Stencils are templates for spray painting. Depending on the size and surface, they differ in material and shapes. You may choose to draw, buy or download a shape for your stencil. In each case, you will need to choose material to print it or draw it on. In addition, drawing tools vary depending on material. Paper stencils call for markers or pens, while plastic stencils need plastic paint for shape drawing.
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Cardboard and Foam Board Stencils
Cardboard and foam boards are the simplest option for flat surfaces. You cut them with a knife, so use them only for large stencils lacking in detail. They are also a good solution for tracing patterns. Use cardboard for letter patterns, but not for difficult shapes such as animals or plants. You may use cardboard cut from used boxes. Cardboard stencils have several uses, but foam board will work only once.
Paper and Poster Boards
A simple piece of paper may become a stencil for single use. Paper is a good choice if you are spraying rounded surfaces. Cardboard and foam boards break when folded, but paper endures it. Since it is smooth and soft, you may attempt more detailed stencils. Scissors are also more beneficial for details than knives. Attach the paper firmly before spraying to avoid blots on the edges. Poster boards are less soft and good for flat surfaces. You may use it for a slightly rounded surface and make a detail-rich stencil for one use.
Plastic stencils are applicable to both flat and rounded surfaces. They are reusable. For home-made stencils, plastic calls for plastic paint to draw upon it, which makes it a bit more expensive solution than paper and cardboard. You need knives to cut shapes in plastic. Pocket or scribing knives will do. Use plastic for stencils when you need more than one application, such as when making repeating patterns on a wall.
Aluminium stencils last a lifetime. Metal is the most expensive material and hardest to cut, but if you need more applications in future, it is the best choice. Aluminium stencils are fit for flat surfaces only and detail level depends on your carving skill. To make a stencil in aluminium you need laser equipment, or you may simply buy a prefabricated aluminium stencil.
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