I recently purchased several Heidi Swapp stencils. I tried three different techniques with the stencils to see which looks I liked, and liked doing.
For the first one (Blue on Blue), I created a background using several different colors of Pan Pastels, then using the template I applied Versamark, I then went over the entire image with the lightest color of Pan Pastels. This created a soft background.
For the second one (pinks and reds) I simply used the stencil and applied several different Distressed Inks with a Mini Blending tool. This was the easiest, and I liked the result, although it was a bit flat.
The third one (white and blues), using the template, I applied Versamark, and then embossed with white embossing powder. I then used several colors of Distressed Ink. While I liked this one the best, it was not as easy to create, and for a background, I don't think I would use this technique.