Can someone help me design a stencil? I'm having trouble

My husband and I want to make some stencils with acrylic we have. I am very much a beginner with Illustrator and could use some help. Does anyone have time to assist me. If allowed, I would even offer to pay for someone to make the file for me??
I have the dimensions and a photo for guidance. Any help would be much appreciated. I am having a hard time learning Illustrator with odd shapes.

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It’s going to help the Illustrator experts to see an example of what you are trying to do, so they can let you know how to do it.

Is the stencil shape for engraving or for actually using as a stencil? (Cut out)

If you can post a Zip file of the Illustrator or SVG file that you have, it’s also going to help.


It is to be used as a stencil. I think you overestimated my knowledge, Jules :joy:
It just took me 2 hours to make a 2x2 cutout of a star! :blush: I do not have a file started yet, but I have a rough drawing of what we want to create and the size we want. Keep in mind I am NOT an artist either…lol

Photo is NOT to scale!!

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It is sort of a barrel shape with four cutouts of decreasing size.

Okay, that’s going to be extremely easy. (Hah! Bet you weren’t expecting that, were you?) :smile:

Give me a second to pull up a couple of screen prints to walk you through it.

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Thank you!

Forgot to give you the dimensions…
1.19"L x 1.19"W
1.22"L x 1.1"W
1.26"L x .89W
1.19"L x .70W

Okay, here you go, and I’m sorry, I got a phone call from my husband in there… :smile:

Step one:

  • Open a new file 20" x 12".
  • Turn on the Grid so you can see it behind the shapes. (View > Show Grid)
  • Draw your outside rectangle. Set the dimensions to whatever the outside size is.

Step two: Barrel creation

  • Place a rectangle to meet your measurement.
  • Click on the White Arrow to enter the Direct Point selection mode.
  • Click directly on one of the corner nodes with the Convert to Smooth tool.

This will happen:

Do that at all four corners and you wind up with this:

Set the width and the height of the barrel if you want it to be different here:

  • Copy the barrel a few times and just set the width and height for each one to be the way you want it.

  • Use the alignment tools to put them all in a row and you can space them equally as well if you want to. That should do it. :slightly_smiling_face:


Awesome. You are amazing to take the time to help me.
I actually did a square last night had rounded edges but I was lost after that! So, how hard would it be to do these two shapes then? We want a single one of each shape. One for furniture and the other is a shell outline for a craft project.

How do you know what shape to begin with? I guess I wish I could just upload a photo of the outline into Illustrator, but that would be too easy.

Bottom one looks like a rounded rectangle and a rectangle at 45°.

To build a shape, you can overlay various simple design components and make sure that all of them have a Fill color but no Stroke color. Then select all and use the Unite tool in the Pathfinder palette.


Wow, I definitely have a lot to learn. I didn’t even see that until you mentioned it. Thank you. You rock! :sunglasses:

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You can! I trace handrawn art all the time. :smiley:
Use the “place image” command under “file”, or you can drag an photo from your finder or Adobe bridge into an open document.

Once your image is in you can trace over top of it with the Pen tool. That one can take practice if you’re new to bezier curves.
These days I use prefer to start a trace with the Curvature tool instead.

If you’d like info on how to use either Pen or Curvature tools:

For the shape in your pic, once you’ve drawn your trace, I’d make a vertically flipped copy in the same spot then shape merge them to make it symmetrical.


I thought we could. Last night I uploaded a photo of that shell outline I drew above. I added a square around the shell. Then I scaled it to the size I wanted. I used the image trace under object tab. Then cut both the square and the shell outline in GF app. It turned out awesome.

I still have 3 more to go. I will definitely try this method, too. Thank you so much for the guidance and advice. I love this forum. Everyone is so helpful :slight_smile:

I finally got to try this out and I got the different shaped barrels but they look a little too rounded. How do I decrease the angle of the converted corners please? Thanks. The top and bottom of each needs to be less rounded, I should say.

Click on the White Arrow, then click on one of the nodes. You will see two Bezier handles pop out. Those can be dragged to change the angle of the curved path. Use VERY small movements, and remember that CTRL+Z will undo it.

(I use a plugin that I like better than working with the Bezier tool, it gives me a little more control, but it costs a bunch of money…Xtream Path )

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Just got it done. Thank you so much! As for the plugin, AI costs me enough…lol. I’ll just do it manually :slight_smile: Thank you so much for your time, @Jules

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My pleasure! :slightly_smiling_face:

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@Jules. Sorry to keep bothering you, but I over lapped the two squares. How do I get rid of the inside lines so it only cuts
the outside outline?

This. :arrow_up:

Then give it a stroke color but no Fill.