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How to Print and Make Stencils At Home

Stencils are a fantastic way to make beautiful art on your walls, fabric or paper, but buying stencils can be quite expensive. However, using your handy printer and our know-how, you can easily make stencils at home for a variety of decorative uses.

To make your stencils, you will need:
- Transparency sheets or sheets of thick-ish plastic (clear binding covers work really well or you can buy clear plastic ring-binder files, cut them apart and tape them together to make larger stencils)
- A sharp craft knife
- Masking tape
- Stencil image
- Stencil paint and brush

Step 1
You’ll need to print out your stencil image. You can find a selection of awesome stencil templates at If you’re using binder covers, print your stencils on paper, but if you’re using transparencies and your printer can print on them, go ahead and print directly onto the transparency.

Step 2
Tape your stencil image to your plastic sheet. Use masking tape or a similar tape to avoid making your stencil too sticky. If you’ve printed your stencil image onto a transparency, you can skip to step 3.

Step 3
Secure your stencil and pattern to a hard surface. Make sure that this is a surface you’re willing to sacrifice as you will be cutting into it. An old wooden chopping board or a piece of offcut wood (ask at your local hardware store) is perfect for the job.
Using your sharp craft knife, cut carefully along the lines. If your pattern has very intricate details, make sure to cut very carefully so as to not lose definition. This process can take a while, so you’ll have to be patient and try not to rush it.

When cutting, make sure that your free hand it above the craft knife at all times, to avoid cutting yourself in case the knife slips.

And you’re done. If you’ve made stencils for the kids for their artwork, you can cover the edges of the stencil with electrical tape to make them a little sturdier and less likely to slip on paper.

You can also spray the backs of your stencils with repositionable adhesive spray (3M and Bostik both make this spray, ask around at a hardware store). This is best if you’re using your stencil on walls as you don’t have to hold the stencil up while you’re painting. All Things Thrifty has a great tutorial on how to make larger wall stencils.

Don’t forget you can buy all the ink cartridges and toner cartridges you need to create your stencils at Inksaver.