How to make your own adhesive wall stencils

Written by shauntelle hamlett
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Stencils are a great tool for painting beautiful designs on every type of object imaginable. While you can buy premade stencils at your local art supply or craft store, making your own stencil is an easy way to get a unique look. With the help of free clip art and repositionable adhesive spray, you can create your own supply of wall stencils to customise every room in your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Printed Clip Art (or simple image)
  • 9"x12" Mylar Stencil Film
  • Fine point black marker
  • Cutting Mat or large cutting board
  • Exacto Knife
  • Masking Tape
  • Repositionable Adhesive Spray
  • Large plastic bag or plastic drop cloth

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  1. 1

    Select a clip art (or other simple image) to use for stencil. Enlarge and print on to an 8 by 12 inch piece of white paper.

  2. 2

    Tape your image down on the cutting board. Then place the mylar stencil film on top of your image and tape it into place.

  3. 3

    Use the marker to trace the outline of your clip art on to the mylar. Once you have completely traced the outline you can remove the print of your clip art and tape the mylar to the cutting board again (or, if you don't want to reuse the printed clip art, you can skip to the next step).

  4. 4

    Carefully use the exacto knife to cut out the interior area of the outline. Remember that you are cutting out the parts of the image that will contain the paint colour! Your stencil will provide the outline of the image that you want to paint on your wall.

  5. 5

    Remove your new stencil from the cutting board and lay flat on top of the plastic drop cloth (or a flattened, large plastic bag). Spray with repositionable adhesive spray (follow the manufacturer's directions).

Tips and warnings

  • Large, simple images are best to begin creating stencils.
  • You can create words for stencilling by printing in a large font size (for example 72) in a big type (font style). Sans serif style fonts like Century Gothic, Helvetica, and Futura are easier to cut out.
  • Browse stencil sites like the to get ideas for types of stencil designs.
  • Be sure to use a cutting board, self healing cutting mat, or other disposable, hard object to cut on. The exacto knife is very sharp and will damage glass and wood. You do not want to cut your stencil out on top of anything that you do not want to damage (like your kitchen table or counter top).

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