How to Make Your Own Stencil

Decorating your home is one of the ways to give the room an individual style and unique image. There are many ways to achieve this, but wall decor using stencils is gaining popularity due to its affordability and ease of use. These decorations accentuate the space without compromising the integrity of the room. Selected patterns accentuate the style of the room and create a special mood by emphasizing where needed. The article will discuss how to make your stencil with your own hands and work with it correctly.

What Are Stencil Drawings?

stencil drawing

Do-it-yourself decor stencils are templates made on durable cardboard or a metal sheet. Pattern elements are distributed on the material’s surface, and the marked parts are cut out, forming holes. In the future, these areas will paint in contrasting colors.

Stencils can be multi-layer and single-layer. The latter is performed in one overlay of the template. Layered options are often used in street art. For coloring, different paints are used: acrylic, enamel, and water-based.

Types of Stencils

Everyone is well aware that stencils can be different. However, not everyone knows what kinds of species exist.

Knowing the varieties is most important for a person thinking about how to make a stencil with his own hands.

So, there are the following stencil options:

  • Monochromatic. The most common type, one tone of paint, take and apply to the wall. Simple, fast, beautiful.
  • Multicolor. It creates a real pattern with many shades. This type requires a particular skill and patience since many stencils need to make and the surface painted, laying one on top of the other. It is important not to get confusing here.
  • Volume stencil for wall decoration. Stencils are applied with putty 1 to 3 mm thick. Although they are easy to use, they are very beautiful and give the impression of a velvety surface, which is unusual.
  • Disposable or reusable. This criterion is essential for creating a stencil with your own hands. As the name implies, disposable items are usually made quickly and are used only once. Reusable ones are of better quality and are used repeatedly.
  • Anti-stencil or reverse stencil. This type involves painting, not a pattern cut in the stencil but the surrounding territory. The part they want to leave in its original form is sealing, and the rest is painted differently.

Stencil Selection

Of course, the stencil should choose based on the room’s general style in which the ornament is created. Since it doesn’t argue about tastes, it’s a thankless task to advise choosing one or another stencil. However, it is worth giving a few general recommendations.

  •  Accuracy to a large number of details. A beautiful picture on the wall can turn into graffiti if you get too carried away with decorating the room. Conciseness is a trend that is always in fashion.
  • No overly small details. Firstly, they are difficult to paint over, and secondly, from a distance, they can look sloppy, just like paint stains.
  • The more jumpers and lines in the stencil, the more beautiful and clearer the picture will be after application.

Choosing a Place for a Stencil

As in the case of choosing the type of pattern or ornament, it is impossible to give clear recommendations that a stencil will be appropriate in one corner and inappropriate in another. Only a sense of beauty will tell you where it is better to place the pattern.

To begin with, you can make small stencils for wall decor and decorate the places next to the switches with an ornament. Usually, the patterns around the mirrors, above the table, or near the bedside tables fit well into the room’s design.

How to Make a Stencil With Your Own Hands

make stencil

The market has many ready-made stencils for wall decor, every taste and budget. Almost every hardware store, especially large building materials retail chains, offers various ornaments and patterns. But even more valuable will be a drawing created by oneself.

To make a stencil yourself, you will need the following tools:

  • Original drawing;
  • Stencil material (film, plastic, cardboard);
  • Stationery knife;
  • Marker, pencil;
  • Scotch;
  • A glass (or other) surface on which it is convenient to cut a stencil.

Step by Step for Making a Stencil


First, it is necessary to decide on the pattern according to which the stencil will make. Those who have artistic abilities can design and draw it themselves. Those who are not lucky enough to have a talent for drawing, having figured out what style they would like to decorate the walls or ceiling, can search for a suitable image on the Internet and print it out on a printer. If the drawing is chosen large, it is divided into parts, and then the parts are fastened with adhesive tape.


The next step is to choose the material for the stencil. It can be plain paper or cardboard, self-adhesive film, or thin plastic, depending on the type and size of the ornament. To simplify the task, you can contact any advertising agency where that will help you create a stencil from the image and print it.


To transfer the ornament to the material, you need to use carbon paper, or if transparent plastic is used for the stencil, circle it around the contour with a marker. The drawing is attached to the stencil with tape or paper clips to prevent it from leaving.


When the drawing is transferred, in some cases, it is required to complete it by drawing the lines and jumpers along which it is cut. For paper or cardboard stencils, you may want to tape or laminate both sides of the stencil to prevent paint absorption and bridge curling. This will extend the life of the stencil.


