The Ultimate Children's Design Resource


DIY: How to Make Your Own Stencil

Ever wonder how to make your own stencil? You don’t have to be artistically gifted to add creative flair to your walls. For centuries, stencils have been helping people personalize their spaces, but sometimes it’s tough to find the right image in the right size for the right price.

Good thing making your own is a snap! Allow me to divulge the secrets of the pros.

How to Make Your Own Stencil - Project Nursery

The quality of materials is key. If the stencil plastic is too thin, you end up with a flimsy mess, and if it’s too stiff, it’s difficult to cut.

Materials: 12″ x 18″ Dritz Quilting Template Plastic (Find it in the quilting notions section at Joann Fabrics, available in clear and gridded. DON’T buy the heavy duty variety!), quality scissors (Cutter Bee scissors are my favorite), black Sharpie marker, correctly sized printout of desired image (you can piece it together from several printed pages)

Instructions on How to Cut a Stencil

Begin by placing the plastic template over your printed image. My letters take up the entire sheet, but feel free to trim the plastic down to size for something smaller. Just try and keep your image about an inch from the edge, at minimum.

Instructions on How to Cut a Stencil - Project Nursery

Trace the outline of your image onto the plastic with a black Sharpie. You may need an ultra fine tip for intricate designs.

How to Make Your Own Stencil - Project Nursery

Instructions on How to Cut a Stencil

Use the sharp point of your scissors to poke a hole inside the stenciled shape. Cut to the edge, and follow the outline. In some instances, an X-Acto knife works well for this step also.

Instructions on How to Cut a Stencil

Instructions on How to Cut a Stencil

Don’t forget to cut out any interior pieces of the stencil design!

Instructions on How to Cut a Stencil

Keep your stencil together by taping the smaller pieces to the main stencil with painter’s tape. Because they are entirely reusable, I like to label the stencil in the corner for future reference.

How to Make Your Own Stencil - Project Nursery

Shapes, patterns, letters, numbers and beyond—your stenciling options are now limitless! Whether you use them on a wall, a canvas or a piece of furniture, your custom cut stencils will turn your creative vision into reality.

How to Make Your Own Stencil

About the author
Hayley is the creative genius behind Grey House Harbor; a lifestyle blog where imagination and real life collide. She resides in Virginia with her husband and two kids - all of whom graciously endure her big ideas and habitual DIY ways.
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  • PamGinocchio

    You make this look so easy! Stencils, especially for a monogram can feel daunting but your step-by-step instructions are terrific. The product tips are great and I think I’m going to browse more in the quilting section next time I’m in my local craft store. So cool!

  • http://www.greyhouseharbor.com Hayley

    Thanks @PamGinocchio:disqus! I truly believe that with the right tools and a little knowledge, anyone can be a successful artisan.

  • Jennifer O’Dowd

    Loved this Hayley! Can’t wait to see what you dream up next!

  • http://www.greyhouseharbor.com Hayley

    Thanks Jen! This stencil how-to is actually pulled out of my bag o’ tricks back from the AZ model home days. *sigh* Good times.

  • Thomas

    Love It, It would be more difficult to make a stencil like this wall sticker:
    http://www.moonwallstickers.com/custom-monkey-name-stickers/

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