Since the beginning of hand lettered signage, stencils have played a huge role in getting your design onto the board. Today there are so many machines to help you make stencils, like dye and laser cutters, but you can still make stencils without those! So here’s the old school way.
What You Need:
- - Computer
- - A regular home or office printer
- - A piece of cardboard
- - A box cutter or exacto knife
- - Cardstock or thicker paper
- - Tape
- - Chalkboard
- - Chalk Markers
Making Your Design
If you do lettering, you can letter your design on your iPad or on paper and scan it into your computer. Print the design the size you want your final stencil to be. If you don’t do lettering, you can simply use the fonts available on your computer! Type up the saying you want to letter, fit it to your page making sure it’s the size of the final stencil, and print! If it’s a long word or phrase, you may have to print each word on a separate sheet. The bigger the letters, the easier it will be to cut out. Make sure you print it on a thicker paper, I prefer 65 lb card stock. It is easier to cut and helps prevent ripping around the stencil.
Cutting Your Design
Now that you have your design printed out, tape that sheet of paper onto our piece of cardboard to ensure that it doesn’t move around while cutting. The cardboard helps the blade go through the paper more smoothly and also keeps your counter from getting sliced up! Take your blade and slowly cut along all of the lines, until the entire letter is cut out. This takes a lot of patience and a steady hand, so take your time. The cleaner the cut, the better your final piece will turn out!
Using Your Stencil
Once your stencil is all cut out and ready to go, tape it onto the surface you’re lettering onto. This keeps it from moving around and keeps the letters all lined up. Fill in each cut out spot! You will have to also hold the paper to prevent movement, so make sure you press down on the areas around the section that you’re coloring in. After you fill in each letter, wait for your design to dry fully, and bam! Pull it off! If the edges are a little rough, you can just touch them up with your chalk marker. If you want to get really smooth lines on areas that didn’t turn out so smooth, use a ruler.