Cut the stencil must be cut so that cuts and burrs do not form. However, the final drawing will look untidy. Another subtlety – all small details must attach to larger ones. Otherwise, they will disappear when cut. Only the areas to paint cut out. For this, a clerical knife or blade is used, and glass (or any other hard material that is not a pity to cut) is placed under the stencil. Then the cut lines will be clearer and even.

Working With a Stencil

Required tools:

  •  Stencil;
  • screen glue;
  • brush, roller, or sponge for applying paint;
  • acrylic or spray paint.

First, it is necessary to prepare the surface on which the stencil will apply. Clean it from dust and dirt if you can wash it; if not, wipe it with a clean, dry cloth or vacuum it.

The second step is marking. If possible, it is better to use a level; there will be confidence that the drawing will not skew or crook. The extreme points for the stencil are marked with a pencil to attach it evenly in the future.

You must first practice before drawing a picture on the wall. This can do on a piece of wallpaper or a large drawing paper. A preliminary sample will allow you to practice the application technique and choose the color of the ornament. It is advisable to make several options for different shades and try how each will look in the future, attaching the resulting pattern to the wall.

Also, ready-made reusable stencils for wall decor are on sale. They are made of a polymer film that is easy to clean and does not tear, allowing you to train on paper as often as possible.

It is best to use a unique spray adhesive to fix the stencil on the wall. It leaves no traces, and when using it, you can not be afraid that wallpaper or paint will come off the wall along with the stencil. The glue is sprayed in an even layer onto the stencil, which is then carefully pressed against the surface, especially in the places of thin jumpers.

What Is Essential to Know About Working With Glue

  • on different surfaces, it holds the stencil in various ways; the smoother the surface, the better the adhesive properties of the adhesive;
  •  after removing the stencil, the glue does not remain on the wall;
  • glue is applied to the stencil and provides maximum adhesion with it;
  • after washing the stencil, the glue can retain its adhesive properties, so if reuse is planning, then the glue can not thoroughly wash off;
  •  the larger and heavier the stencil, the more difficult it is to hold it only on glue; in such cases, you may need a “safety net” in the form of masking tape;
  •   it does not prevent paint from flowing under the stencil.


Coloring is an activity that does not tolerate fuss.

It is recommended to use acrylic paint; it dries quickly and is suitable for all types of surfaces. The paint is applied with a sponge, brush, or roller. When stenciling, using a minimum amount of paint is vital because of the risk of spillage.

When working with a brush, it is held directly perpendicular to the wall; the paint is applied by stuffing to prevent lint or paint from getting behind the stencil.

If staining is done with a sponge, the first prints are best done on another sheet of paper, allowing you to remove excess paint.

When working with a roller, it is necessary to ensure that the paint is distributed evenly, especially in the corners and small details of the stencil. It is more convenient for them to work with large stencils.

To spray aerosol paint, they can be held at a distance of about 30 cm from the wall. The surface may have to be protected from accidentally getting paint outside the stencil.

Saturation of the picture with color occurs gradually, in several passes. If its boundaries are not clear enough, they are drawn with a thin brush after removing the stencil.

Wall Stencils

Making a stencil for a wall is more challenging, but it is also possible. It can saw from wood or carved on plywood. Paint or plaster is more convenient to apply.

In addition, such a stencil will not be disposable and will come in handy in the future. These materials make it easy to create DIY flower stencils and even trees.

What else can you use to make a stencil, you ask? Styrofoam is a great alternative to wood and plywood. Another option is a decorative baguette.

However, the baguette is instead used as a stamp. But you can also create a one-time stencil from a piece of old wallpaper. And a cardboard box will serve you just as well in this matter.

You can apply an image to large stencils using printed fragments. An A4 sheet with printed patterns is placed on the workpiece with adhesive tape and cut with a clerical knife.

Creating a Three-dimensional Drawing

To apply a three-dimensional pattern, you will need a special acrylic putty. It is used with a spatula, gently layer by layer, until it reaches the desired thickness. Volumetric drawing is usually achieved with a thickness of 1-3 mm. A couple of minutes after application, when the putty has already been set but has not completely hardened yet, the stencil must be carefully removed so as not to damage the ornament. If the layer turns out to be not very even – it’s okay; after the putty has completely dried, it is easy to level it with fine sandpaper. Then the drawing can be colored or toned.

When the work is completed, the stencil must be washed and dried, if possible, for reuse.

Avoidable Mistakes

The most common mistakes that happen when working with a stencil are:

  •  stencil offset;
  • paint leakage.

You need to fasten the stencil securely; spray glue is the perfect assistant here. And also to collect the minimum amount of paint. Accuracy and patience will undoubtedly help to achieve the ideal result.

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