How to Make a Stencil

Okay folks. Our little main bathroom paint job is done. Maybe a bit earlier than expected, as we decided to host a ‘Grey Cup’ (the Canadian Football leagues ‘Superbowl’) party at the last second. The. very. last. second.

We managed to pull ourselves together in the nick of time. But, before I show you the before and after (that’s coming tomorrow!). I thought I’d talk about how you can create your own stencil at home to get a custom look.

First, find inspiration! This was mine.

Next, it’s time to create a stencil. This is not as difficult as it sounds. It’s easy and more importantly… dirt cheap.

Find yourself some acetate. I like going to the office supplies store, and buying a acetate desk protector. It’s nice and large, and can be cut in two (so if you mess up, you can have another go at it). And at under $4, it is not a huge investment.

Now it’s time to transfer your design to the acetate. There’s a few ways this can go. Maybe you want to duplicate a design from some fabric, or a magazine cut-out. In this case you can lay your acetate over top and use a marker to trace it out. Easy.

Maybe you’ve got a design in your head, or want something custom. In that case, sketch on paper, or in my case, draw it out on the computer. I wanted something large, so I used my printer to tile print the image onto 3 sheets of letter sized paper.

Next, time to transfer this image to the acetate. Grab your Sharpie!

I HIGHLY recommend filling in your pattern. Takes a couple extra minutes, but depending on the complexity of your design, it’s worth it. It’s easy to get mixed up on the pieces that are staying and going. So do yourself a favour…

One more step before you make your first cut. Lightly spray the back of your stencil with spray glue. Trust me. Acetate can be a slippery little critter. Spray glue and place onto your cutting board. Then tape down your corners. This may seem like overkill, but one wrong slip of the wrist can ruin your day.

Now you’re ready to cut. Use a utility knife that is small, and feels comfortable in your hand. You’ll be here a while, so make sure you can maneuver it easily. Spread out, give yourself lots of room and move and rotate your cutting board as you go to best line yourself up to make a clean cut. And, one more tip: CHANGE YOUR BLADES OFTEN! I bet I went through about 3 blades for one stencil.

You are done! Give yourself a big pat on the back.

One last tip. Spray glue is your friend. Once your base colour has fully cured, you can use spray glue to help place and secure your stencil to the wall. Use a low tack spray glue, and give a little light spray to the back of your stencil with each new placement. You will thank yourself. Trust me.

Happy stenciling my friends! Be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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