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15 Stencils Made From Unconventional Materials

Stencilling is an awesome DIY way to customize just about anything with clean, consistent patterns. When it comes to acquiring stencils, however, many people simply buy what they can find at the store. What if stores don’t have the pattern you want, though? Believe it or not, your crafting skills can come in handy when it comes to helping you prepare for using other crafting skills!

Check out these 15 DIY stencils made from more than just pre-cut, store bought plastic!

1. Hot glue stencils

Hot glue stencils

Craft Mama shows you how to create any intricate pattern you please as a stencil using hot glue! Map out the pattern or shape you want on wax paper with your glue gun and wait for the pattern to dry. Peel it off and use it with paint or spray paint to recreate the negative space of that pattern (i.e. the parts with cut outs) on something else.

2. Cardboard stencils

Cardboard stencils

eHow walks you through one of the easiest stencil making methods of all! Did you know you can make them easily from simple cardboard? As long as you remember to create a negative space image and stay diligent when you use your Exacto knife, you’re all set!

3. Lace stencils

Lace stencils

Leethal reminds you how useful lace is when it comes to crafting in general, but especially when it comes to stencilling and creating patterns! Lay the lace down and spray, sponge, or brush the paint over it to mimic its beautiful pattern onto a new surface.

4. Fishnet stencils

Fishnet stencils

Brit + Co. shows you how to get crafty with simple fish net tights! This method is great for recreating the hole-filled pattern on three dimensional objects rather than just flat surfaces because you can wrap the fabric around sides and edges!

5. Duct tape stencils

Duct tape stencils

Ductism shows you how useful duct tape is for making stencils because it’s easy to cut, adhesive, and doesn’t absorb your paint or let it leak through onto your project. It’s simple, but effective!

6. Freezer paper stencils

Freezer paper stencils

You’d be surprised how many kitchen based supplies make great custom stencils! For example,  Nikki in Stitches guides you through the process of creating your own stencilled patterns from freezer paper using a nice, even pattern printed from the computer. This helps keep the design consistent, but it’s more hardy than just using the printed paper itself.

7. Vinyl stencils

Vinyl stencils

There are plenty of cutting machines that can create your custom stencils in seconds, but they’re not cheap. In case you don’t have one of those, Maison de Pax has a great alternative method that still lets you work with vinyl!

8. Silhouette machine cutting mat stencil

Silhouette machine cutting mat stencil

Doodle Craft Blog

If you do have one of the fancy vinyl cutting machines, then you’re set to make reusable stencils from kitchen cutting mats! Keep it affordable by getting your mats from the dollar store. Your vinyl cutting machine will trace your custom pattern out in a shallow cut and you’ll be able to properly cut and poke out the shapes carefully with an Exacto knife.

9. Transparency paper

Transparency paper

Do you remember the transparency sheets teachers used to use on overhead projectors in the 1990s? Those sheets are awesome tools for DIY projects!  Reality Day Dream shows you how to draw or trace a pattern and cut out the pieces.

10. Plain paper stencils

Plain paper stencils

Sweet Sugar Belle reminds you how easy regular pieces of paper are for simple crafts. You certainly won’t be able to reuse a paper stencil if you’re using something like paint to create your design, but it’s still a great method for small projects with block designs.

11. Tape and Stencil

Tape and stencil

Merriment Design suggests using a stencil that you bought from the store or pre-made from plastic and altering it with tape. This cute design, however, creates a polka dotted pattern around the word “Mom” because of where the tape is placed. It’s so simple and yet so smart!

12. Mylar sheet stencils

Mylar sheet stencils

Mylar sheets are a great tool for stencil making too! They also come in packs, making them a better option for trying your luck at drawing a pattern free hand than other plastic stencil ideas, like cutting mats. Check out how Salvaged Inspirations made some!

13. Electric cutting tool stencils

Electric cutting tool stencils

If you like the idea of using Mylar sheets or transparencies so that your stencil can be reused, but you’re having trouble getting the edges in your pattern smooth or properly rounded with an Exacto knife, take a look at this nifty gadget suggested by Sand & Sisal! This electric cutter uses heat to melt to melt the plastic very precisely rather than making a harsh cut like a knife.

14. Solid stencils

Solid stencils

Sometimes the best stencilled patterns are ones that you spray or trace around rather than across. North Texas Kids shows you how easily solid stencils are to cut out of cardboard so you can get interesting shapes rather than just interesting lines.

15. Paint tape wall stencils

Paint tape wall stencils

Creating a stencil big enough to cover your whole wall is basically impossible, but using a smaller stencil and repeating it risks inconsistencies in the pattern if you place it unevenly. Instead, try creating a pattern right on the wall itself using painter’s tape, just like PBJ Stories did here! Paint right over the pattern and, when everything’s fully dried, peel the tape off to reveal the colour underneath in the pattern you wanted.

Do you know someone who loves stencilling but who can never find the designs they really want in stores? Share this post with them for a little bit of crafty inspiration!