This instructable was submitted by Xerocraft Hackerspace in Tucson for the Instructables Sponsorship Program.
Stencil art is a popular and fun way to personalize your otherwise ordinary, uniform laptop. With this tutorial you can make your own customized vinyl transfers cheaply and easily.
For this project you'll need:
Clear Contact adhesive paper (www.contactbrand.com; sold by the foot or in rolls at hardware stores)
Black Contact adhesive paper
#11 exacto knife
Ruler (with a cutting edge)
Printed image to convert to stencil
Step 1: Choose Your Image
Print out the image you want to stencil. The best images to use are black and white with stark contrasts and not an incredible amount of detail. You can print it out on regular paper. Cut off any unneeded borders.
Step 2: Cut the Contact Paper
Cut out one piece of black Contact paper and three pieces of clear Contact paper. Cut them out to a slightly larger size than the image.
Flip the black Contact over so that the wax paper side is up. Peel off the first square of clear Contact and adhere it to the wax paper side. Do the same with the second square of clear Contact (two layers are used to help hold the vinyl transfer together after you start cutting). Leave the third sheet of clear Contact aside for now. You'll need it later.
Step 3: Position Image Over Black Contact Paper
Tape the image directly to the black Contact paper. Tape the clear Contact paper to the cutting surface.
Step 4: Cut Out the Stencil
With your brand new #11 exacto knife blade, CAREFULLY cut out the image. Go along the black lines.
MAKE SURE TO ONLY REMOVE THE WHITE PIECES (ALONG WITH THE UNDERLYING BLACK PIECES) FROM THE DECAL AS YOU CUT. The white pieces will be empty space on the laptop.
Take your time here. As you pick off the unwanted pieces using the tip of the exacto knife, make sure there are no small sinews that will cause wanted pieces of black Contact to come off with the unwanted pieces.
After you've cut out the last unwanted piece, cut along the perimeter of the image to free all of the black pieces from the border of the black Contact paper.
Step 5: Prime Your Stencil for Adhesion
Remember that third square of clear Contact I had you set aside earlier? Grab it, peel off the wax paper and set it down with the sticky side up. From end to end, lay the vinyl transfer against the clear Contact (stencil side down) and firmly press down. Push out any gaps and air bubbles.
Once the two pieces are firmly adhered, peel off the wax paper. The black Contact paper of the decal should stay stuck to the clear Contact.
NOTE: If you have trouble getting the black Contact to peel free from the wax paper, use the exacto knife to slowly pick the pieces free.
Step 6: Clean the Laptop Surface
Use rubbing alcohol to clean the surface where the transfer will go. This gets rid of substances that would hinder the Contact paper from sticking properly.
Step 7: Apply the Stencil
Place the transfer over the cleaned spot of the laptop where you want it to go. Take your time to position it just right.
When you're happy, press down firmly on the black pieces of the decal for a few minutes. Blast it with a hairdryer to help with adhesion.
Step 8: Bask in Your Awesomeness
Now you're an individual, just like everyone else.