All You Need to Know About Craft Stencils and Templates

Stencils have been around for thousands of years, making their way from the ancient Chinese to the hands of craftsmen, artists, and designers in the 21st century. From simple cut-outs on paper to intricate multi-layered Mylar, the selection covers the gamut from primitive to sophisticated. Marketplaces like eBay sell affordable craft stencils and around the world.

Craft stencils and Christmas stencils with words

Craft stencils can be as simple as individual cut-out letters on brown paper, geometric shapes on plastic templates, or Christmas stencils with words. Crafters use them for simple tasks like making signs, decorating gift wrap, and decorating projects like toy boxes, but their use can be far more complicated and detailed. It all depends on the materials, the goal, and the skill of the artist. Most stencils can be cleaned and reused.

The kinds of material favoured by stencillers

Mylar is the first choice for stencils that are already cut or that have custom designs. It is also the most common type of stencil material. Besides being flexible, durable, and easy to clean, Mylar, a sheet of polyester resin, can be used over and over. It can also be backed with adhesive to keep it in place during use, and its clear or translucent look makes it easy to see through. Other stencil materials include plastic, wood, brass, and paper.

Which designs are available as stencils ?

Stencils can be used to replicate the look of tiles on a kitchen wall or on wooden stair risers to create a border at the top of the wall near the ceiling. They can also be used to make whimsical fabric designs for sewing or decorating. Some street artists use stencils to create their masterpieces because of their flexibility and durability, and school children love plastic stencils for art projects. Flexible drafting curves are handy for shaping curves and large shapes. Special supplies, like mandala templates and journaling designs, are available for scrap-booking and diaries. Below are a few of the different motifs and styles of ready-to-use stencils:

  • Words and phrases
  • Country or shabby chic
  • Victorian
  • Art Deco
  • Landscape stencils for painting
Making original stencils

Blank new or pre-owned Mylar sheets are available for artists who want to create their own original designs or trace patterns. Possibilities include free Disney stencils to print, pages from coloring books, and seasonal motifs. Accessories include stencil cutters, fine-tipped permanent markers for drawing the designs, stencil cleaner, brushes, adhesives, and tapes.