Stenciled Sign-Make Your Own!

Merry Christmas Sign HGTV

With stenciled holiday signs being so popular this season, I decided to decorate an old pine box for the market. The trouble with pre-made and purchased stencils? There are only a limited number of fonts available with the letter stencils.

Stencil PileSometimes a 3″ Times New Roman or a 2″

Arialwon’t do the trick. Also, the pre-made ones that have specific sayings and designs can be quite pricey, even with a coupon from your favorite local crafts store! You can order custom stencils online as well, but again, the price could be prohibitive for one project. Unless you are planning on making a ton of signs with the same design, it is difficult to justify spending upwards of $30 on a large pre-cut stencil for just one creation. So, I decided to try a do-it-myself stencil with stuff I already had in my workshop. Success! This is the “how-I-did-it”: Tools you will need: regular copy paper, printer (ink or laser, doesn’t matter), plastic sheet protectors

Sheet Protectorsor transparency film,

Transparency Filmspray craft bond (the kind that is temporary and moveable, like this Elmer’s),

Elmers Craft Bondan X-acto knife, razor cutter or small sharp scissors, a cutting surface (I used an old sewing cutting mat) scotch or any transparent tape, paint and stenciling sponge or brush and, most importantly,  a pattern or idea for the design.

Stenciling Supplies

Step 1: On my Paint program on the desktop, I found the font I wanted and created the sign I needed: Pine Cones 5c. Saved the file. You can use your own favorite program and be as elaborate as you like as long as you can print it out and cut it out.

Pasting Together Stencil Pieces

Step 2: Go to

and download your file. It is easy and free! They customize your sign to whatever size you need. In this case, I needed a long narrow horizontal sign, so it printed out on four pieces of paper. Print it out. Cut apart the words and tape them back together with the correct order and spacing to fit.

Stencil Cut To SizeStep 3: Take the plastic sheets and cut and tape them to the same size as the paper sign.

Cutting Stencil with T-squareYou may need more than one sheet of plastic, depending on the size of the sign you are making. Use the scotch tape to piece together.

Sign Adhered to Plastic

Step 4: Spray the craft bond to the back of the transparent plastic sheet and adhere that to the paper pattern, front side up, so you can see the print. Make sure it is solidly in place there are no wrinkles!

Elmers Craft BondStep 5: Take your razor cutter or knife, or scissors if you don’t have those, and cut out the stencil. (Yikes! Looking at this pic I realized how rusty that razor is! And no, that is not my blood on the mat…)

Cutting on Mat BoardRemember, when you are stenciling, you need the little middles of the round letters to have some definition! You can do one of two things: leave a small line attached to the middle piece, or cut it away completely.

Cutting Out Whole LettersKeep the little middle pieces and glue them onto the piece separately before you paint. Cut Out Letters CloseupStep 6: Once your stencil is cut to your liking, you can peel away the white paper pattern in the back and that will leave the plastic stencil.

Stencil 5c cut

Or you can leave it on, as long as it is adhered solidly. Now spray the back of the stencil lightly and press it onto your prepared piece, making sure you press firmly along the cut lines so the paint doesn’t bleed underneath.

Step 7: Paint inside the cut stencil areas. I actually started with a base of spray paint, then added layers til I got the look and color I wanted. You can use spray paint, or a damp sponge or an actual flat stencil pouncing brush with acrylic paint, whatever you have available (if you have never stenciled before, then you might want to check this out for more details.)

Step 8: Stand back and admire : ) Stencil on Box Completed Cute, right?! Now, I realize this is a lot of steps, but I wanted to make sure I covered all of the bases. This is actually quite simple, and allows you the flexibility to create whatever style stencil you want or need for your specific project! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask here or drop me a line @ And if you do create a project with your own design, please send it to me or post on my Facebook page-can’t wait to see them!  Happy stenciling Saturday, everyone! Susan

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