How to Make Multi Layered Stencil Art

Four Methods:PreparationFirst StencilSecond StencilFinal Product

Stencil art has long been associated with graffiti and vandalism. Though stenciled work can be used as a type of rebellious “street art”, stencils are an under-appreciated medium for artists. They provide finished work with clean lines and the ability to exactly replicate their design multiple times.

Method 1
Preparation

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    Make two copies of the photograph or drawing of your choice. It will be easier to find lighter and darker values if you make the copies black and white.

Method 2
First Stencil

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    Using the first copy of the photo or drawing of your choice, find the darkest values in your drawing or picture.
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    Outline the shadows and fill them in with the black marker.
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    Connect any shadows that seem to connect in the photo or drawing.
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    Tape a plastic sheet over the copy.
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    Place these on top of a cutting mat.
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    Use your X-Acto knife to trace over the dark shapes you have picked out.
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    Remove these cut pieces from the plastic sheet.
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    Un-tape the copy of the photo or drawing from the plastic sheet.
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    Label this sheet DARK.

Method 3
Second Stencil

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    Using the second copy of the photo or drawing of your choice, find the medium (grayish) values in your drawing or picture.
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    Outline these shadows and fill them in with a pencil.
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    Connect any shadows/shapes that seem to connect in the photo or drawing.
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    Tape the second plastic sheet over this copy.
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    Place these on top of a cutting mat.
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    Use your X-Acto knife to trace the medium-colored shapes you have picked out.
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    Remove these cut pieces. Un-tape the copy from the plastic sheet.
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    Label this sheet MEDIUM.

Method 4
Final Product

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    Place the MEDIUM stencil on your desired surface. (A piece of paper, a wall or a canvas.)
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    Select the lighter shade of acrylic spray paint. Use the directions for spraying distance located on the can. If they are absent, err on the side of caution and start off holding the can far away.
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    Spray the color over the stencil until you get the desired pigment. Some artists prefer dark, dripping stencils while others prefer a lightly misted imprint.
    • If you use tubes of paint instead of spray paint, use the stencil brush to apply as much color as you would like to the cut-out areas of the stencil.
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    Wait for the paint to dry before removing the MEDIUM stencil.
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    Place the DARK stencil on your desired surface. Match it up to the same position the last stencil was placed.
    • Except for a small amount of possible overlap, the color you applied before should not be present where your cut-outs are for this stencil.
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    Select the darker shade of acrylic paint.
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    Spray or paint this color over the stencil.
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    Wait for the paint to dry before removing the DARK stencil.
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    Appreciate your final product.

Tips

  • Make sure the paint is dry before trying to remove the stencils.
  • Pick a photo or drawing that does not have a lot of small details on your first attempt. The larger the shapes you select for your stencil are, the easier it will be to cut them out!
  • Use sharp blades for cutting the stencil, replace them often. Dull blades will cause accidents, ruin your design and/or your fingers! Be careful, use new blades.

Warnings

  • Use caution when using an X-Acto cutting knife. It is very sharp.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 sheets of flexible, hard, clear plastic, cardstock
  • 1 X-Acto cutting knife
  • 1 cutting mat
  • A picture-photo or drawing of choice
  • A canvas, wall, or surface to apply stencil
  • 2 cans of acrylic spray paint (different colors or shades - one should be lighter, the other darker) or 2 tubes of acrylic paint of different colors and a stencil brush

Article Info

Categories: Stamping and Stencils