Picture of 3D-effect stencil
Creating a two-color stencil that delivers a 3D perspective. This uses SketchUp and Illustrator.
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Step 1: Pop into 3D

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To start off with, I take a classic videogame image and import it into SketchUp. After that, trace the images to create four polygons. With the push/pull tool, grab the polygons and pull them up to create a solid shape. Double-clicking on the three remaining shapes will repeat the action and bring them up to the same height for consistency.

Step 2: And back into 2D

Picture of And back into 2D
With the shape existing in 3D form, move the camera around to get an angle that shows off the shape in a dramatic way. Once you have a camera location you love, export a 2D image.

Open up Illustrator and import the resulting image it. Once there, create two layers, one for the shadow and one for the white front. For the shadow layer, outline the entire image. The reason is that when you put white paint on black it pops out more in the final result. It's also a little easier on the alignment. Nothing throws an image more than having the object be separate from the shadow.

After that, outline the white sections and then print one image for each of the two layers. These will become your stencils.

Step 3: Print, laminate, cut!

Picture of Print, laminate, cut!
This is where the work comes in. After printing out each layer, laminate it. I did this at Office Depot for $1.40 each. I used to have my own laminator, but then a friend walked off with it. It's a long and stupid story.

When you have the sheets all shiny just get out an Xacto knife and get cutting. Use a ruler or do it freehand. Be sure to have plenty of blades on hand since you'll likely need to swap them pretty quickly.

Step 4: Stick it down

Picture of Stick it down
Almost time to spray some paint. But first, put a light layer of spray adhesive on the backs of the stencils and let that dry for a few minutes. Now put it on the applied surface and press on it, especially on the edges, to make sure it's down. Put some paper on the side to prevent overspray.
masmarius5 years ago
awesome! who doesn't love stencils anyway?
Woah, that has an awesome effect. Once I finish coating my halfpipe in weatherproofing paint, I'm definitely going to stencil on some kind of kick-ass videogame character.... now, who will it be?
tony hawks
MARIOOOOO!!!or 1 up mushroom, that way when u fall of the pipe and kill urself u have a mushroom with an extra life....
the ghost character from, i think its from super mario. its a cool character and it would look awesome on a halfpipe
some character on a bike or rollers or skate, or maybe PAC-MAN! because pacman rocks and any surface with pacman printed on it will rock too. The same goes for mario and metroid (pixel-y version of them, obiously)
santy22 santy226 years ago
PD:Just laminated the Space invader (with duct tape) going 2 do it soon
volquete5 years ago
wenpherd5 years ago
this is so insanly awesome i cant even look
baneat6 years ago
Made it, thanks.
baneat baneat6 years ago
Actually just used the idea of using google sketchup for the 3d part and made it up from there to make it into a stencil.
baneat6 years ago
Also I think you can use Photoshop instead of Illustrator to do the second part of this guide :)
fungus amungus (author)  baneat6 years ago
Yes, now you can. Illustrator in here is optional, however. You can do the whole thing in SketchUp if you wanted.
emuman4evr6 years ago
I wonder I could do this with other 3d models...
baneat6 years ago
I could swear that's 3D
spinach_dip8 years ago
Nice. My compliments on your choice of subject. (Also thanks to bugmenot for the login.)
You could've done better than posting that on THIS instructable especially. I believe owned is the correct term.
SacTownSue7 years ago
looks great! Depending on what type of black paint you used you could try touchup with sharpie. Depending on materials and houw much you care.
Fenwick8 years ago
wow, this is cool! Great idea! I might have to do this once I get the chance.
erfonz8 years ago
This is mine. I also used your bridge instructable. I was kinda impatient in spraying it so theres a drip and a bunch of underspray
fungus amungus (author)  erfonz8 years ago
Good stuff. Just looks like you need another coat of white on top to make it more solid. As for the drips and underspray you can have some control of it for a cool effect. Takes some practice to get the controlled slop effect, though.
whaoh! when i first loked at that pic i thought it was actually a little block stick man! nice job!!
belenus8 years ago
couldnt you just use the same stencil, spray it, translate it up (however you want the 3d to look) and spray the topcoat?
fungus amungus (author)  belenus8 years ago
Not at all. That would be a repeating image and could give the impression that the top layer is floating above the surface with the bottom layer acting as a shadow if you were looking at it dead on. Which is a fine effect, but this is different. Here, the 3D program allows the object to have volume. Note how the black layer is displaced further from the bottom than the top. With a touch of practice with perspective you could do the same thing by hand if you wanted to.
dipswitch8 years ago
This is cool. Now if I could only figure out the getting an image and importing image to SketchUp part it will be even more cool.
fungus amungus (author)  dipswitch8 years ago
I did kind of skim over that part of the instructions, didn't I? If you play around with SketchUp you should be able to see how to import an image and plant it on a flat surface. Now recreate the shape by drawing it in SketchUp with the image as your guide. Then, pull it up and there you go.
pjay_dml8 years ago
A little shadow (hold can at a distance before applying stencil; apply oval blur) would enhance the effect.
Googlypuffs8 years ago
this is a great looking turnout, even with the under-spray! it gives it a little urban feel to it
houdini8 years ago
very nice :) I like this drawing. If you pass by Paris, do one on my door! keep on the good work
Like it! =]
barnes8 years ago
Very cool, I'm gonna try that later.
The 3D effect is pretty strong, considering it's stencil-ness. Good job!
SniperNinja8 years ago
Cool Im going to have to try that. Is that the LoadRunner sign?
maffiou9 years ago
Like the idea... Cool...