Introduction: Simple Spray Paint Stencil

About: I like to create, no matter the medium. I've made furniture, digital models, costumes, props, videos, graphics, animations, restored a vehicle, etc.

I wanted to create a simple stencil to tag some of the things I have and will build. This is not high precision, but it gets the job done with a cool graffiti look. I'll also give you a few tips to make your final image really stand out. Check out the GIF above that animates the painting process and the video.


• Logo or image for the stencil, simple designs work best

For Sale/For Lease sign, the thinner the easier to cut

• Spray paint. I used orange, white, and black. I like Rustoleum.


• Hobby Knife to cut the pattern

Cutting Mat


• Hobby and utility knives are very sharp. Always cut away from your
hands and body. Cut precisely, slow and steady, and use a cutting mat so that you don't cut through anything you shouldn't. A straight edge will help guide the cuts.

• Spray paint must be used outdoors in a well ventilated area. A respirator or mask is recommended. Allow time to dry fully.
• Wear old clothes for painting. Chances are paint will find a way to get on your clothes.

• Don't paint an object, building, vehicle, etc if you don't own it and/or don't have permission.

Step 1: A Quick Stencil

Print out the logo for the stencil. I used my Ward Works logo. I deleted any colors to save from using so much printer ink.

I taped the logo to the For Sale sign and used a hobby knife and a straight edge for most of the cut. As you can see, I was overzealous in cutting the first W. I taped the vertical piece back on. You can start painting or...

Make your Logo Pop!

With the stencil done, it's time to paint. I started by spraying black to block out the stencil area. This will distinguish your logo from the background. I then held the stencil over the black and painted white. This will add a highlight to your logo, making it look more professional (if graffiti can be professional). Next I shifted the stencil slightly up and to the right and sprayed the orange. This gives it a drop shadow effect. I like the result and I like the over spray. Since the stencil is plastic, it will hold up to reuse.

Note one, test your paints. My white paint came out in globs due to a clogged nozzle/old paint. Another time, the white and black paint didn't like each other and ran.

Note two, for best results quick light passes of paint are best, two or three coats. I did not do this in the example above. I did one heavy coat. If you go with an even heavier coat, you can achieve a paint running effect which could be really cool. A lighter pass of paint, will make it look older and faded.