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Stencil Art

Stencil Art

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A stencil is a pre-designed template used to draw or paint the same image each time is it used. Stencil art ranges from simple tinkering with kids to elaborate designs by professionals. You can make your own stencils using an X-acto knife and some flexible plastic. Draw the image that you want on your paper, and then cut it out, making sure not to cut all the way through if any inner pieces are involved. You are basically making a negative image on the template, so when you paint over it, the actually image you want gets transferred over to the medium (wall or paper). Of course, there are plenty of prefabricated stencil templates that you can purchase from your local crafts or hardware store, if making your own doesn't appeal to you.


Stencils make great arts and crafts project for kids. Not only do kids love the magic of lifting a stencil to reveal a new image, but stenciling also promotes good hand eye coordination for youngsters. Stenciling is good for adults as well. You can have a beautiful room makeover using stencil art as your focus. Stencil an image randomly throughout a freshly painted wall, or create a trim or border using repeat stencils. You will be amazed at the change stencil art can make on a room, and in less than a weekend.


From airbrush to simple pencil, stencils can be done through a number of applications. Some methods will work better depending on the project, so plan ahead. For kids, a marker or crayon will certainly do the trick. For your walls, however, you might want to use a paintbrush or airbrush for a more professional look. Stenciling brushes are round and stiff, allowing you to apply smooth and flat dabs of color. These are the best brushes to use because they will prevent excess paint from leaking under the edges of your stencils. Sponges are also fun paint applicators and create an unusual texture that most people love.


Practice your stencil on a piece of paper before you go pro. You can also try out different color combinations until you find the one you like the best.

Tape your stencil down to the surface to prevent shifting mid-project.

Remember to wipe away any paint that got onto the backside of the stencil before laying it down for the next use. Otherwise, this paint will end up as a smudge on your next stenciling.

When stenciling with more than one color, allow each one to dry before applying the next. Also, you may want to create multiple stencils, one for each color being used, for ease of use.

Wash your stencils occasionally throughout a project to ensure that residual paint doesn't dry on the edges of your template, obstructing your stencil art.

When making a repeat pattern, use a level to draw a line across the surface. This will ensure that you repeats are aligned properly.

When loading your brush with paint, tap or roll it out on a separate surface prior to application to create even coverage, and don't overload as this will cause splotching.

Store your stencils flat, preferably pressed between two surfaces, to ensure warping doesn't occur.

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