Make your own stencils as an inexpensive and more expansive option to store-bought versions. Use your computer's document or word-processing programs to create the letters or words, or choose online stencil-making programs for even simpler options. Print out the work, then trace it onto a stencil material to create the actual stencils.
Word Processing Programs
Create a stencil in any word-processing program by using a stencil-font. If your computer doesn't have a stencil font that suits your needs, download a font that is more your style. Type the letter or word you require in stencil form, enlarging the type size as needed. Print out a test page on paper to ensure the item is the right size; then print it on cardstock.
If your printer cannot print letters in the size you need, have the item enlarged on cardstock at a print shop. Take the font with you on a USB drive or email the font to the store if the font was downloaded from a third-party site.
Free stencil websites offer a simple way to print out stencil templates without opening a word-processing program. Select a font offered on the site, type in the desired letters or words, then adjust the spacing and layout options offered on the site. Click "print" when ready to print out your letters. Print directly on cardstock for a simple stencil option, or print them on paper.
Making the Stencils
To turn your printed letters into a functional stencil, cut out each letter segment using a craft knife.
- If you have printed on cardstock, the cardstock itself may be used as the stencil. If you've printed on paper, trace inside the stenciled paper design onto a thicker material such as corrugated cardboard or cardstock.
- Make an acetate or clear plastic stencil by placing a sheet of the clear stencil material atop a paper or cardstock printout of the stencil letter design -- do not cut out the letters first. Tape the edges of the plastic to the paper or cardstock with painter's tape. Trace onto the acetate with a marker, then cut the letter segments out with a craft knife.
- Make a sticky stencil from contact paper by placing your cardstock stencil, already cut out, face-down over the back of the contact paper sheet. Trace through the letter cutouts -- they will appear reversed -- then cut out the contact paper shapes with a craft knife. Peel and stick the contact paper onto the desire project surface to use the sticky stencil.