How to Make a Stencil

I have been asked many times how do I make my signs without a machine? So here it is. Now I have seen many times how people shade one side of paper then flip it over and trace the outline. This method is supposed to transfer the pencil marks to the wood and all you’d have to do is paint inside the lines. I am not sure why this method could never work for me. Plus, I didn’t like that you would have to redo it every time. If I was going to spend so much time on a stencil I wanted to be able to reuse it if I wanted. So here it is. 😀

Depending on what I am doing and what I feel like I go between Peel & Stick and plastic sheets. For this one I am using my Peel & Stick.

peel and stick

I make my drawing, clip art, quotes or anything on the computer first. For this example I am doing a simple star but I used the same method for this 3’x2′ Rodgers Sign.


I do not have a light table so I can’t print out and transfer to a paper so I use my computer. Turn the brightness up all the way on the computer so you can see the image clearly and it turns into a light table. 😀 I also don’t have a printer… LOL  How do I do all this stuff… LOL

plastic sheet


Now trace it to the stencil.


I don’t have one of those green mats you are supposed to use under your paper when cutting with an X-acto knife so I fold up some paper (any kind) a few times.


Place it on your working surface.


I like to use a sponge and dab the paint. I love the texture it creates and the paint that I use blends all the brush strokes. You can see with this technique you can use the stencil either way. Paint inside the star or paint around the star. Both are just fine.

If I don’t dab I like to use a Sharpie paint pen. Trace the outside edge so you get a nice crisp edge than paint the inside. This is what I did for the Rodgers Sign.


I most of the time wait until it has dried before removing the stencil. Now I say mostly because I am horrible at waiting. LOL I haven’t found a difference whether it is still wet or not so it’s up to you.


And there you have it. This was just a quick little tutorial. On a real project I wouldn’t make the paint so thick and I might sand it down in some spots to create a distressed look. 🙂 And I would have made sure not to have little dried paint chunks in it LOL. If you try it out let me know how it works for you. 🙂


If you have any questions about it I would love to answer them for you.

If you love crafts and DIY stuff be sure to join the fun so you don’t miss anything!

Have a very happy, very safe day!

What have you made today?

8 thoughts on “How to Make a Stencil

  1. Linda Pearson says:

    This is a great way to transfer what u want from the computer screen. I have always liked to make my own.

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