How to Make a Good Stencil

Written by susan e. johnson
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How to Make a Good Stencil
Turn your favourite pictures into simple stencil designs. (green pattern from branches image by amlet from

Stencilling can be a fun and inexpensive design project. Stencils are a quick way to add a little character and colour to walls, cabinets, chairs or just about anything with a fairly flat surface. Finding the right stencil can be harder than the work of completing the actual project. There are ready-to-use stencils available for purchase, but making your own is another option. Simple stencils are easy to make and require just a few common tools and a steady hand to complete.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Home printer with black ink
  • White paper
  • Stencil sheet
  • Painter's tape
  • Razor blade or craft knife
  • Foam board or heavy paper

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  1. 1

    Print a simple stencil design, such as a flower or words, on your home printer. Print in black only. Print several sizes of the design so you can pick right size for your project. Don't print any images any within 1/2 inch to the paper's edge.

  2. 2

    Cut out the design out of the centre of the paper using a sharp razor blade or craft knife. This creates a template for the plastic stencil sheet.

  3. 3

    Tape the paper template onto the plastic stencil sheet using painter's tape on the outside edges only. Using a very sharp razor blade or craft knife, cut out the design following the template. Use smooth cutting motions to avoid creating nicks or cutting past the edge of the design. Imperfections like these will cause imperfections in the finished stencil project.

  4. 4

    Practice stencilling, using the newly made stencil, on a piece of foam board or heavy paper. This will help you see any imperfections or design issues that may need to be adjusted before continuing your project.

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