Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Today's discussion is on layering.

This is a very special and somewhat difficult technique.

To layer a stencil it requires much more time than a regular stencil.

Let me first begin by describing what layering is. Have you ever wanted to create a stencil that had different shades of color in it? or a picture with a picture over it, like a flag with a design on the flag?

Layering is allowing you, the stencil artist, to take a layered picture and make it into a stencil.

Let us take a simple pic like the "don't tread on me" flag. This image is a basic white and red striped flag with a snake image on the flag.

To make this flag into a stencil you must cut out the flag stripes first and then cut out the snake seperately.

To make sure you get the snake on the flag in the right spot a box light will come in handy.

You can always cut out the corners on the snake stencil to match up with the corners of the flag stencil to line it up when you apply it to an object.

This has been a brief blog and example of how to layer your stencils. So, go now and try it out. Practice makes perfect, don't give up, etc, etc, so on and again.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Today I will be teaching you a simple little technique to help you with more challenging stencils.

The most difficult stencil I have done to date is a stencil of Roy lichtenstein's pop art masterpiece. I cannot show you the picture of it due to copyright issues.

What made this particular stencil so hard was that I could not just cut out that is if I wanted to keep the stencil intact.

To solve my little problem of messing up my stencil I just created a bridge.

Usually, when creating a stencil you should make the picture black and white and cut out the black. In my case if I cut out all the black some white would come with it thus ruining my stencil.

So, to eliminate my problem I just added a bridge. A bridge is where you create a llittle strip to connect the white portions of the stencil.

The little strips will act as a bridge to keep the white parts from together. The bridge will prevent you from cutting out the white portions while you cut out the black parts.

That is the bridge technique in a nutshell. Keep on reading. I will be back next week with more.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The X-acto Knife (again).

A few posts ago I talked to you all about the x-acto knife. Well, today I am going to talk about it again.

The x-acto knife has a lot of benefits and is really the best tool in the stencilist's arsenal.

The x-acto knife comes in a variety of blades and handles. X-acto offers such an extensive selection to fit any needs you need met.

As I mention in my link in the first line of this post, the original x-acto knife is the best.

It cuts with great precision and more importantly it cuts with ease.

There are a few problems when using the x-acto knife: the first problem is that if you press too hard you may break the tip of the blade and there goes the best part of the knife, and the second problem is that, again, if you press too hard you may split the tip of your finger open.

So, go and check out my link and also check out other reviews about the great products from X-acto.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Choosing a stencil

Choosing what to stencil is easily the most important part of stenciling. This ofcourse should be of no surprise.

While you are thinking about what to stencil you should be thinking about whether or not you are going to draw it or print it out and just cut out the pre-drawn image.

A pre-drawn stencil is clearly going to be less time consuming. The only realy work will be to trace it onto poster board and just cut it out.

Pre-drawn stencils are fun and a great way to make a t-shirt look cooler. This ofcourse also works for your own art but putting a logo or drawing on your shirt that everyone knows is a fun way to attract a lot of attention.

All you have to do is trace the pre-drawn image on poster board, cut it out, and spray paint it on your shirt and voila an instant graphic tee.

If you decide that you would like to draw and design your own stencil; now, this is where the true art lies. Designing a stencil is a lot of fun and a lot of time.

For those of you out there with great artistic talent and have always wanted to have your art out there in the world, on buildings for all to see then this is for your.

There is a famous stencil artist named Banksy and boy is he damn good. If you have never heard of this guy you need to go and check him out right now before you continue reading any more about stenciling.

Seriously, the guy is incredible and very inspiring especially to a novice stencil artist like myself. Now, if you want to be that good then you better get started.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Now, to chunk a picture is a very simple and useful technique to learn for creating stencils.

Let's just say for instance that you are wanting to create a letter H stencil, you would first break up the picture.

First, you section off pieces that make up the letter H. You will do the the middle as one section, and make each vertical piece a section as well. So, in the end you will have five sections.

The reason this is so helpful is because it will allow you to discard the excess. If you are cutting a big section at one time the part you have already cut will begin to droop and hang and get in your way and make cutting the newer sections, if not harder, more annoying.

Another perk of using this technique is that you can section off the stencil and if you can't finish the whole stencil in one sitting then you can come back to it later.

This technique is very simple. I urge you to chunk your stencils. It will make for a more enjoyable and less annoying time and it will give you the freedom of not feeling pressured to do the entire stencil in one sitting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

X-acto Knife

The x-acto knife is a must have for stencil artists. This little tool will help make the stencil. This is the tool that will cut out the drawing and let it take stencil form.

The x-acto knife comes in a variety of blades and knives. Each knife is designed for a distinct purpose. The standard or classic knife is the best to start out with and more than likely you won't use any of the other knives unless you want to get super fancy.

