Stenciling magic



I can see how cutting thin sheets of plastic could become a very nice design detail for home decorators or even metal acid etching. Here is a idea template that I am basing this topic off of. Imagine the school class rooms you could “Improve” with mascots, animals, or robots.
Here is the link:


Brilliant idea. We’ve done stencils in… acetate, I think? Don’t quote me on that. Came out great.


Wonderful! Great to hear. My wife will be looking forward to making wedding design and baby showers.


80 lb. and higher cardstock will work for a stencil that will be reused a few times, but will start to curl and decompose pretty quickly, especially if using a heavy paint-load. Old manilla folders work great for these type of stencils. Not really cleanable.

Mylar is good for reusable decorative stencils, and I think it is laser-safe to an extent (I have seen mention that thicker mylar bubbles and curls when lasered). You can clean old paint off of it several times before it starts to fail. The fewer free-hanging bits of design, the longer it will last.

Big industrial stencils (like runway numbers and road markings) are often 1/8" or 1/4" LLDPE. Don’t know how that is affected by lasers.

If you want to spray onto ferrous metal, or a thin enough surface that you can put a sheet of mag-receptive material behind, cut your stencil from magnetic sheet… stays in place all by itself! great for avoiding under-spray.

Here is a stencil printed on an inkjet and hand-cut from 2 sheets of 100 lb. (270 g/m^2) cardstock. It was applied about a dozen time using rattle-can spraypaint, and is about 6 or 7 years old. You can see that it is still somewhat usable, but warped from the layers of dried paint.

Cleaning the paint off will tear away at the paper. If I wanted to use this stencil, I would wear latex gloves and gently press down on the areas where my paint was aimed as I went along, or else the underspray would be too much, and the lines would no longer look sharp.


My business sells custom stencils for face and body painting…Ive also made some for walls too…
I use 10 mil mylar.


Thank you for sharing that! Very cool!


Are your stencils cut with a plotter or with a laser?


I have 2 Universal lasers.


Coming back to this for a moment rather than start a new topic. How fine a set of holes can you cut in mylar, and how closely spaced without things warping and melting? I’ve seen SMT pads cut in mylar for applying solder paste, but I was wondering whether a mylar stencil might be an interesting alternative to halftoning by laser engrave.


I’m sure it will be an alternative.
@smcgathyfay cuts a lot of stencils, and she said:


Thanks! I did a search for mylar, but I missed that one somehow.