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» Create Your Own Stencils

How Did I Do It? > Home & Garden > Create Your Own Stencils
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Stenciling is a great way to change the look of a room, using it as a header or chair rail border, or to add visual interest to flags, fabrics and clothing, as well as lamp shades and myriad other aspects of your home decor.

Precut stencils can be expensive however and when you take just a bit of time, you can save a vast amount of money by making your own, reusable stencils that can be saved and used repeatedly.
Using a few materials such as your printer, computer and some mylar that is available from any craft store or the craft section of your department store you can make a wide variety of stencils for your own use.

To create your own stencils is the work of just a few minutes when you have the right image already in mind, and a photo of it to use.

YOU WILL NEED:

Razor or exacto knife

computer printer

mylar or other medium to cut the stencil from.

Sheet of heavy cardboard:(To lay under the stencil when you are cutting it)

Find the image you’d like to use for a stencil and print it. Using black and white silhouetted images will be the best bet to begin making your own stencils. (we’ll cover converting images in another article)
The best method will be to size the image to fit a standard size page such as 8 and a half by eleven inches.

Tape your print to the back side of the stencil sheet of mylar.
You can use nearly anything thats thin plastic, and can be easily and cleanly cut with an exacto or razor knife.
Hobby Lobby stores, as well as most JoAnn Fabrics will have stencil materials available for your use. Another place that sells stencil materials will be Dick Blick

Taping the stencils will be best accomplished using masking tape as opposed to transparent tape.
Tape the print all the way around the paper and mylar or whatever you are using to make the stencil. In a pinch I’ve even used heavy card stock to make the stencil although for the most part these are not reusable and will work for just about aday before they become unable to be used.

Using the sharp end of the exacto knife or razor knife cut exactly on the lines of the print that you’ve taped in place.
Keep your other hand above the knife because occasionally the exacto knife will slip on the plastic and can lead to some nasty injuries.

When the stencil is cut out untape the paper from the stencil and pop out the pieces that you’ve cut. If some areas are not completely cut, don’t pull them, recut gently as tearing them out will leave jagged edges on the stencil.

Some types of stencil medium are available now that are sticky on the back to adhere to the wall. This type material is available also to make your own stencils and works superbly well beause the sticky back keeps the edges attached to the wall.

Store your stencil flat inside a folder or a drawer. Most stencils will clean up using just soap and water.

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