It’s been awfully quiet around here. But this week’s looking up and I have been inspired to do some stencil art using some old spray paint we used to fix up an IKEA cabinet. We only had antique white and fire engine red in the shed so my first (very simple) attempt is a little limited but I am off to buy some more colours and, now that I know my technique works, to cut out some more elaborate stencils.

After battling with a nasty piece of acetate I ended up using tracing paper to make the stencil which did the trick but it is a little flimsy. Does anyone know something that I might have more success with? It needs to be thin enough to make delicate cutting not too stressful but then heavy / resistant enough to handle enamel spray paint and repeat use. I am not sure how many street artists read loobylu (at my guess… none) but any ideas would be useful!

Seriously inspired by Banksy (via Boobooksausagedogs)

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38 Responses

  1. juzt says:

    I have used heavy brown paper for pattern drafting then coated with shelac (or varnish) to seal and make semi wipeable

  2. melissa says:

    No helpful ideas but I love what you have done.I really like the red on white actually. 😀

  3. Donna says:

    Cute image! I like how her pigtails are flipping up.This website has some good tips for graffiti artists


  4. lou says:

    Reminds me of the ‘Skipping Girl’ neon sign in Richmond…You could try that clear plastic tablecloth/apron material that you can buy at craft stores… That is probably sturdy enough…and is less ‘brittle’ than the acetate.Also the plastic from those ‘letter files’ (The plastic pockets that are open at the top and the side) that people use in offices is nice, and available at newsagents.. Mostly limited to A4 tho…

  5. I’ve printed out a design before then glued it to the back of a cereal box for a stencil. The trick is to give the lighter material a spray first then the paint dries and hardens and strengthens the stencil. Although acetate is fairly thin maybe you were using the thick stuff?

  6. Darci says:

    How cute would this look bouncing around a room. I am loving your art. Hopefully your next sale will coincide with payday.

  7. Rhiannon says:

    I used to use soy milk cartons, you know those tetra pak ones. Open them up and use the silver inside. It’s also great because in most places they’re also not accepted with the recycling!

  8. Alyson says:

    How about wax paper? Or a manilla file folder? The one you’ve done is very cute! ~Alyson

  9. Alicia says:

    So sweet!To make a stencil, you could try some of the template plastic used to make applique designs to put on quilts. It’s sturdy, but not too hard to cut.

  10. skape7 says:

    I think she should be called “Hooray!Girl” :)I’ve always been fascinated by street art so I’m really excited about your stencils! The info on the website Donna recommended was all I could find as well (www.onelegout.com is the original) and I’m really interested to hear about your processes and what works best for you if you end up trying out some different methods and materials. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this!!

  11. Prue says:

    How about drafting film – its thicker than tracing paper, but still see through to help you position the design.

  12. kate says:

    I think my old housemate used cereal box card board. Thin enough to cut easily but generally stays together. I suppose it depends on how many times you want to repeat the same image.While you may not have a street artist reading, you do have a former housemate of a sometime street artist.

  13. fiona says:

    i have used old xrays for something simailr.They worked really well,cant wait to see the finished product!

  14. suzy says:

    That’s really cute!You could try using Easycut (Ezicut?) from an art supply store. It costs about $6 for a poster sized piece, and it is really easy to cut out with a stencil (hence the name… ) and will wash off pretty well. Very fine bits fall off with repeated use, but thicker lines are okay. I use it for screen printing fabric (more economical than the gocco for simple designs, and cheaper and quicker than exposing screens). I’ve also heard of people using old x-rays.

  15. suzy says:

    Oops, meant scalpel.

  16. Michelle says:

    This looks great. Stecil Revoltion is a great resource for tutorials and ideas (http://www.stencilrevolution.com).

  17. jen j-m says:

    i like to use frisket.plus, i tihnk the name frisket is just funny and fun to say. :)http://www.dickblick.com/zz252/00/

  18. cheryl says:

    i love it!! i was also recently thinking of stencil art! try this site, it could have some useful info for you?http://www.stencilarchive.org/taxonomy/term/16

  19. Kate says:

    I use contact paper…it tends to curl a bit, but I keep the stencil between books on wax paper when I’m not using it, so it peels back off easily. Then you can stick it to your surface, spray, and put it back!

  20. Ashley says:

    I’ve always heard that freezer paper works really well. If you’re stenciling on fabric, you can give it a quick press with the iron to get it to stick to the fabric lightly (shiney side down, I’m assuming). I personally always used thin poster board for my projects when I was planning on using the stencil a few times. If it was a pattern I’d printed off, I’d spray adhesive it to the poster board, then peel it off when I was done cutting out.

  21. ani says:

    we’ve used contact (or shelf) paper before. it’s easy to cut and has a sticky side too.good luck! can’t wait to see the results!

  22. Such a cute illustration! I can’t wait to see more.

  23. melinda says:

    cute cute stencil image! :-)I’ve wondered about using old xrays, wasn’t sure if the chemicals would leach out and leave something ugly…I have used manila file folders with succcess. The new Alabama Chanin book shows how to use the cheap craft felt as stencils…I haven’t tried it yet though, but they make some beutiful things in the book…

  24. melinda says:

    …how about beautiful? perhaps…

  25. Shawn says:

    Use temporary spray adhensive to help to hold it all in. Lightly spray the backing of the stencil and then lightly pat it on lightly. Peels off.

