How to easily make a Stencil from a Picture

April 30, 2013

  • This article is all about creating your own stencil from a picture, whether it’s yours or you like something which you saw online. There are tons of stencils that you can buy but when you need something custom you need to make your own. You don’t need to be good at drawing/sketching to create one, this page contains all the tips, ideas and tweaks that you will need to create your own stencil.

    Stenciling items such as furniture, pillows, bed sheets, walls etc. is an innovative way to decorate your home or office. The art of stenciling is much older than using decals or stickers.

    Let’s get started with the tools that you need to make your own stencil –

    There are a variety of tools that can be used for stenciling but I will be listing only those which are easily available everywhere.

    1. A photo editing software such as Photoshop (you can use any other software that you are familiar with). You can use Microsoft Word, Picasa or even Paint.
    2. A Printer that can print black and white images.
    3. A blank stencil paper or a tracing paper.
    4. A Sharpie marker to trace the design on the stencil sheet
    5. A thick cardboard to put the stencil sheet (template)
    6. A must have stencil Knife for precision.
    7. Some clear tape to apply the stencil on any surface.

    You can always replace these tools with your own similar type of tools.

    A list of tools which you might not have, can be found on Amazon-

     Wall Lenk L12SCK Cutlass Stencil Cutting Kit Wall Lenk L12SCK Cutlass Stencil Cutting Kit

     Blank Stencil Making Sheets 8.5 x 11 Frosted -Pack of 10 Sheets Blank Stencil Making Sheets 8.5″ x 11″ Frosted -Pack of 10 Sheets

    Pacon 96510 Tracing Paper, 9 x 12, 500 Sheets per packPacon 96510 Tracing Paper, 9 x 12, 500 Sheets per pack

    Xacto X5282 Basic Knife SetXacto X5282 Basic Knife Set

    Stencil Starter KitStencil Starter Kit

    Adobe Photoshop Elements 11Adobe Photoshop Elements 11


    Now that you have all the necessary stuff that you may need, let’s begin with how to make our own stencil.

    The first thing you will need is the digital image you want to stencil out. Scan it, if you have the paper version of the image. Now that you have the image on your computer, go ahead and open it on your computer.

    I am using the image below for my stencil. Open the image in your photo editing tool; I will be using Photoshop for this.


    Change the Image to Black and white from the menu bar.

    Image > Adjustments > Black & White (You can use Alt + Shift + Ctrl + B alternatively)

    The resulting image will something be like the image below. The image below looks perfect for our stencil purpose. All we need is a silhouette of the image to make our stencil from it.


    Now print the image large enough so that you can trace quite easily. For large print’s go to a nearby store and get them printed (it will cost you a dollar for a large size print).

    Now glue the printed image on a thick cardboard, don’t glue it firmly as we will need to remove it later. Gluing the paper to cardboard keeps the image in a fixed position and makes it very easy to draw.

    Trace your image by using stencil paper or a butter paper. Now next thing is use your exact-o-knife and cut out the image. Now this is something which is very important and you need to be precise in doing it. Generally, I don’t do it all at once; I take gaps to complete the whole cutting process. Be patient, I bet the resultant stencil will be precise.

    Now that you have got a neat stencil printed out, it’s time to use it on your furniture, walls, bed sheets etc.

    Damask_stencil_nursery Damasque-wall-stencil-brocadeDamask-wall-stencil

    Stick the stencil with a glue tape to the wall or the item you want to stencil on and spray the back with your paint. I would suggest using stencil paint because it is much easier to use and does not run down after you remove the stencil.

    Happy Stenciling!


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