Stencil-Like Vinyl Transfer for Laptops

138,213

438

35

Introduction: Stencil-Like Vinyl Transfer for Laptops

About: make what i share

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)
Scissors
Tape
Printed image to convert to stencil

Recommended:

Rubbing alcohol
Paper towel
Hairdrier

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.

XEROCRAFT Tucson

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Puzzles Speed Challenge

      Puzzles Speed Challenge
    • Secret Compartment Challenge

      Secret Compartment Challenge
    • Lighting Challenge

      Lighting Challenge

    35 Discussions

    0
    ac7ss
    ac7ss

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Not a stencil, but a vinyl transfer. Still a very good instructable.

    0
    clazman
    clazman

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, I'm glad you made this correction. It bothers me to see how naming of processes, equipment, procedures that I grew up with are being changed as done here. In addition, the comments made here are making the same error.
    This Instructable is describing the steps for creating and applying a vinyl applique.
    A stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, or metal, with letters or a design cut from it. This sheet is then placed on the surface so that it becomes a “mask” for controlling the painting of said surface.
    A decal is a film layer attached to a stiffer backing with a water-soluble adhesive. A design can be printed or painted on the film. The film with the design can be released from the backing by dipping in water. Once the film is released it can be slid from the backing onto the work piece.
    What I am saying is that with multiple definitions the “dictionary” is being corrupted and useless The result is a compromise of basic communication. No one will be able to communicate with another since each individual will have a different meaning of a particular word.

    0
    cassp1
    cassp1

    Reply 11 months ago

    Lol, "Stencil" is a great description for this DIY instructable... Geez, Overanalyze much!??

    1
    GoodAsh03
    GoodAsh03

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I get what you're saying. I'm using the word "stencil" more in reference to the urban pop art style the piece resembles. What it's actually made of -to be honest I had no idea what Contact paper was made of- or how it's applied wasn't really something I thought about. It was just this stuff I found at Ace that was cheap and easy to get hold of.

    But I take you point. Thank you.

    Jeremy

    0
    grenzenlos
    grenzenlos

    2 years ago

    Is this removable?

    0
    GoodAsh03
    GoodAsh03

    Reply 2 years ago

    Yes, the vinyl I used could be peeled off without tearing and left little to no adhesive residue.

    0
    DH101
    DH101

    4 years ago on Introduction

    If you were unable to get the exact xacto knife, what would you suggest as a good replacement?

    0
    GoodAsh03
    GoodAsh03

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Just get as thin a blade as possible. The thinner it is, the easier it is to make small, precise cuts. If what you're cutting does not have a lot of detail you could cut it with a razor blade. But be careful.

    0
    lorleans
    lorleans

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Is it just me, or does no one sell black contact paper anymore? I checked several stores to no avail, and I looked on their website, and they don't even have it there.

    0
    crewof502
    crewof502

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Home Depot my friend. In the cabinet section. That was the only hardware store that had it locally for me.

    0
    mykiscool
    mykiscool

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I know most people don't have this, but another good option would be to use a vinyl plotter to cut out the pattern.

    0
    cattitude
    cattitude

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Nice idea! I'm wondering though (this could be a stupid question)... why don't you stick the black contact paper on a sheet of glass, then cut it, then cover it with transparent contact paper and glue it to the laptop? Or am I missing something?

    And before I'll make one for my brother's laptop: doesn't the decal let loose if you only have those small tiny stripes left? Instead of one big sticker?

    I never made a decal so sorry if I am obnoxious or ignorant. Also sorry for my possible lame English since I'm Dutch.

    Thanks!

    0
    BarginsTech
    BarginsTech

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Im not sure why its done this way either. It seem like the first two pieces of contact paper are sticky side up on the black wax paper backing? Im not sure if this is to protect the work surface or to add bulk?

    I think one layer of clear paper facing sticky side up would be to catch the pieces being cut out of the black paper? otherwise it would be a puzzle right?

    Also your english is perfectly fine :] Kudos!

    0
    ratedgee
    ratedgee

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Vinyl Decal sticker paper is relatively cheap, as low as $4.00 a yard, with that in mind it seems pricier to buy the contact paper. I guess it means a whole lot more if you can figure these projects on your own, I guess...

    0
    fishbear
    fishbear

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Here's some cheap Contact paper I found: http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=16955

    And an even less-expensive version here: http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?product=3213

    0
    STEPcoach
    STEPcoach

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I've been wanting to promote my business this way, but it is pretty expensive to have the exact decal made, complete with logo and the wording I want. I work on my laptop in coffeeshops quite often and have wanted to make my computer into a mobile billboard. Thank you!

    0
    MichielB
    MichielB

    7 years ago on Step 2

    This is a great idea!!

    But why do you ad 2 clear contact papers to the back of the wax of the black contact paper?

    Greetz!!

    0
    MarkinDetroit

    After seeing this Instructable, I remember coming across some clear contact paper in the closet and recently some green contact paper in the garage. Somewhere around the house one of the kids has an X-acto swivel blade knife just for this detailed cutting.
    I have the supplies, the instructions.... let's see how well the system works!!