Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Why Stencil Lettering Looks Weird: Bridges and Islands in Stencil Design

Why Stencil Lettering Looks Weird: Bridges and Islands in Stencil Design

Stencil design can be confusing, we know!

Fortunately, our design experts weigh all the necessary factors to create stencils that look great and last a long time. A part of that is making sure stencils are stable to use, which is why they have bridges.

What is a stencil bridge?

A bridge is a part of a stencil's design and can be used for stability. Bridges connect floating elements called islands and keep them attached to the rest of the stencil. Bridges are also needed to accurately depict details in lettering, faces or logos. Sometimes they can be removed, adjusted or concealed for minimal visibility.

Bridges in Stencil Lettering

Here’s an example of how lettering can vary when bridges are used:

Stencil Bridge vs. No Bridge Diagram - Why Stencil Lettering Looks So Weird

The upper row of lettering doesn’t include bridges. The inner parts - the islands - of letters A, B and D are gone. Excluding bridges in fonts and logos can be a nice graphic design element. However, including bridges allows for more accuracy and detail, as seen in the bottom row of lettering in the above graphic.

Bridges and Islands in Small Stencil Designs

Size is another factor when adding bridges to a stencil design, as shown in this stencil we made for Victoria’s Homemade Cake in South Florida. Because of its size, the original logo submission is different from the final stencil design.

Homemade Cake Logo Into a Stencil Design - Bridges and Connectors Make Stencils Look Weird


Bakery Logo Stencil Design - Why Stencils Look So Weird

Some of the stencil’s features are different since it’s only 1 x 1 inch, which is among the smallest stencils we make. So extensive bridging to connect the insides of the letters is not included.

Here's what the size of a potential bridge for this stencil design would be:


Small Bridge Size Example - Keep Letters and Design In Place

That’s a bridge size of .05 inches, or 5 hundredths of an inch. We only include details that tiny if they are specifically requested by a customer. Small areas like this can reduce a stencil’s durability because these areas aren’t as stable as a .25” bridge or even a .1” bridge. One snag while moving the stencil could rip the bridge and the stencil would be unusable. Therefore, all islands in this design were simply blocked out in both the text and whisk in the upper part of the logo.

Ready for your own custom mylar stencil? We can accommodate almost any stencil size and shape.


Concealing Bridges in a Stencil's Design

We made this stencil for decorating the top of lattes and other foamed coffee drinks for an event with Nike at the Dallas Cowboys Headquarters.

Cowboys and Nike Art and Stencil Design - Why Stencils Look So Weird

Note where the bridges are in the Cowboys star logo. They’re not cutting off the middle of the outer border of the star, like this one does. Instead, the bridges are flowing with the visuals of the design and are tucked into spaces where they appear to fit.

Dallas Cowboys Logo Stencil Design

Ready for your own coffee stencil? They're a creative way to showcase your company, brand or event on many types of foam-topped beverages.

If you're still confused, we’re here to help! Holler at us if you want to know how we’d approach designing your logo or image, or if you have any questions.

1 comment

Hi there!
I am writing because I really like your company and hoping you are able to make a few stencils for corn hole boards I am making for my boss. His brand is high quality so I want this to be very clean. I am hoping this messaging system will provide me with a representatives email so i can send over the logos I am hoping can be created into the perfect stencil for a corn hole board. Specifically measurement questions, hope to talk soon. Thank you for your time!
- Lisa

Lisa Shileny

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Read more

STENCIL STOP | DIY Eco Friendly Stenciled Kraft Wrapping Paper for Christmas

How to Make Custom Wrapping Paper

Learn how to create unique wrapping paper that'll make you the season's craftiest gifter. Use pattern stencils and brown kraft paper for an affordable Christmas gift wrap alternative.

Read more
STENCIL STOP | How to Paint Windows with Stencils

How to Paint on Glass Windows with Stencils

Need a fun and easy indoor art project? Check out how we use adhesive stencils and acrylic paint pens to paint removable artwork on windows. Perfect for the holidays, to decorate your home or even ...

Read more