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D.I.Y Stencils: Quick Tutorial & a workshop opportunity!

By May 19, 2016No Comments



 First step, of course, is gathering materials!  You will need spray paint, an X-Acto knife, tape, a pencil, a backing to safely cut on, your image, and a space or surface to apply. Tip: If you don’t have the patience or hand strength to work with something as thick as cardboard or matboard, you can always purchase frisket film or Yupo paper.


  Tape your image firmly down onto the cardboard or matboard, making sure it is as flat and smooth as possible.


 Before you start cutting, be sure you have a good work surface that you don’t mind getting scratched. Also, be sure it is thick enough that it won’t go all the way through. X-acto knives are sharp!


Carefully and patiently use the X-Acto knife to score the outline of your shapes.


  Be careful with circles such as the inside of an ‘O’ or any small sections that aren’t connected elsewhere. Make thin bridges to connect these back to the main stencil. For example, we’ve made two bridges for the circles around the Art Central logo. If we hadn’t the image would fall through completely. It helps to mark these with a pencil or pen before cutting.


  Remove the image you taped on, and carefully go back over the areas you scored, this time cutting all the way through the cardboard and removing the piece you cut out. This is your chance to correct and clean up any spots of the scoring that you aren’t completely satisfied with.  Tip: Lightly running a pencil in the scored grooves makes it easier to see the lines you need to follow.


Time to paint!  Make sure to shake your can of paint very well. Be mindful of the distance between the cap and the stencil; too close will give you puddles of paint and too far away will give you lots of overspray. This isn’t terribly messy but in case of a gust of wind, be sure to wear clothes that can be ruined. Spraying outside is best for ventilation… just don’t forget to take wind into account.


You can use your stencil many times. Ours looked very pretty with the layers of paint! This will need time to dry before you can store it. Let it sit outside for a while because it will smell strongly of paint.


  Next, we decided to outline our images to give them presence and a bold appearance.


 Experiment with colors and combinations!  We used sea green and white matboard for our signs. For our paint we used Montana Gold’s Lime, Copperchrome, Sky Blue, Silver Matt, and Shock Pink Light. (We may be biased but we think that our Montana Gold brand spray paints are pretty awesome!)


 Ta-da! All finished and put up for display. This is a really fun project that you can revisit time and time again. Despite the somewhat time consuming beginning of this project, its lasting attribute makes it well worth while. We can put this on anything, at any time now! Have fun with it, be safe, and get creative!

Check out what else you can do with a stencil

This is SolarFast and it is so fun and so fast. It is a UV reactive dye, meaning the color comes out with sunlight. We did layers on a plain shirt and exposed it to sunlight twice. . This project only took minutes excluding the dry time of course. Our stencil is proving to be super useful already!

This Saturday (May 21) join us for our SolarFast workshop!  12-2pm, $10 per participant, bring your own T-shirt & stencils, found objects, etc!

Please call or e-mail us to reserve your space – 805-747-4200,