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How to make stencils with few supplies and a couple dollars!

I get the best feeling when a new project ends with great decor at a cheap price! Today, we are looking at how to make stencils, a great project that uses minimal supplies, so it’s easy for the new or inexperienced do-it-yourselfer. 

As you start planning your stenciling project, consider setting aside blocks of quiet time so you aren’t tempted to rush, creating poor cuts. This is your chance to let your creativity shine! A stencil can make a plain project something unique. 

How do I make my own stencils? 

The fantastic part of making your own stencils is that they can be as low-tech or as high-tech as you want! You can find basic directions online, on how to make stencils with inkjet printer or how to make stencils without Cricut.

Stencils can be applied to tons of decor items and spaces in your home, to create unique designs, on walls and floors, clothes, and decor. If you are trying to decide, for example, how to make stencils for shoes, remember that the process is the same for other types of stencils too. I make a welcome mat here!

What material can be used to make stencils?

The best way to start a new project is to gather together all your supplies upfront, so you don’t have to waste time or return them later. You won’t need much in the way of stencil-making material, just a few basic supplies to get started. You will only be limited by your creativity!

Your DIY Stencil Supplies

Can you make a stencil at home?

The great news about making stencils is that it’s one of the easiest crafts you can make yourself at home! There are a few secrets to making a professional-looking stencil, with just a few dollars and supplies. Once your stencil is created, use adhesive to hold it in place, so you have a nice, sharp design after your paint is applied and has dried.

If you have a Cricut machine, that gives you unlimited options for creating crafts and stencils to go on clothing or to create gifts and items to place around your home. This winter, I wrote a post on

styling a mantel, and, using stencils, you can create tons of items to add to your decor, for a great refresh.

Can you make stencils without a machine?

There is no reason to give up if you don’t have a Cricut machine. You can create equally unique stencil designs with a simple Xacto knife and transparency! You can trace a design onto your stencil material or print out a design from your computer and cut it out. This is the stage where you want to take plenty of time to make exact cuts, so you get a great finished product.

How do you cut a hand stencil?

Start by cutting the longest and most straight edge of your stencil first and then you can next get into the detail work. You should hold the stencil steady and in place using your free hand, as you cut. Continue turning the stencil, so as you cut, the angle is the easiest one for a successful cut. Your goal is to cut one, straight line, and move on to the next section, whether it is a long one or a short, more difficult angle.

How do you make a stencil lettering?

The process for stencil lettering is simple and fun. On this one, your kids can get in the act and help! I cut out my lettering with square blocks remaining around each letter. Then I layer on some painter’s tape to secure each letter to the board I am using for my work. Position each letter so it is easy to cut, and start by cutting the interior parts out and then remove them. From there, separate the layers, remove the painter’s tape, and secure the letters you need for your project area.

How do you make a stencil without a printer?

If you don’t have a printer to quickly create a stencil template, you can consider how to make a stencil from a picture. You might consider buying a used picture book or something with simple designs and using each page as a template. Then, review the basic steps in cutting a hand stencil or making stencil lettering, to create a great design.

How do you make a stencil without a Cricut?

You can still consider how to make stencils on a computer, even if you don’t have a Cricut machine. You can use a drawing program and a layout program that can create basic shapes and designs, to draw a pattern. 

Next, print out your design and follow the same basic steps above for securing and cutting out your pattern. This method will take up more time, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you created something by hand.

How do you make a vinyl stencil by hand?

Cutting through vinyl is a little tougher than cardstock or thinner material. A craft knife or pair of scissors should cut through a vinyl stencil easily, so don’t expect any more difficult than with other materials. You should be careful to use a steady hand, in case there is more resistance when you cut.

How do I make my own stencils?

The process of making your own stencils is simple. First, find a pattern you love. There are tons of patterns online and in books, and when you’re starting out, find one that matches up with your experience and patience. Next, line up your stencil design and a Mylar sheet, after you determine they are square and even. 

Trace your stencil design and cut out your traced stencil pattern. The beauty of this process is that, at this point, your stencil is ready to use. Use adhesive or tape to secure it to your surface, and carefully apply thin layers of paint. There are not separate directions for learning how to make stencils for spray paint. 

The “Pros” of Making My Own Stencil

You save tons of money when you make your own stencil! Buying premade stencils can cost a lot, especially if you choose a popular design. Another big positive is that making stencils is a simple process that is achievable for most crafters and most age levels. This can be a fun project to complete with kids home on spring break or during the summer.

The “Cons” of Making My Own Stencil

The biggest negative of making your own stencil is the time you need to invest. If you decide to buy a Cricut machine, that can be a big cost. It’s only a good idea if you complete lots of stencils and other crafts. More experienced crafters can create more complex stencils. If you’re less experienced, that can be a tough task versus buying a premade stencil.

Wrapping Up

I hope this inspired you to make your own stencils! No matter what tools you have, whether a Cricut, a printer or just your hands and some paper, there is a way to make a stencil. Have some fun, and use your creativity to create stencils you can’t buy in the store! 

Be sure to pin for later!

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Thanks for reading along!

Chat soon,


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