  26. samantha says:

    i’ve cut some very delicate stencils for spray painting and i used chip board (very similar to cereal box material).it does get a little sticky with repeated use, as the spray paint builds up, but once it dries completely, it’s sturdy again. i think i get about 15 sprays out of a stencil before i have to let it dry for 24 hours.

    good luck!

  27. jus says:

    laminate works best i found laminate art workthen cut out stencil image very sturdy and becomes sturdier every time you spray paint it

  28. shona says:

    Very cute. I use thin polypropylene sheet and cut it with a scalpel – then you can reuse it many times. It is definitely a good idea to spray a light semi-permanent adhesive to it so that your details are clean and the spray doesn’t get under any bubbles. Have fun – I look forward to seeing what you come up with 🙂

  29. pip says:

    Ah.. chroming again, Miss LoobyLu?! I think this is gorgeous – you can stencil in our doorway anytime…!

  30. louise says:

    Ok…using ordinary newsagent’s cardboard, cut out the stencil and then prime it using spray enamel undercoat/primer. Dust coat it first, by lightly spraying 30cm away from the card. Then first and second coat in the same way…not too thickly as the card will buckle. Turn over when dry and do the other side when dry…so you can use either side of the stencil…and it will also last longer. I’m assured by a street artist that this will work.

  31. I’ve been making stencils for many years now – some of them extremely large & intricate – & by far the best material I’ve used is manila paper, but NOT manila envelopes (no good for intricate cutting, the layers flake & are too pulpy), I use manila envelopes. If you buy really big manilla envelopes, they’re made of a heavier weight paper than the smaller ones, & they’re perfect.You give the paper one or two coats of linseed oil (refined or raw, not boiled, as masking tape & spray adhesive won’t stick to that for some reason) & let it dry overnight between coats. Extra coats help with durability.

    Oiled manila stencils are not super-durable if you’re making lots & lots of prints, but I find they hold up at least until there’s too much paint build up anyway. If using oil paint, they can even be gently cleaned & stored flat between tissue paper.

    The oil makes the paper translucent, so you can either trace your design onto the stencil, or attach the artwork with spray adhesive to the back & cut through that too.

    Oiled manila stencils cut as smooth as butter…you can cut really tight curves & repair broken bridges with masking tape. Here’s one of mine… http://www.flickr.com/photos/magic-jelly/391114634/

  32. I meant to say “NOT manila folders”…duh!

  33. Maddy says:

    Have you tried the heavy weight paper they sell in scrapbook shops? This paper comes in different grades from thin to very thick, it cuts very easily and stays stiff.Good luck.

  34. Tina says:

    I use the thicker plastic file folders found at Office Max. Easy to cut and they can be washed and used again.

  35. Jen says:

    Hi Claire. Great stencil!I am a bit late to this post but had a brainwave, now I’m just hoping you can get hold of the stuff over in Oz.

    I think that this reusable baking liner is just the right strength, flexibility and thickness you’re looking for, and I feel would work really well. It cuts well but doesn’t tear, and is just the right weight. It is flexible (so you could even go round corners) but not flimsy. You can probably just wipe the excess paint right off too, which is handy if you’re wanting to do multi-colour stencils.

    Here’s the stuff in the UK: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/product.aspx/kitchenideas/baking!5570_5571

    Now I am hoping you can find something equivalent over there. Am sure it’s around! If not I am sure we can ship some over to you!

    If it fails for the stencils, it’s a really, really good nonstick baking tray liner 😉 I’ve not had a cake or biscuit stick since I started using it.

  36. Estelle says:

    I have used polypropylene poster sheets, you can get them from any art store for around $6 for A1 size. I find that although the sheets themselves stay together well, the spray paint builds up very quickly and you will struggle to get a clean line (I had to stencil 250 pink flamingoes on my wedding invitations).Cardboard though less structurally sound, absorbes the excess paint to some degree and will ultimatley provide you will the cleanest image if you a wanting to produce a consistent series. THe best advice I can give is to go easy on the paint, Beltone is the best brand to use and has the widest variety of colours (the paint of choice for graffiti artists around the world) Also works well on fabric and is a little more matt than your standard enamel spray paints found in hardware stores. I get my paint from Handworks in Prahran, also Penhaliracks Hardware on Hawthorn Rd in Caulfield stocks a good supply of Beltone paints.

    Have fun and remember to use a dust mask, spray paint is toxic and easily breathed into your lungs (make for some seriously interesting boogies if you dont).

  37. karen says:

    Hi! bit of a delayed response but I second the suggestion of using architectural drafting paper. It has the opacity, strength and flexibility of acetate but the paper quality of.. paper. Also, when you build up a fair bit of paint on the stencil, you just bend it around a bit and it all cracks off, leaving you with a clean stencil. It’s also waterproof.I find paper-based stencils deteriorate over time, and get more of a chunky, soft edge to the stencil which I don’t really like.

    Belton paint is a bit pricey – you’re looking at $14 a can at least. Ironlak is Australian, and is only $11 a can. Don’t use the Aussie Export/$2 shop stuff as it’s a really runny enamel paint that smears easily. Once you use quality paint, you’ll never go back!

    HTH 🙂

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