How to Be the Next Banksy (a.k.a. How to Make Cool Graffiti Stencils)




About: I like to make things.

I made these these stencils at Techshop (

It's super quick, inexpensive, and easy!



Laser cutter
Adobe Illustrator

Step 1: Step 1: Create a Design for the Stencil

If you've ever been inspired by Banksy or cool street art, you should definitely try making your own mark! And, it's super easy, because all you need is Adobe Illustrator, cardboard, and a laser cutter. 

First, you need to design your stencil in Illustrator. I wanted to make something that would make people smile on the street so I chose nice sayings, like a love poem to the city. But, really anything and everything is possible!

Just make sure to outline the text (Ctrl+Shift+O on a PC) and set the stroke to .001 pt so the laser cuts through your outline. 

NOTE: I'd like to mention that if you do not have a laser cutter, you can simply print your design, lay it on top of a piece of cardboard, and use a blade to cut it out. This method will take more time and will not be as precise as a laser, but it's definitely still doable! 

Step 2: Step 2: Laser Cut Your Stencil

Now, it's time to laser cut your stencils!

I'm using a laser with an 18x24in bed, so my cardboard (scraps of a box found outside TechShop) was approximately that size.

I used the following vector settings:

50 speed
50% power
500 Hz frequency

Initially, I used 40% power but that was not high enough to cut through the whole piece of cardboard, so definitely make sure to test your settings. 

Press print & watch your stencils come to life!

Step 3: Step 3: Push Out the Letters and You're Good to Go!

All you need to do now is push out the inner letters or inner design! 

Make sure to only graffiti in safe, legal places! 



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    8 Discussions


    1 year ago

    may I ask I used medium settings n my laser is that the right settong

    1 reply

    1 year ago

    tagged a wall down in victoria with this will post pics sometime soon.

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I totally agree with spider87! I think everyone can do this project with or without a laser. I made a note of that in the first step. Thank you for your comment :)


    5 years ago

    I appreciate your use of a laser cutter but you're alienating a large portion of your audience acting as if it's a necessary piece. It would take a little longer and it's more manual but you could simply cut them out with a knife or an exacto blade...