Introduction: Stencils With Islands - Pt. 2

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
So you want to spread your message with spraypaint, but you don't want your designs to be held back by worrying about pieces of a stencil connecting? Just use some cardboard, wire, and duct tape and you're ready to do the "impossible."

Big thanks to Tim Anderson for taking the action shots.

Step 1: Cut Your Stencil

Here I took Aphex Twin's symbol off the ol' Interweb and converted it into a vector drawing with Illustrator. I then cut the design out of cardboard with a laser cutter. You probably don't have this costly bit of gear at your place and neither do I. I just make do with what others are kind enough to let me play with.

The low-tech version would be to print out the design in reverse, tape it to cardboard, and go nuts with a box cutter or Xacto blade. But that's another story for another Instructable and you're smart and clever enough to figure it all out, right?

After you've made your cuts, put all the pieces back together. This is how you're sure the placement is right.

Step 2: Get Some Pieces of Wire

Cut it from a spool, straighten out some paperclips, or snip out sections from a coat hanger that's lost its crappy little cardboard tube. Four or five inch lengths are great. Three inches is good, too. Just look at the next step and your needs will become clear.

Move along.

Step 3: Make Some Wire Bridges

You're now going to "bridge" the gaps to the islands. Place at least three wires from the outside of the stencil to the island in the middle. Two are good for a quick job, but three will give you a solid connection. Four are even better. Five starts to get silly looking. Six are goofy. Seven starts to get kinda cool again. Eight is glorious. Nine sucks. What the hell was I talking about?

Step 4: Tape 'em Down

Secure the bridges! Ready the ramparts!

OK, this is duct tape. Duct tape on cardboard. Duct tape that is holding wire onto the cardboard. I'm sure you're not even reading this. Absolutely positive. Crap, I need some more wine.

Step 5: Holy Crap! It's Holding!

OK, no big shocker, eh? Kind of anticlimactic, huh? But holy crap, it freakin' works!

Step 6: Stick It, Spray It

Place the stencil on a nice and legal target, such as a piece of masonite with a big blue tarp behind it. The tarp was stained with some previous efforts at something... else. I really have no clue what that is. Make it up.

Oh yeah, then spray it with some spraypaint. Be smart and get a can that isn't about 40 years old that you found in the back of a closet. But if you're gonna make something to put up online, then grab whatever. These small pictures hide the gruesome details.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Stencil

Cardboard is thick and the gap is big enough (3-4mm) between the top where the wires are to the target surface that the bridges will become completely invisible.

This is one method, there are others. I made this method up myself, but I'm sure I wasn't the first by a long, long shot.

This is one design of infinite possibility. Copy it from a source like I did here as an example or make something new. New is better.

Push yourself. Post your own efforts in the comments or simply spread it to others around you.