Stencil for Spray Painting - Quick and Fun




I'll show a fast and fun way to take scraps of cardboard / duct tape / random items / etc. to make a quick stencil. With a little creativity, being light on the first spray or so, and doing it in a wind-free spot, you can make sharp stencils for nothing. Easy to leap from this idea to multi-layered stencils with different colors.

I've spray paint stenciled clothes for a while, and have a few shirts that I spray painted about 7 years ago that still hold strong. After a good hanging out to get the fumes out and a run through a washer, it's all ready to wear.

I'm planning on doing some more thorough experiments and will share notes as I go.

Step 1: Make a Stencil...

So if you want to spray paint a stencil a first thought might be that whatever you use for the stencil has to be waterproof/heavyduty/thick/whathaveyou. It doesn't have to be. I've used light printer paper and cut it out with an exacto to make feathers for a griffin design and that made many sprays.

The trick is to go very light with the first spray you do. If you spray a thin even coat on your paper, and let it dry, then repeat, ie, build up slowly, you get a waterproof coating on your stencil paper. If you spray too hard you can soak or sog it down and it either gunks up or rips and falls apart.

I made some stencils on a whim after pulling a cardboard donut out of a 2gal glass bottle I bought and thinking it would be a nice frame for a stencil.

The other bits are just duct tape and printer paper cut after being folder over 2wice and cut out with scissors (I reinforced their bottom with ducttape).

Step 2: Weigh Down and Spray...

once you have a stencil you want to try, find a nice sheltered spot (I use the basement for 1 or 2 offs, if you are going to spray for a while, go outside!), smooth out folds in the fabric you want to spray, weigh down the stencil with 6 dollars worth of quarters, hammer head, stones, random tools, scrap wood, etc.

As long as you spray over your stencil in a gesture that's like petting it down with your hand you can keep nice sharp detail. Don't rush to force out a super dark spray the first time. You can hit it light, let it set, and spray onto that. Repeat as you need. I like one light hit on the fabric so it's softer looking and doesn't have too much junk hanging out on me.

Step 3: Check 'em Out!

After you spray one or two coats, you certainly want to just let it sit for at least a few minutes. I'd then recommend hanging them outside on a windy day or two and even running through the next wash before wearing. I tend to only spray paint on clothes that are already dirty and ready for the laundry for this reason.

I know this was a quick and dirty instructable, but maybe its useful to someone to get some ideas rolling?

Have fun, share cool stuff!

Step 4: More Stuff

griffin design I used to tag tools / buckets / walls / my mailbox and an unlucky pair of tightie whyties

tree cut out I did a few years back. I lost the stencil, I liked it.



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    7 Discussions


    9 years ago on Step 2

    I've found that rubber cement works really well for holding down the stencil. It makes a really crisp outline, it's really easy to pull the stencil off when you're done, and the glue rubs right off the fabric.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm... seems like it would be hard to do for a complex design, but then again you would need to cut out the complex design from any stencil lol.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    booch as in kombucha. I always call it booch, like hooch but without the badness.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Anything I had! I've used enamel, although that can be a bit stiff, but I think basic latex cheapo spraypaint has worked quite well for me and lasts a while. I've got that stencil on a pair of overalls that get a ton of use and it's still strong and clear. Good luck!