Introduction: Laser Cut Quilting Stencil

This Instructable will illustrate how I made a Quilting Stencil at the Techshop, San Jose,CA, Quilting Stencils are used to mark a repeated pattern on a quilt as a guide for the quilter to follow as they stitch a quilt together. The stencil is placed on the quilt and the pattern is transferred to the guilt fabric by one of several methods. It may be padded with powdered chalk to leave a trace of the pattern or marked with a speciality pencil or marker pen. The pattern is lifted and re-placed along the quilt and marked. Lather, rinse and repeat.

The second and subsequent rows take advantage of registration marks in the stencil to align those rows. The registration marks are, in this case, the tips of the top-most loops.

Step 1: Create Stencil Drawing

In this case I started with a pattern I found at:Google Images > Free Quilt Templates. I saved the image as a jpeg onto my desktop. I work in Corel Draw, so your steps may vary, but here is what I did:

File> open New Import Image (from desktop)

Edit bitmap> Image>resample (original image was ~72 DPI, resample to~300 DPI)

Edit bitmap> convert to black and white (line art) > Finish edit > save

Trace bitmap > Centerlin trace (Line drawing) > OK

Delete unwanted rows

Re-size to desired size

Break apart curve and trim unwanted line segments.

Select All . line weight=8, line style = _ _ _ _ _ _

Convert to bitmap (300 dpi, black and white, 1 bit)

Trace Bitmap> outline trace> High quality image.

Select all> outline= hairline, fill=no fill

This gave me a stencil like pattern I could laser cut from .020 thick LED diffuser plastic I bought at Tap Plastic. The stencil cutout spaces are ~.11 inches wide and ~ .68 inches long.

Step 2: Cut Stencil

Place the plastic sheet in the laser and perform the focus routine. Using cut-off pieces, perform test cuts. The parameters I used are shown above. The LED diffuser plastic cut very well; sharp edges with no melting.

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