Ever since I discovered spray paint at the age of 7 or 8, making stencils has always been a hobby of mine. After years of developing my stencils from paper, to cardboard, card stock, sticky-back printer paper, and styrene plastic, I’ve finally figured out a fool proof way to transfer just about any design to any surface you want. The trick involves a cutting board, an XActo knife, spray paint, and the magic ingredient: blue masking tap (painter’s tape).

I'll be using a couple stencils that I did of some company logos as examples. I made these stencils for the fuselage of the Viper Flight Simulator (they were sponsors).

Step 1: Choosing a Design

The first step in making a great stencil is finding a design that will stencil well. Usually images with two tones and hard lines work the best, but it is possible to do things like gradients, faded edges, and multiple colors. For your first stencil though, choose a design that only has two colors (the design is one color and the background is another), hard edges (no feathering), and also make sure it is relatively “simple”. For instance, the Mandelbrot set satisfies the first two criteria because it only has hard edges and two colors, but it would literally take you forever to cut it out, so don’t choose something like this.

The logos I chose were fairly simple for the same reasons. Not to many colors, hard edges, pretty simple to cut out. 
<p>Great instructable, thanks for this. This is what I used it for...</p>

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Bio: I'm a senior at Harvey Mudd in Claremont California. This past summer I worked at Make Magazine. I love working out and eating well ... More »
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