Pocket Stencil With a Credit Card




All of us get them. One of those "your name here" false credit cards that try to convince you to buy a real one. Most people simply toss these in the trash. But you don't, right? That's wasting! That's filling up the landfills! No, both you and I know that there's plenty of potential in those pocket-able pieces of plastic. Here's one of their many uses.

A stencil! Who doesn't love a good stencil? Here's a neat, green (not in color, in the eco-friendly sense. Although I suppose it could be both), free stencil that can get the job done.

This is my submission to the Pocket-Sized contest! Although I'm sure there'll be plenty of great entries out there, I'd love a few votes for my first instructable!

**Don't use this to tag somebody else's property or vandalize anything. If you do and get caught, don't come crying to me.**

**There are sharp objects used in the creation of this stencil. Be a big kid and practice knife/pointy object safety**

Step 1: Materials and Tools

A relatively simple project, you will only need:

-A fake credit card (I suppose a real one could work. I haven't tried)
-A sharpie/marking tool of some sort
-An x-acto knife/knock-off x-acto/something similar
-An ordinary tack

that's all that's required, although I would recomend:
-A styrofoam block or something similar to work on top of
-A bag that the card will fit into (mine was part of packaging that would've been thrown away. Reuse!)
-Some tape, just in case of an accident
-A plan! I didn't have one, but I suppose you could if you'd like

if you chose to build the graffiti pen:
-a permanent marker
-a regular pen

Step 2: A Man. a Plan. a Camel. Pachyderm?

Write something on the card with your sharpie. It could be anything that you think would make a good stencil. Something like a phrase, your name, or even a simple graphic would probably work out fine. I wrote "run with scissors!" Make sure the letters are kinda big, to make it easier on yourself later.

The only thing to be aware of are islands. Letters like o, e, a, b, and d all have "islands". Take a look at the "o" in "scissors". See how it has to have that bridge? It's because, as we all know, things can't float (most of the time), and the inner circle that defines the "o" has to be attached somehow. They're really annoying, and I don't like the look they have. You can have all you want, I guess. I just don't like them and don't enjoy dealing with them.

I didn't plan ahead too much with mine, and it ended up making the "o" more of a "c".

Run with scisscrs all you like.

Step 3: Ready Your Wrist and Poke Some Holes

Now that you've got your (phrase, name, picture, president) written, it's time to prep it for cutting. Take your tack and poke holes all along the outside edge of your letters. You aren't trying to cut through, you're only making it easier for you to cut with the x-acto later. Poke lots of holes anyway. Take your time, and make sure you have bridges to all of your islands. Ferries won't cut it here.

I put the card on top of a block of styrofoam. This made poking holes extremely easy. I don't even know how you could do it without something like this. I suppose a block of wood, or some newspaper perhaps, would work as well. You have to have it over something.

After you get a few letters down, you'll notice the card beginning to warp a bit. Don't worry, after you cut out the letters this will even out.

Step 4: Take a Deep Breath and Cut Away

Now that you've got all the holes prepped, you can take the x-acto to the card and begin cutting out the letters. It should come away fairly easily. I surprised myself a few times with the easiness of it and ended up cutting too far. Take your time with this part.

Step 5: All the King's Horses and All the Kings Men...

...forcibly assembled Humpty again.

If you should make a mistake, don't feel bad. Your friend scotch tape is there to help. Patch it up as best you can, and then cut away the excess with the x-acto.

If that doesn't work, get creative! Try something like glue, or papier-mache, or a paperclip and a stick of chewing gum.

If you can't get it to work, deal with it or start over.

As you can see, the "run with scissors" originally had an exclamation point at the end. A mistake while cutting cut of the bottom part of that along with part of the "s".
I omitted the exclamation mark to save the s as simply as possible.

Step 6: Bag It. Tag (with) It.

So, now you have yourself a stencil! Congratulations!

If you have a bag of some sort, put the card in there and the bag in your wallet until you're ready to use it.
The bag will surely be nice if you're in, say, an elementary classroom. Tag the scissor box*, place the stencil in the bag, and put the bag in your wallet. That way you don't get paint all over your wallet!
I suppose you could throw out the stencil otherwise, but where's the fun in that?
*please do not tag a scissor box

Now, I'm not going to teach you how to use your stencil. It should be simple enough.

"But," you may be thinking,"what about all those rough little holes around the sides?"
Well, not to worry, little friend. They don't show up at all if you use spray paint. I suppose if you'd like, you could file them down, or do something about them.

Step 7: A Simple Way to Use Your Stencil

PocketSized created the Pocket Graffiti Pen (it's a great project, you really should check it out if you haven't yet), seen here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Pocket-Graffiti-Pen/. This would definitely be the best way to keep things "pocket-sized". His instructable has much more detailed instructions, but in short, what you need to do is:

-take a permanent marker. I used an expo the first time around, and it worked
-remove the nib (tip; what you draw/mark with)

-take an ordinary pen apart.
-keep only the main body of the pen, the cap, and the piece that holds the tip and ink inside
-put it all back together, with only those 3 pieces

-put the nib in the pen
-remove the cap and blow!

I'll have some pics up for this step later today. I'll have to find the materials again (1st one with expo broke).

Another idea that I thought about, but haven't implemented (yet) would be to use a sponge and an ink pad (like for stamps). The only problem would be, as Kiteman pointed out down below, holding "three things with two hands." I would either tape the stencil down (which I would recommend anyway, considering it will move around otherwise) or set the pad on the ground.

Step 8: Improve Upon the Idea!

Now go and make your own!
I'd be honored if someone with a laser cutter made one, I'd love to see how it turns out.

Let me know if there are any points I obviously missed, grammatical errors, or something I could clarify.

Also let me know if you make one, and tell me about any changes you make.

Thanks a bunch, use the stencil responsibly, and run with scissors once in a while*!

*don't actually do this



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    14 Discussions

    To expand upon what Kiteman said, I think pocket-sized paint would be ideal. You can find a little pocket-sized spray bottle at most art supply stores- I use one to put up stickers. It's easily concealable and holds a fine amount of liquid.

    3 replies

    I was thinking of something like India ink. Something permanent but won't clog the nozzle. Maybe just put a ton of spraypaint in there or something. :p


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I saw at the home repo a bottle of grout sealer with a small brush made into the tip, you just sqeezed out the juice into the middle of the brush and appied it. It seems like you could fill that bottle/brush with paint, and go at it.

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is a good idea. Now you need to pocket-size the paint - may put some in one of those little pump-action sprays for misting oil? Or use a bingo dabber?

    5 replies
    Damage, Inc.Kiteman

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, that's definitely my next step. I was thinking maybe a sponge and one of those ink pads for stamps (or something close), but I'd have to smooth the edges of the letters because they'd probably catch on the sponge.