How to Create Stencils for Painting the Easy Way for Your DIY Projects

If you want to create stencils for painting, one of the easiest ways is by using vinyl. Yes, you’ll need a cutting machine and weeding tools to pull off this technique, but it will be worth it. This is especially if you intend to create plenty of stencils in the future.

Creating a stencil out of craft vinyl is the fastest and easiest way for you to paint patterns especially if you need to do it in bulk. Let’s cut to the chase and learn how to create stencils for painting with a cutting machine and vinyl.

how to create stencils for painting projects

Image from Pexels by Kevin Malik

What are stencils for paintings?

Stencils for paintings are used to reproduce designs by passing paint over the holes on the vinyl onto another surface. Think of a stencil as a marking guide to paint patterns that you think you could not perfect by hand, or if you want to save time reproducing multiple patterns.

Stencils are used to make paintings, lettering, wall paintings, and t-shirt prints. If you want to recreate a design you’ve seen online or in a coffee shop, and want to paint it on your wall, you can perfectly execute that using your cutting machine and vinyl.

The Benefits of Creating Stencils Out of Craft Vinyl

Truth be told, you can make custom stencils out of other materials like paper stencils, acetate, mylar sheets, or cardboard. But if you’re doing something the first time, at least do it right, right? Out of the other stencil materials available, craft vinyl is the most durable and undoubtedly has plenty more benefits. Here are the benefits of making stencils out of craft vinyl:

You Can Create Your Own Design

Using Adobe or using your cutting machine’s design software, you can create any design you want. Do you want to paint birds on your wall? Then cut a bird vector to the craft vinyl. Do you want to print inspirational sayings to print on a shirt? Fire away and cut it into the vinyl. If you want, you can create your original design so you can see it come to life.

It’s Durable

Out of the other materials like ordinary paper or cardboard, craft vinyl is the most durable of them all. Craft vinyl is made of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), much like a plastic-like material that's durable even after many uses.

It’s Reusable

Since craft vinyl is durable, it’s a given fact that it can be reused multiple times as well. Just like a store-bought ready-made stencil, a stencil made of craft vinyl can be used over and over again. Furthermore, you can wipe off the paint in it, and use it again in the future.

It’s a Real Time-Saver

For instance, if you want a wallpaper-like effect on your wall, it means you have to paint multiple times using the same pattern. So you may want to use a durable stencil that makes the job easy, and craft vinyl is the perfect material for that. Additionally, it will save you the time and effort of driving around to every craft store in town and finding the perfect stencil design you badly wanted.

It’ll Save You Money

In the long run, using a stencil out of craft vinyl will save you money. With a 12" x 10ft roll of craft vinyl that costs less than $14, you can create plenty of reusable stencils that will last you for many projects. Unlike buying a one-patterned vinyl stencil with an easily estimated cost of $3, which you'll probably never use again.

The bottom line is, using craft vinyl as your stencil will save you money in the long run, plus you won’t be limited in the designs you want to create. Plus, it’ll save you money on gas by roaming around all the craft stores to find that perfect stencil blank.

stencils for painting projects

Image from Pexels by Anna Shvets

How to make a stencil

To create your own stencil, you’ll need a craft vinyl and cutting machine. In this next part of the post, you’ll learn how to make your own stencil designs. This is a step-by-step guide that will create your DIY stencils regardless if you want to print on shirts or paint on walls. First off, start by gathering the DIY stencil supplies needed.

What materials do you use to make your own stencils?

  • Cutting machine (Silhouette or Cricut Machine)
  • Adhesive craft vinyl from TeckWrap Craft
  • Weeding tools
  • Stencil brush
  • Cutting mat
  • Paint (Acrylic paint, spray paint, chalk paint)
  • Painter’s tape
  • A hardbound cardboard
  • Scissors
cutting mat for vinyl

Accessories available at TeckWrap Craft - Cutting mat, squeegee, weeding tools

Choose the Design for Your Custom Stencil

After you’ve gathered all your supplies, the next step is to come up with or find a design you love. You can always look for free SVG vector patterns or create your own patterns using your cutting machine’s design software.

If you’re artistic, why not create your own designs? Nothing beats originality! If you want to create text stencils, then your Microsoft tools are enough. Once your design is ready, upload it to your cutting machine’s design software. Resize the design on how big you want the stencil painting to be.

painting projects

Image from PxHere

Just a tip when creating or choosing your own stencil design is to avoid intricate lines and disconnected parts. It’s hard to create a stencil material if it has intricate lines and disconnected parts because it might not stay steady. Making stencils out of craft vinyl is advisable for bold and whole designs.

