How to Stencil a Compass Design

Written by alyssa ideboen
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How to Stencil a Compass Design
Use a pre-made template or create your own stencil out of simple shapes. (pink and yellow stencils image by timur1970 from

Invoke images of nautical adventure with a compass stencil design in your arts and crafts. Whether you choose a pre-made stencil or create your own design, stencils can dress up walls, accentuate greeting cards and enhance furniture pieces. With simple tools, create a stencil compass that can decorate many different types of mediums.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Thin stencilling plastic
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Craft Knife
  • Marking pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Ruler
  • Level
  • Stencil or sponge brushes
  • Acrylic or stencil paint
  • Paint palette
  • Paper towels

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  1. 1

    Choose a compass stencil design you wish to create into a stencil. Trace the design on a piece of paper with a dark coloured pencil. Lay stencilling plastic over design and trace with marking pencil. Cut out design with a craft knife.

  2. 2

    Tack down stencil with masking tape. Choose the dominant colour in the compass design and cover up remaining stencil sections with masking tape. Measure with rule and level to make sure design is both centred and straight on the medium.

  3. 3

    Mix acrylic paint or other craft paint on a paint palate. Only use one colour at a time to prevent exposed paint from drying out. Thin out thick paint with a little water for easy application.

  4. 4

    Dab paint on exposed compass sections with a stencil brush or sponge brush. Use small quantities of paint, layering more on as you go. Too much paint can cause the stencil sections to bleed. Since a compass design traditionally has small geometric areas, bleeding paint can ruin the design. Allow the paint to dry.

  5. 5

    Uncover remaining stencil sections and paint them according to taste. Experiment with different paint texture techniques. For a nautical look, try sponging a darker colour as a base, and then paint over the same sections with a lighter colour towards the centre of the sections. Remove stencil and allow paint to dry thoroughly.

Tips and warnings

  • Spread out plastic sheeting over your workspace to prevent unwanted paint splatters.
  • Choose blues, greys and browns for your compass design to tie in with a nautical theme.
  • Combine a compass design with rope and boat stencils to accentuate the theme.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area when using paint.

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