How to Make Large Stencils

    by Marc Sutton

    Imagine being able to match the pattern on your sofa upholstery on the living room wall with a customized stencil. You can even create stencils with pictures and stencil silhouettes of your family on the wall around your home. The possibilities are endless when you make your own large stencils. Creating large personalized stencils from clear plastic overcomes the limitations of store-bought stencils.

    Things You'll Need

    • Picture
    • Copier
    • Tracing paper
    • Paper tape
    • Black permanent marker
    • Large clear stencil plastic
    • Cutting mat
    • Craft knife
    • Rag
    • Rubbing alcohol

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    Choose a picture for your stencil. The picture should be of an image with obvious lines and contrast between colors for best results.

    Enlarge the image, using a copy machine's settings, until you have the desired finished size. If the image is larger than your printer allows, you can tape several pages together to form the pattern. Print shops can make extremely large copies of images.

    Cover the image with clear tracing paper. Tape the edge of the tracing paper to the image to secure it in place.

    Trace the lines of the image with a black permanent marker onto the tracing paper. Color in the image where the lines meet; these from the painted area on your finished stencil.

    Place the finished tracing paper on a flat work area. Tape the corners of the tracing paper pattern to the work area to keep it from shifting.

    Lay the clear stencil plastic on top of the tracing paper pattern. Center the stencil plastic on the pattern. Tape the corner of the stencil plastic to the work area to keep it from shifting while you work. Trace the pattern onto the stencil plastic using a permanent marker. The outer edge of the stencil should be at least 1 inch wide.

    Place the stencil plastic on a cutting mat. Use a craft knife to cut along the permanent marker lines on the stencil plastic. Wipe the edges of the cut stencil with rubbing alcohol to remove any excess permanent marker.

    • Leave at least 1/4-inch border between large areas of removed stencil to create a definite line in the image.
    • Purchase large stencil plastic in the quilting area of most craft stores.
    • Always cut away from yourself to avoid injury.


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    Photo Credits

    • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images