Introduction: DIY Stencils for Airbrushing (and Anything Else)
My husband is on the board of a local organization that is holding a booth at our town's annual festival---celebrating the town. He offered to help man the booth and bring his airbrushing stuff along to do temporary tattoos for kids. The only problem is he doesn't have ready made stencils, so I offered to help him make a bunch that he could use. I tried really hard to make a stencil of the organizations logo, but it really wasn't going well. Ultimately we agreed that kids would probably rather have super hero logos.
Step 1: BoM
Craft knife or hot knife (stencil cutter)
Templates/logos/clipart printed out
Step 2: Designs
Trace your designs onto stencil sheets. Thin Sharpies work, as do soft pencils. Both will smudge, but pencil mistakes are easier to fix. Most of these logos I traced using my iPhone. The light from the phone is bright enough to make the stencil images clear enough to see through the stencil blanks and for me to trace. You can also print your designs and trace over them that way.
If you can't find a pre-made stencil of the design you want, you can create it by adding little tabs/connectors.
Step 3: Cut
Hot tools for cutting stencils make it sound like they are super easy to use and give you a clean burn, this isn't exactly true and using one of these takes a slow, steady hand and lots of practice. I found myself still needing to clean up the edges with my small rotating craft knife and super skinny scissors ($1.79 at Michaels in the sewing section, green handles--they are amazing).
If you're using a craft knife, again, you have to work slowly and carefully.
Step 4: Remove Excess
When you are done pop out the areas that you cut, use your craft knife/scissors to remove any extra plastic and clean up the edges.
Step 5: Test
My husband did a few tests with his airbrush machine on paper before going to his event. Testing is important because it helps you figure out what errors need to be fixed. I cut the edges around the stencils too close, so his airbrushing left a frame around the logos---this can be fixed by adding wax paper or masking tape around the edges of the stencils to widen them.