I made this comic book wall art using a stencil that I traced and cut out of poster board. I used spray paint on MDF and finished it with a clear coat of spray paint. This was my first time trying to make a stencil this size and with this much detail. It was challenging but well worth the work, at least in my opinion. The cool thing about making a stencil out of poster board is you can re-use it several times over. So once you put in the initial effort and time you can reproduce the image when ever you want and on to a lot of different mediums. You can spray it on a canvas or another poster board, or cardboard, or steel or cement. As long as the medium is flat and even, and doesn't have a rough texture, this will come out looking pretty good.
Here I am using my light box to trace the image on to a 22x28 inch poster board. I found the image I liked online and then enlarged it by printing it out on to 4 sheets of paper using the "tiling/poster" option in my printer setting. I then taped the fours sheets together which resulted in the enlarged image.
If you don't have a light box you can use a bright sunny day and a large window to do the tracing. First you would tape the original image up to the window and then tape the poster board on top of it and begin tracing. This isn't as comfortable but is definitely a work around if you don't have a light table. It what I used to do until I made myself a light box.
Here you have the finished tracing its a little confusing to look at in terms of what you need to cut out. So I recommend that you darken in the areas that will be cut. You don't have to completely darken them in you can just use some cross hatching or some quick shading to define the areas that will be cut out. Use the original image as a reference. This is also the time were you have to look at the piece and see if there are any areas that don't connect to another part of the stencil. One of issues with stencils is that everything that will be part of the stencil has to be connected to each other you can't have any islands. If you notice the Batman symbol you will also notice it is connected to the black of the cape. If the symbol wasn't connected to anything it would just be a larger section of black paint that wouldn't look right. Don't stress out about this though. Sometimes you have to start cutting on the stencil to figure out what works and what doesn't. If you realize that you have a shape that's an island and have already cut it out you can just tape it back to the stencil and re-cut it. Just remember to tape it from the front and the back I used regular masking tape for this to repair my stencil after I accidently ripped a portion of it.
I use a kitchen cutting board and Exacto knife to cut out my stencil.
Primed the MDF with white spray paint
Lining up the stencil on the MDF.
I used some washers to weigh down the stencil to the MDF this will help leave clearer paint lines. As I painted I used a small stick to press down on different sections again to try and create a cleaner line. Once I was done I used a magnet to pick up the washers.
Here is the first stencil.
I made another stencil for the outline of the silhouette so I could paint the black background. Again I used the same process as the first stencil. The washers help a lot in terms of keeping the stencil edge sharp and clear.
I pulled up the silhouette stencil and unfortunately I build off some of the black paint from the face. I should have waited for it to complete dry before moving on to the next stencil. Luckily I was able to use the first stencil to touch up the affected area. I just had to make sure it was lined up correctly and then re-spray the area.
Lastly I sprayed a clear coat on the whole piece this really made the black nice and dark. I know how that sounds black is as dark as dark can get but the glossy finish really made the whole piece come together. I hung this in my son's bedroom as he's a huge Batman fan. I hope you enjoyed this write up and it inspires you to try and make your own stencil art.