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Stenciling 101

Discussion in 'Third Rail' started by FR8 LIFE, Jun 14, 2002.

  1. FR8 LIFE

    FR8 LIFE Member

    Joined: Jun 10, 2001 Messages: 678 Likes Received: 1
    it seemed that there were some people who enjoyed my stencil flix in paper chase so if anyone was and any questions about stenciling this should get you on your way.. peace

    INTRODUCTION

    Stenciling is the poor persons’ printmaking. It is the easiest and cheapest way to print the same image over and over on different surfaces and in different places. To start off, the three most important things for making a stencil are an idea, something to cut with, and something to cut the stencil out of. I cant’ help with the idea part, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to be an artist to do this. One of the great things about stencils is that since each print looks the same and consists of only a positive and negative, it makes almost all designs look really sharp and good.


    CUTTING

    Any kind of knife, or even scissors, can be used to cut stencils. Some people like big box cutting blades, but I find them heavy and unwieldy. I always cut everything with the simple exacto knife. Nothing fancy, just the regular size and the regular blades. They’re really easy to find (most copy shops have them out on the counters for customers to use.) and replacement blades are pretty cheap and accessible. I also find them the easiest to use; I hold mine almost like I would a pencil, and they have a really nice tight cutting radius so it’s pretty easy to cut small details with after practicing a little.


    THE MATERIAL TO CUT

    The material you cut a stencil out of completely depends on a number of factors, but the most important are use and size. The main use distinction is whether you are going to use a stencil inside our outside.


    INSIDE STENCILS

    Stencils you plan on painting inside on paper or other materials, can be made out of just about anything (thick cardboard, thin paper, etc.). when cutting stencils to use inside, I usually use two different materials, either laser paper (the kind you can get out of the color copier at a copy shop), or manila file folders. If you are just going to use the stencil to make one or two prints (spray throughs) and throw it away, then the paper is perfect. It is really easy to cut, making intricate details easy to do. Since you’re not using very much, it doesn’t matter that for the most part, paper stencils won’t last for more than a couple of uses. Because laser paper is light, it’ll move on your painting surface. If this happens, spray a little glue (preferably repositionable spray mount) on the back and stick it to the surface. You should be able to peel it off.

    If I want the stencil to last a little longer, I’ll use the manila file folders. They are both strong and durable but also thin enough to make it fairly easy to cut out good detail. I use them for everything, because you can cut nice, crisp lines on them and cut amazingly tight details (and they still hold together). Plus, they are easily acquired in most office settings, as well as copy shops, office supply stores, etc. Other materials can be used, but these two have always worked best for me. You can buy stuff called “stencil board” at art supply stores, but it is expensive and usually doesn’t work as well as file folders.

    OUTSIDE STENCILS

    When painting outside, the most important question to answer is what size do you want to stencil? If you’re going to paint something small, I’d use the manila file folders. Most people’s first idea is to use corrugated cardboard because it seems so strong. It isn’t that rigid (it folds easily, especially when it’s wet), and is a pain the ass to cut, making detail almost impossible. It will last for a long time, but you have to deal with too many negative factors to make it worth it. File folders won’t last forever (collected paint can make them crack) but are really durable and available for cheap/free. I have some that I’ve been using for tow or three years. They’re easy to hide, such as being slipped into a folded newspaper or shopping bag, and light to carry.
    When I want to make a stencil larger than 12x18, I use regular poster board. You can guy it anywhere and it has the same basic qualities as file folders. It isn’t as durable since the size makes it harder to carry without folding, crushing, etc. It’s really important that stencils stay flat so that you can get a clean print, so the bigger they are, the trickier it gets to carry and maneuver them.

    If you can afford it, the stencil paper, usually precut at your local art store, is a sturdy paper that allows many uses and intricate cutting. It is soaked in oil, so it may smell bad at first. The smell goes away but the paper never soaks the paint. One friend’s stencil was brush-painted over 100 times and is still in great shape.


    For stencils 2’x3’ or larger, the best material I’ve found is the kind of board that Kinko’s prints their in-store advertising and promotions on. It is similar to the material that some cities’ subways use for the ads that slide into frames on the inner walls of the subway cars. I used to work at Kinko’s and take home all the old ads, and many are printed on this great really strong plasticized poster board that can be difficult to cut. It last forever and is really durable. I’d suggest striking up a friendship with your local Kinko’s employee and ask them to save the posters for you. Once again, other materials, like corrugated cardboard, can always be used if you need to.