The design should be interconnected and can be removed with one peeling. If you’re working on letter stencils, you can cut the letter one by one. Make sure they’re bold and stay away from script fonts.

Cut the Vinyl

The next step is to cut the craft vinyl. Prepare the craft vinyl you chose, and cut enough size that’s a little bigger to fit the design. To cut the vinyl, here’s what you’re going to do:

  • Place the vinyl on the cutting mat with the colored side facing up.
  • Flatten and smoothen the vinyl on the cutting mat using a squeegee.
  • Peel off the clear protective covering on top of the craft vinyl.
  • Lock in the vinyl and cutting mat on the cutting machine.
  • Test cut!
  • Weed the excess vinyl
  • Remove the vinyl away from the backing paper (it looks like freezer paper under the vinyl)
how to create a stencil for painting projects

Make a Supporting Frame for the Vinyl

After you’ve cut the vinyl, you’d want to make a frame around the vinyl, as a support. You want to make a stencil that’s sturdy. The vinyl itself won’t hold up on its own, that’s why you need to create a frame to support it. What you can do is use cardboard, and cut it in the middle, giving way to the design.

Once the vinyl has a frame, you’re ready to paint! You can use the finished stencil to paint on anything. In fact, you can even use vinyl as a stencil for silk screen printing. You’ll be shocked that craft vinyl has plenty of uses.

It is used to custom-print on mugs, and tumblers, or even can be used as a wall decal. Additionally, there is plenty of craft vinyl available at TeckWrap Craft. You can choose from different patterns and colors that are suitable for almost all your DIY projects.

Opal Adhesive Vinyl from TeckWrap Craft

How to paint with a stencil

The next part of this post is where you’ll learn how to do the stenciling technique properly. You have to work on a flat surface to ensure proper transfer of the paint. If you work on an uneven surface, chances are the paint won’t transfer correctly.

Also, you should also secure your workspace to make sure it's clean. So may want to put scratch papers all over your work table, and a paper towel readily available in case of any paint spilled.

Before working on your actual project, or painting the wall, it is best to try out your stencil on scratch paper to see the outcome. When everything looks good, you can now proceed with painting your project. Here’s the proper way you can paint with craft vinyl stencil.

  • Use painter’s tape to secure the finished stencil onto the surface.
  • Use only a small amount of paint. Do use excess paint as you don’t want drip marks all over your project.
  • Using a brush, paint over the stencil.
  • If you’re using spray paint, do not spray too close to avoid drip marks.
  • Paint over the stencil pattern in an up-and-down motion.
  • Make sure you paint all over the stencil and cover all corners.
  • Once you’re finished stenciling, let the paint dry and avoid touching it.
  • If you’re painting a repeating pattern on a whole wall, avoid touching the finished painting so you might want to consider proper spacing.
how to create a stencil for painting projects

Image from Pexels by cottonbro

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make my own stencils?

Yes, you can make your own stencils using craft vinyl. If you have a cutting machine at home, creating stencils out of craft vinyl is the easiest way to go. Other options for creating a stencil by using a mylar sheet or plastic sheets by cutting it by hand using an Exacto Knife.

Can you make stencils without a machine?

Yes, you can make stencils without a machine. You can use hard cardboard paper, draw the pattern using a pencil or fine-tip marker, and an Exacto Knife to manually cut out the design. If you’re cutting straight lines, you can use a ruler to ensure proper cutting.

What is the best material to make stencils with?

There are two materials used to make reusable stencils — craft vinyl and mylar sheets. A mylar sheet is a film made of PET that's versatile and strong that's desirable for stencil painting. Meanwhile, removable craft vinyl is made of PVC that’s equally sturdy, and can be reused several times for stenciling purposes.

how to create a stencil for painting projects

Image from Unsplash by Kyle Williamson

Make Stencils Out of Craft Vinyl Now!

With the information you just learned, what’s stopping you from repainting your wall? Or perhaps printing a matching family shirt for the next family outing? As long as you properly follow the steps and tips above, you can get hands on with any DIY project you could think of. With your original creation, you can make a one-of-a-kind pattern that has never been seen before.

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