How to Stencil Paint Waving Flags

Written by philippa jones
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How to Stencil Paint Waving Flags
Create a stencil of a waving flag. (Ryan McVay/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Making your own stencil is a cost-effective way of decorating a space. With so many patterns, designs and images available, you have plenty of opportunity to create a personalised design. Stencils are simple to make, and easy to use with spray paint. To make a stencil with a professional finish, it is best to copy from an original image rather than draw your own outline. Of course, if you feel confident then you could also draw your own.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Image of waving flag
  • Pencil
  • 0.003-inch clear acetate
  • Masking tape
  • Sheet of cardboard
  • Permanent marker pen
  • Craft knife
  • Spray paint

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Print off your image of a waving flag. The defining characteristics of a waving flag are the wavy lines around its edge which show that it is moving in the air. Make sure your picture includes this.

  2. 2

    Tape the image to the cardboard using the masking tape. Then, line up the sheet of acetate over the top. Use the masking tape to also tape this firmly. By doing so you can be sure neither sheet moves out of place while you create the stencil.

  3. 3

    Trace the outline of the waving flag onto the acetate, using the permanent marker. Remember, you do not need to include all the details. The outline of the flag plus the basic pattern in the middle is ideal. For example, for the U.S. flag simply add four or five stars in the blue square to avoid complicating the stencil.

  4. 4

    Tape a second sheet of acetate over the top of the first, and trace exactly the same pattern onto it. You will cut out opposite sections of each one, so that when you spray paint you have a complete flag image.

  5. 5

    Remove both the sheets of acetate from the cardboard, and plan which areas to cut out of each one. For example, for the U.S. flag cut out the red stripes on one, and the white on the other. Plus, remove the stars on one stencil and remove the area around the stars on the other. When the stencils overlap the whole pattern comes together.

  6. 6

    Use a craft knife to cut along the lines to remove the areas that you planned to remove during step 5. Make sure you lean on the cardboard when cutting to avoid cutting the surface below.

  7. 7

    Press firmly and smoothly when you cut along the wavy flag outline. Drag the craft knife towards you slowly in one complete motion to avoid creating a jagged stencil edge.

  8. 8

    Use masking tape to stick the first stencil into position. Make sure you choose the one that has the lighter coloured areas removed first because you will spray the darker colours on top.

  9. 9

    Spray paint the stencil. Shake the paint thoroughly before you spray it, and build up layers slowly, by allowing them to dry in between. You can combine different colours but make sure you don't spray over the top. If it is a detailed flag, use acrylic paints instead.

  10. 10

    Leave the paint to dry, then remove the stencil. Then, repeat steps 8 and 9 to finish the full waving flag image. Finish off the flag by painting a single vertical brown line down from one corner of the flag to represent the flag pole.

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