Tutorial: Making a Stencil

Mar 1st, 2010

UPDATE: If you are here at All Things Thrifty for the first time, WELCOME!! 

Since I wrote this post about making a stencil I have found that making stencils are MUCH easier with my Silhouette Machine. So, if you would like to see an easy way to make a stencil with a Silhouette check out that post! 

UPDATE:Also, if you would like some FREE stencil designs, check out that post also!

A few weeks ago, I came across this amazing image fromWhitewall and Co. I instantly fell in love with their stencils, but the prices were a little too high for my thrifty core. So, I’ve let it “marinate” for a few weeks, and I have come up with a thrifty solution! Are you ready!?!?

Step 1: Go to Office Max or Staples and get some clear folders like the ones in this picture below. (These folders cost me 1.49 each and I used 2 of them). You will also need a narrow sharpie marker, clear tape, and an exact-o-knife.
Step 2: Cut the folders and tape them together. If you notice on the Whitewall and Co. website, most of their stencils are 24 inches x 24 inches.
Tape the two folders together to create a large enough area for your stencil.
Step 3: Find an image that you like for your stencil and have it printed large enough to trace. I found this one online, and then I stretched it to mimic the Whitewall image above. I wanted to duplicate a similar look. I took it to the local printing store and they blew it up for me for 99 cents.
Step 4: Trace your image on to your plastic folders with your narrow sharpie. Just place the image below your plastic folder and you’ll be able to trace it quickly.
This is what it will look like once you have the image traced.

Step 5: With an exact-o-knife, cut out the image. This took me a few days. You have to be extremely careful when you are cutting out the image because if you go too fast, then you will cut through the intricate details and ruin your stencil. I have to admit…this part was frustrating. Side note: I found out AFTER I was done with this portion that Robert’s Crafts has STENCIL CUTTER tools. It is a heated tool that melts the plastic material as you cut. I MIGHT have splurged and bought me one. (WITH A 50% off coupon of course!) So, stencils will be much easier to make in the future. I think the tool came to $17.00 after the coupon.
Here is when the FUN begins! Here is the “before” picture of the wall that this stencil was designed for. Don’t mind my son watching iCarly. ;)
Step 6: IMPORTANT: Tape the stencil in place AND spray the back of the stencil with spray adhesive so that it sticks to the wall. Make sure you measure your wall before you begin to ensure that your stencil is in the right place.

I used stencil paint because it is much easier to use. It is drier than normal paint, and it is much easier to work with because it doesn’t run beneath the stencil.


Step 7: With a horizontal motion using a stencil brush and stencil paint, start stenciling your paint on.



What a hottie! I have to admit, once the creative part is over, my hubby usually steps in to help me finish my projects. He has painted most of this wall.
Getting closer!
One challenge that we ran into was that Robert’s Crafts ran out of orange stencil paint, and they are discontinuing the brand that I bought. So, unfortunately the wall isn’t quite done yet. So, stay tuned for the big reveal in a few days. (I had to send my brother to the Robert’s Crafts in Provo hunting for some more paint). I couldn’t wait to show you…I’m impatient.

UPDATE 3/14/10: Thank you to my brother Courtney for going to Robert’s Crafts and mailing me more orange stencil paint! Here she is all complete!

TOTAL COST for stencil: $4.00 ($3.00 for folders and $1.00 to enlarge image).Total cost for stencil paint: $12.00 ($2.00 each using 6 bottles of stencil paint). All together this stencil wall cost $16.00. Now that’s THRIFTY!

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