Walk into many hobby stores and you can find a plethora of stencil shapes for creating your own masterpieces. Stencils are not limited to shapes and characters, though; there are also alphabet and word stencils that allow you to put the writing on the wall with fonts you may not be able to create by hand. While purchasing a bunch of stencils can get expensive, with a home computer and word processing program you can create a library of alphabet stencils for a little more than the price of printer paper and a pack of card stock.
Align your document to the centre by clicking on the "Center" icon in the Page Setup menu, or choosing "Center" from a pull-down menu.
Find a font that you like in the word processing program by accessing the font menu and scrolling through it, then highlighting the font you desire. Type the letter "A" so you can size the font. Highlight the "A" and then choose different font sizes from the font menu until you find the size that you like. You can also type a number into the font box.
Type out the rest of the alphabet in upper or lower case letters, or both if needed, and hit "Enter" after each letter to give each letter its own page. Depending on the size of your stencil, you may need to hit "Enter" numerous times after each letter.
Print out the letters.
Place a sheet of card stock or thin cardboard on the thick cardboard or cutting mat, then place one sheet with a letter on top of the stack, centring the paper.
Firmly press the paper down with one hand and use the other hand to cut out along the edge of each letter with the X-acto knife. Repeat this step and the last with each letter. While most letters will be one piece, the following letters will have extra pieces that will be cut out because they have closed loops: "A," "B," "D," "O," "P," "Q" and "R" for upper case lettering, and "a," "b," "d," "e," "g, "o," "p" and "q" for lower case lettering. Save these pieces so you can insert them when stencilling to maintain the proper look of the font.
Take the cut out "N" and use the ruler to measure and mark one inch from each of its edges. Use the ruler and the one inch marks to draw a rectangle around the "N," then use the scissors to cut along the line until you have cut a rectangle around the "N." Use this as a template to cut a rectangle around each of the other letters. These rectangle will provide uniform spacing for your stencils.
Use the permanent marker to label the plastic bag "Alphabet Stencils" then put the stencils and extra pieces in the bag and seal it to protect them from moisture.
Play around with the spacing and alignment of the fonts to fit more letters on one sheet if you want smaller stencils. If you have an unsteady hand, use the ruler as a guide when cutting along straight edges.
X-acto knives can be very dangerous; apply even pressure while cutting, and pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the blade.
Tips and warnings
- Play around with the spacing and alignment of the fonts to fit more letters on one sheet if you want smaller stencils.
- If you have an unsteady hand, use the ruler as a guide when cutting along straight edges.
- X-acto knives can be very dangerous; apply even pressure while cutting, and pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the blade.