Making Stencils from Contact Paper

Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

I’ve decided that making stencils from contact paper is the only way to go for certain stenciling projects. It’s inexpensive, you can make super large stencils and you can cut whatever design you like using an X-acto knife. Best part is the stencil stays in place while painting!  It works best for images without a lot of detail and for large thick text.  If your doing very much text it does take a little time to cut out the letters but just put on a movie, music or book on tape while you work. It also works for etching glass as we did on our How to Etch Glass in 5 Minutes post.  We’ve created a cat to work with to show the process. You can grab it as a free download below. It comes in a variety of sizes.  We also have a post on how to Make Stencil Sponges. It’s super easy and inexpensive.

Making Stencils from Contact Paper Supplies

NOTE: You can use a brush as we did but you have to be extra careful to brush “into” the stencil and now outward, otherwise you can get paint under the edges. After using a brush we’ve decided a foam sponge would make it easier to not allow the paint to seep under the edge of the stencils.

Download Sample

Cat Stencil Patterns (pdf)

Instructions

Things to Keep in Mind:
Simple items with few details work best. If you choose to do letters they must be THICK. Letters such as lower case o’s, e’s, a’s etc will have loose sections that make the hole inside the letter. Make sure to save those after you cut out your stencil as they have to be placed where they go inside the letter. Same thing for some images.  You find any image you like that will work and trace it  to a piece of paper. Then place it over your contact paper and cut it out. Also make sure you have a couple inch border around your stencil to protect your item from extra paint getting on it.

 

Gather your supplies. I used white contact paper because I happened to have some.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

You can use any color however. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Using our pattern or one of your own, cut a piece of contact paper, giving plenty of room on the edge.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Cut some extra off around your paper pattern if desired.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Tape your piece of contact paper down on the corners. Make sure it’s on a surface that you can cut on. I use a cutting mat. A large piece of cardboard could also work. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Next, tape your pattern in several places to the contact paper.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Carefully begin cutting around your design with your knife making sure you go through all the layers.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

After you have cut the design, remove the tape from the pattern.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Then remove the center of your pattern. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

If you missed any spots like I did go ahead and cut them. If there are any uneven places you can also trim them with small scissors. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Depending on what type of contact paper you used and what design you used, save the inner piece. I’ll show you why later.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Gather what you will be stenciling on along with your paint and a brush or stencil sponge. We show you how to make cheap stencil sponges here.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Carefully pull the backing off your contact paper.Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Place it on your item. I chose an art apron. I did some measuring to make sure it was centered. If it’s a larger stencil as mine was you might need some help handling it so it doesn’t stick to itself. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Press down firmly on the stencil, giving the most attention to the inner edges. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Whether using a brush or sponge do not put too much paint on it or it will seep under your stencil. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

Brush inward. For a stencil sponge just dob it up and down. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

I let my paint dry before removing the stencil as it was so large. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

This is why I kept the center part. Many times it can be used on something else. Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!Making stencils from contact paper is cheap, lets you cut your own designs, you can make really big stencils and best of all, the stencil stays in place!

 

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