Stencil Usage Guide

Stenciling comes in many forms, so we’re here to help. Below are guidelines for stenciling on different surfaces, as well as guidelines for stenciling with different types of tools and methods.

For all applications, prior to stenciling: Ensure surface is clean and dust-free. Tightly affix stencil to surface using painter’s tape or stencil adhesive.

APPLICATION SURFACES

Canvas

  1. Prime canvas with gesso.
  2. Use foam brush or dauber to lightly apply acrylic paint. Use multiple coats if necessary. Brush stippling method can also be used.
  3. Remove stencil while paint is wet.

Fabric / Clothing

  1. Place something firm, like a newspaper or cardboard, directly below fabric surface.
  2. Use foam brush or dauber to lightly apply fabric paint. Use multiple coats if necessary.

Glass (Etching)

  1. Adhesive stencils are strongly recommended.
  2. At room temperature, shake etching cream. Wear gloves and protective eyewear.
  3. Apply etching cream thickly enough so the stencil’s design is not visible.
  4. Using warm water, remove cream and stencil after duration specified by etching cream’s instructions (this can vary between brands).
  5. Dry glass with a clean cloth.

Metal

  1. Dab excess paint off of brush onto a paper towel or something similar.
  2. Use stippling method to lightly apply paint.
  3. Gently and slowly remove stencil from surface.

Pavement / Asphalt / Concrete

  1. Shake spray paint as instructed by directions on can.
  2. To paint, hold spray 6 to 8 inches away from surface and use even, side-to-side sweeping motion. 
  3. Use multiple thin coats of paint to avoid overspray and bleed.

Skin (Face Paint / Body Paint)

  1. Hold stencil firmly against skin.
  2. Using a foam or sponge applicator, dab excess paint off of brush onto a paper towel or something similar.
  3. Dab stencil with applicator lightly until satisfactory result is achieved.

Walls

  1. Dab excess paint off of brush onto a paper towel or something similar.
  2. Use stippling method to lightly apply paint.

Wood

  1. If desired, seal stencil with Mod Podge or similar craft sealer.
  2. Using foam applicator or stencil brush, carefully dab a light amount of paint onto wood surface.

APPLICATION METHODS

Airbrush

  1. Tightly affix stencil to surface with painter’s tape or stencil adhesive.
  2. To paint, hold airbrush 2 to 3 inches away from surface and use even, side-to-side or up and down sweeping motion. Hold airbrush at a 90 degree angle relative to surface.

Paint Roller

  1. Blot excess paint onto paper towel or something similar.
  2. Roll over stencil with light to medium pressure.
  3. Use back and forth strokes until desired coverage is achieved.

Stencil Brush

  1. Dab excess paint off of brush onto a paper towel or something similar.
  2. Use stippling method to lightly apply paint.

Spray Paint

  1. Shake spray paint as instructed by directions on can.
  2. To paint, hold spray 6 to 8 inches away from surface and use even, side-to-side sweeping motion. 
  3. Use multiple thin coats of paint to avoid overspray and bleed.