Step 5: The cut's

Cutting a stencil with an Exacto hobby knife can be challenging, tedious, and time consuming, but without an expensive CNC controlled device it's the best way I've found to get the result's cheaply. Be prepared though to make a couple of passes with the hobby knife. No matter how good you get with your knife, you'll never get the exact pressure need to make precise cuts every time. It's been my experience though you'll get better detail making a couple of passes.

The technique is basic; when cutting apply moderate pressure and instead of trying to only turn your hand (like using a pencil) turn the blank as well. Try to make long stoke cuts trying to avoid stopping or lifting the knife as this creates points you'll need to re-cut during the removal of the pieces.

Note: I've seen quite a few stencil tutorials that tell the beginner to use card stock or paper, and it's a great idea for a one time use (maybe even a couple times). Though the nice thing about stencil blanks is that they are resistant to most thinners and they can be used hundreds of times over and over again. As an added bonus the sturdiness of the blank doesn't lift off the project as easily from the paint blast force (creating that cloudy effect around the edges) that you will get from card stock and wax paper.
<p>Thanks for the info, I like to airbrush, but stencils are too expensive, going to try this instead. </p>
<p>I like the stencils to give me a base to start from, the fill in the shading. Don't get me wrong freehand is the best for skill learning, but stencils make a more professional look while learning. I just never liked the cookie cutter stencils that are sold, making my own is always more fun.</p>
<p>Thanks for sharing!<br>But I use another specialized <a href="http://www.smartprintlab.com/products/poster-printer/" rel="nofollow">program</a> for create painting stencil with many templates</p>
Any good design program is worth it's weight in gold, That's definitely an interesting program. This i'ble was more a Do It Yourself kind of thing though, I always try to foster sharing a new skill. That being said this might be a good program if your wanting a print to make a very large stencil, Thanks for commenting
Awesome! This is something similar:<br><br><br>Great 'ible and good luck making more designs!
Yeah, that would make a great stencil to tag stuff, I love the &quot;Why so serious?&quot; very cool!
I found the picture on the internet, so hopefully there are more!
You can buy at Michaels craft store a tool called a stencil cutter. it's basically a soldering iron or woodburning tool with a special tip that melts through the plastic stencil material. I haven't tried it, but I imagine it would make a nice smooth cut edge. I think they were about $10 or $15
I'll have to check that out, it could make the stencil cutting faster than with a blade. I've made a ton of stencils in the past and have always done it this way, but that's what I love best about this site you can always find ways to make the DIY skill faster and with more professional results by sharing experiences. I'm actually working on a tools I got from a hospital that exactly resembles an exacto knife that cauterizes surgical incisions, it has a heating element built in but it didn't come with the power source just the pen and the wire as my next step.
You could also use a service like Ponoko (www.ponoko.com) to laser cut stencils in a variety of materials. Reasonably inexpensive and very precise.
Very good idea, I think in in a more long term use of the logo I would probably use a service like this to reproduce the design several times. As a DIY'er I like to do most things by hand the first time, also so I can have it right now so I can see what it looks like IRL. There are a lot of i'bles stating the same &quot;slice this up for this amount of money&quot;, My attempt was more with just a few bucks in your pocket you can have a reusable stencil right now rather than waiting for it to be shipped. I've been up against this time crunch in the past and these are great in a pinch.
A caveat. If all you need is a single size logo or piece of artwork then a bitmap program like Photoshop or the GIMP or similar works fine.<br><br>But if you foresee you will need it in various sizes from poster to business card, then using a vector drawing program like Illustrator or Inkscape or a CAD program is a far better choice. You will be able to scale your final result without image degradation and save yourself future headaches.
Good point, Perhaps I should've made that a little clearer, that if someone is going to be re-using the logo for multiple sources then have something vector based is good for resizing as well. <br><br>My attempt was to address not only the logo portion of this i'ble, but also for those just looking to make the stencil that may not have access to certain software due to cost. However my intention was not to discuss or try to teach a software use such as illustrator or general graphics manipulation; it was more to the point of getting it into living form and keeping the i'ble down to a few pages. As you know teaching someone how to fully utilize Illustrator could take quite a few pages and my thought was perhaps that would be better left to another i'ble.

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