How to Make Your Own Wall Stencils

  • 1-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Plastic sheet
Utility knife
Printer/copy machine/pen
Spray adhesive
Safety goggles
Respirator mask

If you want to customize the walls in one of your rooms, wall stencils are a great project. With stencils, painting complex patterns becomes very simple, especially if you want to paint the same pattern multiple times. However, you do not want to take any risks with the walls of your home, so making the best stencils possible on your first try is very important. What follows should help you to avoid beginner's mistakes and leave you with a great quality stencil that you can use yourself.

Step 1 - Picking an Image

Choose an image that you want to stencil onto your wall. There are many sources, both offline and online, of images. Alternatively, you may wish to draw your own. Whatever you do, stick to images that are only two colors and contain a minimal number of areas completely surrounded by the color you will be painting.

Step 2 - Picking Materials

There are many ways to make a wall stencil, and your exact method will vary based on your individual needs and plans. However, there are a few basic materials that you will need to use, which you can change based on your preferences.

First, you will need a material to make into a stencil. Thin plastic sheets of any kind work very well. You can go to a print shop and buy overhead projector sheets, or to the craft store and buy plastic sheets that are printer sized. This is a good idea if you have chosen an image that you can print out from a computer. However, they are limited in size. If you plan to freehand draw or use a complex method of transferring an image, you may want to buy a larger plastic sheet from a specialty dealer.

You will also need spray adhesive and a utility knife, which you can get at the craft store as well.

Step 3 - Transferring the Image

If you have an image on your computer, you can print it out directly onto an overhead projector sheet or a small plastic sheet. If you have a hard copy, you can do the same thing with a copy machine. Alternatively, if you plan on using a large stencil, you can either trace or draw by hand with a pen.

Step 4 - Creating the Stencil

Now it is time to cut out the stencil. Set your piece of plastic down flat on your work surface. The best work surface is a wooden table that you do not mind scratching up, but any flat surface that can survive a few cuts is fine.

Use your utility knife to cut out the areas you will be painting. Take your time, and be sure to save any floating pieces that are surrounded by color that you do not wish to paint.

If you are not confidant in your abilities with a utility knife, make a few practice cuts in a scrap area of the plastic.

Step 5 - Using the Stencil

Use spray adhesive to attach the stencil to your wall, including any floating pieces. Now you can paint.

WARNING: Spray adhesives can be dangerous if you don't use caution. Keep the room ventilated, wear a respirator mask and safety goggles while working, and follow other basic safety tips.