When using the x-acto knife use extreme caution because they are very sharp. The classic knife is used for precise cuts and this is perfect for the stencil artist.

After you have finished drawing or tracing the picture you are wanting to create as a stencil then it is time to get your cutting board and x-acto knife.

Place the paper, poster board of what have you on top of the cutting board. Then take the x-acto knife in your dominant hand. Place the knife at a 45 degree angle on the paper. The tip of the knife to the middle of the knife should be on the drawing.

When you are ready to cut then cut. Just follow the lines. If you are guiding the knife with you index finger then be sure not to press to hard or you will eventually split the skin on your finger and will be unable to stencil until it heals.

Next time I will teach you a cutting technique called chunking.

Monday, February 21, 2011


The topic today is tracing. I will teach you all aspects of tracing a stencil.

Go and find your favorite picture on the internet. Now, from here we can do one of two things: print out the picture or not.

First we will discuss tracing when you print off the picture. So, first print the picture of your choosing. Then secondly we will put the poster board on top of the picture.

Now, go and get your tape because now you are going to tape the picture to the poster board. After, you have done that then all you have to do is put the combined poster board and picture on top of the light box and trace the picture.

Once you are done tracing then take off the tape and see how you did. If it looks like you want it to then the next step is to cut it out.

Now, I will tell you how to trace if you do not print out the picture. This works best with a laptop.

Choose your picture. Then go to full screen mode. Also, you may have to make the picture larger.

After you have done all of this then lay the poster board on the screen and make sure the picture's magnification fits how you want it to on the poster board. Then tape down the poster board to the laptop and trace.

Now, tracing gets easier with time. At first you may have trouble with tracing. You may have a shakey hand and because of that you may have trouble with straight lines. But no worries. I have a very simple way to be rid of such a problem.

To trace with a steady hand all you have to do is breathe out when you trace a line. So, trace a bit then stop and then take a breathe and blow it out, and then again and again until the picture is complete. This should take care of any shakey hands you may have while tracing.

For my next trick I will show you how to cut with the x-acto knife.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Welcome Back.

Welcome back! All right let's get down to business. In this blog I will be talking about the tools of the trade.

In the last blog I gave you a list of suggested tools that will help you create your stencil.

First and foremost there is the pencil. I use a black Dixon Ticonderoga pencil. Although, you do not have to use this particular one. I will suggest that you use a pencil with a great eraser. So, if you accidentally buy a pencil with a crappy eraser that just smears whatever it is you are trying to erase I suggest you toss it out the window and go try again.

Secondly, you will need poster board. Well, I use poster board but really you can just print off the image and go from there. I use poster board because I want to use my stencils more than once. If you have something better than posterboard, thicker than poster board then great stick with that.

Thirdly, an x-acto knife is a must have. If you didn't guess it this is the tool that will be used to cut out the stencil. Now, the x-acto knife comes in a variety of blades. For starting out just go and get the original x-acto knife. Just pop on over to Wal-Mart and head towards the craft section and there it is. They run about three bucks or so.

If you want to get fancy with your cutting then head over to you local hobby shop and browse the extensive selection that x-acto has to offer. But for the beginner the classic x-acto should do the job.

Fourthly, I suggested a cutting board. I would further recommend that you do not use a wooden cutting board or any other cutting board that allows you to feel a raised surface. You want one that will stay smooth. A smooth cutting board will allow you to rotate the paper on it without the fear of having a cut out section of you stencil snag on part of the raised surface. This could tear your stencil and all that work will have been for nothing. Especially, if you are cutting out a stencil from regular paper.

Lastly, get yourself a lightbox. The lightbox is the best thing when it comes to tracing. If you can't afford a lightbox then no worries  I'll tell you how to make one.

It's pretty simple. Just take a box and put a flash light inside of it. Then take a sheet of glass and put in on top of the box. And there you have it. A makeshift lightbox.

Do I still have your attention? Good, next time I think I'm going to talk a bit about...stencils. I would love for you to join me.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Welcome all to my first blog! I am glad you can be apart of this experience with me.

Here I will teach you the tricks, tips and hints of making great stencils. I will also provide you with the stencil artist wish list of items that you will need.

I will not only show you how to make great stencils and I will also show you how to apply them to anything!

I will show you the various techniques of applying a stencil to an object. Again, I will make a shopping list of things you will need to make applying that stencil as easy as possible. Don't worry this is not a pricey hobby.

I will show you how to create a stencil from your favorite painting, picture, video game cover art, movie poster, really whatever you want. I will also show you how to create original stencils so you can impress your friends and family.

Here is a list of items you will need to start stenciling:
  • a pencil
  • poster board
  • an x-acto knife
  • a cutting board (if you don't want to mess up a desk or counter-top)
  • a lightbox (if you want to stencil a favorite picture or whatever)
Now, run out and get these items and we will start our first lesson in the second blog in this series.