I made this one for my friends poker table.
I made it at TechShop. It is a really cool place, check it out: www.techshop.ws
Step 1: Creating the Vector File
Prepare the file like you do anything else for the laser cutter:
Choose whatever font you want, outline only with no fill and with stroke set to 0.001 for vector cutting.
Depending on what letters you use, you may need to modify your file to create tabs so the interior cavities of the letters remain in the correct position and don't fall out after cutting, the "b" shown in this photo is an example of what I am talking about.
Step 2: Choose Your Stencil Material and Cut to Size.
The cardboard worked but I think something else would have probably worked a little bit better... Whatever you choose, just make sure it is safe to use on the laser and can handle a couple coats of spray paint without absorbing too much and letting the paint bleed through.
Cut the material to fit the bed of the laser cutter you are using.
Step 3: Cut the Stencil
Step 4: Position the Stencil
Do your best to make sure that the bottom surface of the stencil is flush with the playing surface. I also used some thumb tacks in select areas to secure some tricky corners of the cardboard stencil that weren't flush with the playing surface.
Step 5: Cover Everything Else With Newspaper
Step 6: Paint!
I used a spray paint designed to work on fabric, here is a link on amazon
You may see a little bit of paint go through to make unwanted faint marks on the playing surface around the edge of the stencil like those shown in the photo. A damp cloth did a pretty good job of removing these with a bit of effort, I wouldn't count on it but it worked for me.
A big thanks for club xanadu for letting me alter the poker table!