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How to Make Stencils to Paint Camo

Updated March 08, 2019

Stencils to paint a camouflage effect can be easily made at home with some cardboard, a pencil and a craft knife. To create a camouflage effect you will need two or three separate stencils of the same size with different patterns. Each will be used for a different paint colour. By layering the colours of paint and using a series of different stencils, you will make the camouflage pattern appear gradually.

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  1. Using the pencil, lightly draw a line down the middle of each sheet of cardboard horizontally and vertically to outline four quadrants. This will act as a guide for positioning the camouflage shapes so that each colour layer will overlap but not entirely cover each other.

  2. Sketch one or two blob shapes in the middle of each quadrant for the first stencil. You can look at a picture or item of camouflage clothing as a guide. You should draw simple rounded blobs with lots of arms and legs, a similar shape to coral or spilt oil (see Figure 1).

  3. For the second stencil, sketch one or two blob shapes of different sizes over the pencil lines. This ensures that the shapes painted in one colour do not completely cover the shapes on the previous layer, although some overlapping is fine (see Figure 2).

  4. For the third stencil, draw a blob shape in the centre of the square and one close to each corner (see Figure 3).

  5. On a level surface, use the craft knife to cut out the blob shapes for each stencil. If the card is thin enough, you may be able to use scissors.

  6. To paint a camouflage pattern using the stencils, first paint the surface entirely with the lightest of your four camouflage colours.

  7. When the paint is dry, position any one of the stencils over the background, secure it in place with painters' tape and paint in the blob shapes with the second palest colour. Leave the stencil in position until the paint dries.

  8. Position a second stencil over the background and paint in the blob shapes with the next darkest colour. Leave it to dry and then remove the stencil.

  9. Position the third stencil over the background, and paint with the darkest colour.

  10. Warning

    Always supervise children when using scissors and craft knives.

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Things You'll Need

  • Three square sheets of stiff cardboard, of a weight similar to cereal boxes
  • Pencil
  • Craft knife
  • Level cutting surface
  • Painters' tape

About the Author

A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.

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