    Some of my friends also use a rigid, clear, acetate material that seems to work for them, but can also crack or shatter when it gets old.
     
  2. JUWSE

    JUWSE Junior Member

    Joined: May 10, 2002 Messages: 159 Likes Received: 0
  3. yoink

    yoink Elite Member

    Joined: May 27, 2002 Messages: 3,428 Likes Received: 0
    good info thanks for posting

    i just noticed the sticky too so ima read some of that to see what other people said
     
  4. Ser3adc

    Ser3adc Guest

    dope post!...imma get to some stencils right now!
     
  5. Destruction by Definition

    Destruction by Definition Veteran Member

    Joined: Apr 19, 2001 Messages: 5,237 Likes Received: 2
    good info, i just made a peewee herman stencil...i went to ac moore and they sell plastic sheets for like 79 cents made specially for stencils...they work like a charm...you just need the patients to cut them...
     
  6. d-town_bomber

    d-town_bomber Veteran Member

    Joined: May 20, 2001 Messages: 7,032 Likes Received: 2
    thanks man, ive been wanting to do some stencils for a while. stencils are kinda self explanatory tho,
     
  7. artsol

    artsol Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 4, 2002 Messages: 201 Likes Received: 0
    there's a bunch of stencil stuff on this board. But this was the best and I didn't have to sift thru bullshit of the other posts. Dope. what's your email b? I'm a chi cat aussi
     
  8. FR8 LIFE

    FR8 LIFE Member

    Joined: Jun 10, 2001 Messages: 678 Likes Received: 1
    fr8graf@aol.com
     
  9. ha-ha

    ha-ha New Jack

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002 Messages: 3 Likes Received: 0
    cool man thanx 4 the info
     
  10. Ceso One SAF

    Ceso One SAF Member

    Joined: Mar 29, 2002 Messages: 362 Likes Received: 0
  11. WITS

    WITS Member

    Joined: Apr 17, 2002 Messages: 366 Likes Received: 0
    Just a little more info. Go to a craft/hobby store and get some mylar. It's easy to cut and you can see through it to trace stuff onto it for cutting. It comes in various thicknesses and such.
     
  12. Felix_McGunn

    Felix_McGunn New Jack

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002 Messages: 2 Likes Received: 0
    that how-to guide rocked. I liked reading it this time around almost as much as I did the first time I found it on a site. You should give credit where it's due chief. I can appreciate that some bone heads may have no clues as to how to make a stencil but thats part of the deal, they should fuckin take the time to work it out and teach themselves something in the process, stenciling needs this to get people pushing the boundarys a little. As a medium, the possibilities are pretty much endless but 90% of the stuff appearing consists of badly executed, single coloured, half arsed images of celibrities.
     
  13. Felix_McGunn

    Felix_McGunn New Jack

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002 Messages: 2 Likes Received: 0
    that how-to guide rocked. I liked reading it this time around almost as much as I did the first time I found it on a site. You should give credit where it's due chief. I can appreciate that some bone heads may have no clues as to how to make a stencil but thats part of the deal, they should fuckin take the time to work it out and teach themselves something in the process, stenciling needs this to get people pushing the boundarys a little. As a medium, the possibilities are pretty much endless but 90% of the stuff appearing consists of badly executed, single coloured, half arsed images of celibrities.
     
  14. cornelius

    cornelius Member

    Joined: Nov 3, 2001 Messages: 816 Likes Received: 0
    i'm not that big on one color stencils really.. i've done a few of em, but i was never fully pleased with the end result... i'm more into the multiple layered pieces.... so far the most colors i have in one stencil design is 12.. i cut it out of cardboard..... cardboard is actually really easy to cut.. once you've been doing stencils for a while, you get better at knife control, and you know when to cut certain lines so you don't get those crappy bunched up corners and shit... it takes a lot of practice and dedication to do a stencil that truly stands out from all the rest.. i mean, i'm not an expert or anything, i've still got a lot to learn... there's always more to learn... anyway... i'm just babbling on about nothing... good luck to the kids who are just starting to explore stencil making... hope to see some good work posted up later on....
     
  15. arc7hyp-1

    arc7hyp-1 Member

    Joined: Jan 6, 2002 Messages: 260 Likes Received: 0
    why dont you post he link to the page you stole that from>?
     
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