence stencils.
Swatch Queen is a tiny little indie brand run by EmberXtelle who went semi-viral for her free hand swatches. Now she prints them as vinyl stencils so we can all enjoy and try her designs. All of the branded stencils on the Swatch Queen shop are designed by Ember herself and shouldn’t be available elsewhere.
You can purchase a huge range of stencils from the Swatch Queen website (see here) as well as Etsy (here). Stock includes your basic designs such as rectangles, hearts, stars etc. as well as more complex shapes that include unicorns, aliens and butterflies. These stencils range from $0.99-$2 depending on the design and amount of swatches. There is also a fantastic range of original designs that brand specific; plenty of Colourpop, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Anastasia Beverly Hills and more. These are a little more expensive with prices starting at $2. Shipping to the UK cost me £12 and it took a week or 2 to get here (pre-covid too). However I did receive a dispatch email in 3 days.
I ended up placing a huge order that included some bundles and a ton of Jeffree Star ones (no judgement please). I ordered around 18 stencils for about £32 not including delivery. Thankfully I shopped during a sale and got some pennies off paying only £26. My order arrived in a padded envelope with all the stencils together in a sealed bag. Nothing was bent or damaged during transport which is pretty cool considering GPS took it halfway across America before it came to the UK.
The stencils come in various sizes but are no bigger than your inner forearm. I love that the cut away part is left in place so you can do negative space swatches as well (or use them as stickers). The vinyl is thin but fairly robust in larger areas. The stencils have clean, straight edges; I don’t think there was a single part still attached to the background. Some parts are quite delicate and are easy to rip if you pull them too hard. No matter which type of stencil you use if it’s fully stuck down your swatch will be crisp.
The basic shapes and ones with bigger backgrounds are pretty easy to use. They can be a little awkward to place at first due to the contour of the arm but they are easy to reposition. They lose a little stickiness with each lift but there’s enough for a several tries. When pressed into place, they won’t move even when applying your products.
Then we have our branded ones. Warning some of these are NOT for the faint hearted. As a beginner with stencils, I really struggled with the more intricate designs. They are so detailed that getting them off the backing paper whole requires so much concentration and care. Some are easier to place then others but most have fiddly areas that may require adjustments to it’s placement.
Overall, I am really happy with my stencils from Swatch Queen and I’m sure I’ll be buying some more branded ones in the future. Delivery did take awhile but that was due to the postal company rather than Swatch Queen. The stencils are all high quality and well printed with gorgeous, mostly original designs. Of course, you have a selection of basic swatch patterns alongside the original brand designs. Although some can be tricky or difficult to use the final swatches look so crisp and clean.
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