How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil

When I agreed to make one of those super-cool flags out of an old pallet for my friend, Sam, I knew I was going to need a stencil in the shape of a star. I also knew the chances of me finding one the perfect size and shape for my project were pretty much zero. So I got creative and made one myself for free. Here’s how.

The first step is to go to Google Images or another search engine, and find a shape of whatever you’re looking for. I decided for the flag pallet I wanted a classic, simple star shape. I found one I liked, and then copied and pasted it to an open page so I could edit it.

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I played with the cropping until I got the star the size I wanted, and printed it. Or not. I was highly disappointed when I went to my printer, only to discover it spit out a blank piece of paper. But where there’a a will, there’s a way.

Since I was too impatient to start my search for another star on another site, I decided to trace the image right off my computer screen by covering the star with a post-it note. The outline showed through the paper beautifully.

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I ever-so-gently traced the star with an ink pen. You could also use a pencil, but I would caution against a felt-tip pen or sharpie since the ink could bleed through onto your computer screen. Now that would be very bad.

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I went into my recycle bin, and found some light-weight cardboard. (Gotta love Pop Tarts.) A soft-drink carton or cereal box would work too.

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I then cut around the star with a sharp craft knife, being sure to press hard enough to cut all the way through the cardboard underneath. Be sure to protect your table so you don’t cut into it. That would be bad too.

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then you remove the cut-out from your cardboard.

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And there’s the stencil! (This picture is of the back side of the Pop Tart box.)

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Make a Simple Custom Stencil / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This is a great way to create a custom stencil that’s specific to your project. The internet has many shapes that can be copied. And since stenciling requires a relatively dry brush, the cardboard will last a very long time. I’ve had stencils I’ve made for past projects that were literally used hundreds of times. Happy stenciling!

(If you would like to see how you can make your own flag pallet, click here.)

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

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