Introduction: Make Your Own Stencil

Picture of Make Your Own Stencil

Make a stencil to spray paint your...whatever onto anything without a fancy shmancy laser cutter!

What you'll need:

A printed out image
A Box Cutter
Hot Glue Gun
Duct tape (of course)
Spray Paint
Latex Gloves

Also, my image is relatively simple, but if you want to use one with spereate objects, use this tutorial with mine.

Oh, and this is my first instructable, so be constructive, but not too harsh.

Step 1: Preparation

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Gather your supplies.
Print out whatever image you want to use, and tape it to the foam board.

Step 2: Cutting

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The first thing you'll want to do is use your knife to poke holes through the image every 3/4 cm or so. Then take off the paper [or leave it on, doesn't really matter] and connect the dots with your knife, don't worry about small mistakes, we'll fix these later. Then pop out the shape of your image.

Step 3: Sand and Glue

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Now get your sand paper and sand along the inside of your stencil to smooth out the inside. If any curves are straight, you can cut more now as well.

Use your hot glue gun to make the inside of the stencil extra smooth. Draw a thick line, then use your tooth pick to spread smooth.

Also use tooth picks to reinforce any delicate parts, or parts the fell off while sanding. Youll notice I had to reattach part of my W.

Sorry for the blurry image.

Step 4: Test It Out

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So take it outside, and try it on a scrap piece of paper. Look at imperfections, and add glue/sand as needed. Also, to deal with over spray try some of these ideas (please comment on your own ideas)

Add a few layers of duct tape to the back for some padding
Hold the foam board extra tight to the peper
Use glue to make a thick line along the border to catch overspray.

Again, this is handmade, so there will always be some.

Step 5: PAINT!!!

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Now go around and paint everything you own!

Im lucky enough that I can make my initials with just one letter.

It looks like there is more over spray then there was, I did that to make it look cooler (IMO)


SzczekS (author)2016-06-14

very helpful article thanks for a lot....

but there is one more question: How to print stencil when the letters are very big?

Who has a same problem I recomend to use poster softwere for printing a large stencils. Then I was making stencil like at the article

NordiKChicK (author)2014-12-14

I have also used frisket on walls for my bigger stencils. it hold them in place, completely blocks paint leak-through and the best part for me is- you can cut while it's on the wall and it doesn't stick permanently and you can move it around and re-use it.

bradley_maassen (author)2012-03-31

It looks like your using Styrofoam, and I used cardboard and instead of glue i taped the insides and it worked just as good. Thanks.

ahill24 (author)2011-11-25

Hi, I was going to paint a hot air balloon on the wall of my room (possibly in the corner, so a stencil might not work). I was wondering if you have any ideas of how I could do this in a relatively short time frame. Thanks.

Metalman000 (author)2011-07-10


Sk8it025 (author)2010-08-15

You could also use 3m spray adhesive on the back of your stencil so its sticks or if you want to put your stencil on the wall without holding it and getting paint on your hands

srayanjana (author)2010-04-11

wow I dont have a glue gun ,what am I soupost to do?

Moennet (author)srayanjana2010-06-08

they have one at joannes that I bought for I think 5 bucks and hundred pack glue sticks. ^o^

Chelsey Stackhouse (author)2009-09-03

I am looking to make a stencil to put a somewhat complicated logo onto a presentation folder. The logo involves words and a mask - pretty intricate and lots of curves - not sure the foam board idea will work, any other suggestions?

Acetate sheets work pretty well. They're the transparencies used on overhead projectors.

evy-wevy (author)2007-02-03

use a sharp knife....utility knifes aren't sharp enough. I steal overhead sheets from school and mcdonalds signage from work, So ican use it over and over and over again. I just stenciled my favourite tag on 3 of my new binders for semester 2.

You mean acetate sheets? Ive wanted them for photography gels before, but never thought of them for stencils. Why wont a utility knife work? and what kind of knife are you thinking of?

brand new razors or point tipped scalpels

PKTraceur (author)evy-wevy2009-05-31

An X-Acto knife is basically a scalpel... -PKT

erfonz (author)2007-02-24

I was thinking it was that stuff that has hard-ish glossy type papers sandwiching foam.

Ryver (author)erfonz2009-05-17

The product you're describing sounds like "foamcore" or "foamboard". Political signs are also frequently made from corrugated plastic (exactly like cardboard, but made with plastic instead of paper), but I doubt that would work very well for stencils.

mharrison622 (author)2009-03-21

Thanks this really helped me make my own stencil for my room.

Tetris1 (author)2008-07-27

I make stenciled shirts all the time and I use thin plastic from the craft store u can also use the cover to a note book or even card stock paper atleast 110 lbs I've used all of these so know that they work

fungus amungus (author)2007-02-04

Way to go, laser cutters are overrated! :) Try printing out your design in reverse and cut that design out of the board. For corrugated material with multiple layers this helps you get a clean design on the bottom. You can even cut slightly wider on the top layer for the paint to get through. To support your peninsulas, run wire bridges from the tip to the opposite side. Works wonders. If you're still getting underspray, apply a light coat of spray mount to the bottom of the stencil. This will hold it in place and give a clean effect. Another method is to print out your design, get it laminated at Office Max/Depot for a couple bucks, and then cut it out with an X-Acto. It'll hurt your fingers and you'll be destroying blades, but it's nice

angie70z (author)fungus amungus2007-04-06

i wanted to do screen prints but don't want to keep exposing them. thought of stenciling a design to have it for several uses but has anyone ever tried to use the screen printing plistsol paint with a stencil???

Those are a few really good ideas, but what is spray mount?

Aerosol adhesive. Google it. You can find it in office supply and art supply stores.

Oh, ive got some of that, but how will it help the overspray?

you spray the back of the stencil, and then place it on the surface, such as a wall. then it will hold to the wall, and the edges will stick, so when you spray, the edges of the stencil wont allow any underspray to occur under the stencil. (its called underspray, not over spray).

depending on what spray/surface your using, it is best to read the instructions on the can, but in any case, dont spray and then place it immediately. better spray, wait a couple mins, then place it on. if you do it to soon it will bond too well for your purposes.

ohh, I understand. But how easily will the stencil come back off?

Do as latobada said and it'll come off easily.

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-02-03

I'm not sure, ill take a picture later.

erfonz (author)2007-02-02

I like to cut them out of the plastic cardboard stuff they use for political yard signs. It's really durable compared to normal cardboard. I've never used foamboard though, I might try it sometime.

Weissensteinburg (author)erfonz2007-02-02

I'm not sure if thats what its actually called. We just have a bunch of it laying around from home depot for a project that was never done. I think its just like the political signs.

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy photography, horticulture and carpentry, and am almost always doing something relating to of those things.
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