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How to Make Custom Packaging with Stencils

How to Make Custom Packaging with Stencils

Hi! I’m Audrey Chamberlin, one of the newest members of the Stencil Stop team and the owner and designer behind Pony Up Press! I make various small-batch art and goods from my illustrations using sustainable and ethical practices.

How to Make Custom Mailers with a Stencil

Step 1: Convert your logo into a stencil.

Stencil Stop was able to take my logo below and turn it into a simple stencil that I could transfer onto my mailers. pony up press logo

Step 2: Gather your materials.

Materials needed:

  • Stencil
  • Mailers or other packaging materials
  • Acrylic paint (or other preferred paint)
  • Makeup sponge

I try to stay as eco-friendly as possible in all the choices I make for my business, so I chose EcoEnclose recycled and biodegradable mailers. Shown below is a recycled paper apparel mailer for shirts I have launching soon (hand printed with a stencil from Stencil Stop, of course!).

Step 3: Test painting application methods.

There are a lot of different possibilities when it comes to painting/spraying onto the mailer. I chose to use acrylic paint, because it is accessible, durable, and easy to use. I picked a dark blue that would contrast well with the brown paper. 

I did some tests on a different piece of paper before moving onto the packaging. The mailers are expensive, so I don’t want to mess up or waste anything. Then, I took my stencil and placed it in the center of my mailer. I also made sure to put my paint and sponge beside my workspace so I could easily go back and forth from paint to stencil. 

I chose to use a makeup sponge to dab paint onto my mailers because they are very dense, which allows them to distribute paint evenly across your surface. Disposable ones work best. They cost about $3 for a pack of 20. 

Step 4: Carefully apply paint to the packaging using the stencil.

I chose not to tape down the edges because I had many mailers to print, but if you would like more stability feel free to use masking tape. Instead, I simply held the stencil down in the areas I was printing.

If you use the makeup sponge method, take a small amount of paint on your sponge and dab over the stencil. Try not to let any paint pool up, because it will lead to the paint bleeding outside of the stencil.

I continued with the holding and dabbing process until the entire stencil was covered. Then I removed the stencil - it's that easy! On these paper mailers, acrylic paint takes just a few minutes to dry, so they're ready for quick packaging and shipping to customers.

As a small business owner, I constantly look for creative ways to give people a unique buying experience. Additionally, a strong brand identity is one of my keys to a successful business. Personalized packaging helps create a special experience for customers, in addition to letting them know what's arrived at their doors. A lot of companies will charge you up the wazoo for custom printed packaging, but using a single stencil, I can customize as many mailers as I want. It’s a super easy solution, and a mylar stencil will last you a looooong time! Stencils can be used to provide a well-branded product experience with only a fraction of the typical cost.

If you want to learn more about my shop, check out my website and Instagram.

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