DIY Stencil Cutter

Written by marge burkell
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DIY Stencil Cutter
Fine-tipped craft knives cut precise stencils. (careful! image by Josef F Stuefer from

There is no need for fancy stencil cutters when a stencil needs to be made for a project. The simplest way to achieve successful results is still a preferred do-it-yourself method for a fast, clean stencil. A craft or utility knife, along with a smooth piece of protected glass, cuts a quick and easy stencil. With a little practice, the DIY-cut stencil will rival laser-cut stencils and will allow the artist the freedom to choose whatever image is preferred.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Graphic black and white photocopy
  • Stencil plastic
  • Fine line permanent marker
  • Utility or craft knife
  • Scrap of thick picture frame glass
  • Masking tape

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    DIY Stencil Cutter

  1. 1

    Mask all four edges of scrap glass (at least 8 inches square) thoroughly with tape to protect from injuries.

  2. 2

    Transfer an image to the stencil plastic by tracing it onto the plastic with a fine-tipped permanent marker.

  3. 3

    Cut using a sharp-tipped utility or craft knife. Working with the stencil plastic against the glass, cut out all areas of the image you want to transfer with stencil paint. Practice moving the blade in a fluid line, moving the plastic rather than the knife when changing direction. This will give you clean results on curves. The fewer times the blade leaves the stencil, the smoother the curves.

Tips and warnings

  • Check local hardware stores for bargain-priced scraps of glass left over from larger projects.

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