Make Your Own Reusable Stencil

I am EXCITED about this post! This discovery could be life changing for me…I don’t know if anyone else out there has made it, but if you have you can understand my JOY!
I love stenciling backgrounds onto my painted wooden signs. It gives each piece an extra dimension in mere minutes! In the past I’ve done this with vinyl. Each time I want to stencil a design, I’ve cut it with my Silhouette, peeled away the excess, used the transfer tape, and then peeled it away before painting.
This is the technique I used on this end table.
This is a great strategy if you ask me. However, it feels wasteful because once I’ve painted, I have to throw the vinyl away. And if I want to paint a new sign with the same patter, 
I must start ALL over!
Well my friends, NOT ANYMORE :o) Can you see my ear to ear grin????
While in Hobby Lobby the other day I came across a product I had NO IDEA exsisted. I’m not sure whether I’ve been living in my own craft bubble or it’s a new item, but I snatched it up immediately. 
Stencil  SHEETS Blanks from Show Offs! 
And do you see that price????? 
ONLY $2.99 for FOUR sheets!
Now, at the time I wasn’t sure if the Silhouette was up for the challenge & at first, well to be honest she wasn’t. However, she tends to blame it on user error!
After a couple of efforts I found the recipe for stencil success!
First, you’ll probably need the new Silhouette blade. It has the ability to 
REALLY DIG DEEP! I twisted to a level 6.
After choosing your design in Silhouette Studio, choose the cut setting for the magnet paper.
 (Make sure when choosing a stencil you remember at some point all the areas need to be connected, for example letters might not be the best choice due to random fill-ins like the circle in the middle of an O.)
After choosing the magnet paper, you’ll need to up the thickness to 30 & click the blade over to the 6.
Now in some spots it has cut all the way through, where other spots it’s close but not there quite yet! However, lucky for us it is perforated enough that it will pull away pretty cleanly.
So….peel away slowly. Sometimes I used my exacto knife to get things going…
Keep going…you are almost there!
Ta-da!!! Are you doing a happy dance with me??? 
Well, come on now, don’t make me embarrass myself doing it alone!
Okay, now the fun part 
(by the way I’m using another stencil for the demo. I haven’t used the chevron one yet!).
Lay it down & use a roller brush to paint over the stencil. 
(And yes these pictures were taken after I had already painted everything…I was in the zone during the process, you know how it is.)
For what it’s worth…I suggest pulling it up immediately!
I’m into the distressed look, so I did a little of that before taking this picture :o)
You can purchase this piece over in my ETSY shop!! 
I’ll be doing a post about all that is hanging out over there soon :o)

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52 thoughts on “Make Your Own Reusable Stencil”

  • Laura Beth,
    Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I had about given up on my Silhouette Cameo which I bought 2 years ago. I have used it very little because it seems like it takes so much time to make a stencil with it (I bought the cameo to just make stencils).
    I found the blank stencils at Hobby Lobby months ago and never opened them. We started a rustic farmhouse home decor business 1 1/2 years ago and I’ve just been buying stencils. I needed to make some simple letters (FALL) so I decided to try the Cameo again, so I googled “settings for Hobby Lobby blank stencils” and got your post. I used your settings and cut my letters – it worked PERFECTLY!!! I just had to let you know that you’re a lifesaver and I now feel like I can use my Cameo again! Thank you so much!

  • Hi, I’ve usually only ever cut reusable stencils by hand before. If I wanted to create a reusable non-stick vinyl or plastic stencil, of a horizontal line of different silhouettes (my own design), can I cut them with a circut machine? Or can I do this with a silhouette machine, if that’s different from the circut. But the design would be my unique design.

    • I am not sure how a Circut works, however I do know that you can draw and upload your own design and then trace it using the Silhouette software to cut out a reusable stencil.

  • Funny I just came across the stencil material in Hobby Lobby yesterday and was super excited! So glad you have a tutorial, I always waste material trying to figure out the right setting. I have a Cricut and Silhouette, I’m going to try this today!! Thanks! Now I must see the rest of your blog:-)

  • I have been trying to cut stencils with my cricut for some time….

    I finally got it figured out! Here is what I did (to save you numerous stencil sheets)
    1. Take off the stencil backing.
    2. Put the stencil shiny side down.
    3. Adjust machine to Custom (Leather, Heavy 2 mm)
    4. Enjoy your new stencil!

    Now I am off to buy more stencils since I wasted all of my others trying to figure this out!

  • Hi, Thank you for this tutorial. I followed the instructions exactly as posted and tried to cut with and without a mat. With a Mat it didn’t cut it at all. Without Mat it only slightly cut but not all the way through. Any suggestions? I’m using the 12 x 18 show-off stencil material. Thanks.

    • Hey there! I’m sorry it is not working for you! My suggestion would be to lengthen the blade or double cut the stencil. I have found both of those options to work in the past! Let me know if you need any more tips :)

  • Sorry I am coming here for seconds :) I want to add that I made all my stencils using the mat, some designs were very intricate. Perhaps I should do it without the mat and see since you are using a lower blade setting it seems. I do have issues with it not cutting all the way through when I use the 8×10 or other sizes. Not sure why the material from the same showoffs brand is different. For those that want to do hand cut stencils, Joann Fabrics has a very thick stencil blanks for hand cutting or electric stencil cutter (great price with 50% off coupon btw). Good luck. PS: My silhouette was sent back due to some issues and they are replacing it, can’t wait to start doing stencils again to use in my art journals/tags/cards etc.

  • How do you keep spray paint from seeping until the stencil?
    I am trying to stencil t shirts. Stencil works great on carboard.

    • Tshirts & spray paint will be a little bit tricky because you are working with fabric. My suggestion would be to do very light layers of paint. Let each layer dry before the next & hopefully that will help prevent it from seeping.

      • The stencil sheet doesn’t have a sticky back so it wouldn’t stick to the fabric, but you could tape in in place when painting and I would think it would work great :)

  • Have you ever used to Cricut explore? I am curious as to if this would also work in the same way, but you can not adjust the depth of the cut on the blade as you showed for the silhouette. Wondering if I should switch? Thank you!

    • I unfortunately don’t have any experience with a Cricut. Does it cut through cardstock? If so it might be possible :o) I love my Silhouette!

  • I’m really new to this, and for fear of sounding totally stupid, I’m going to ask anyway. What is a silhouette? I’m dying to start some projects with stencils I’m just not sure how. Please help.

    • That is a GREAT questions actually! I probably shouldn’t always assume everyone knows what the Silhouette cutting machine is :o) I’ve included a link, because I think seeing it does more justice than me trying to explain! basically it works with your computer to cut out words, images, etc. from paper, vinyl, fabric interfacting & the list goes on and on! It’s awesome!

  • I have made a dozen stencils for less than $2 using this material from HL. I buy the 6×18 (3 sheets!) for $1.20 with their coupon. I cut them down to 6×6 and I get 9 stencils out of the $1.20 material! I set my blade to 7-8 (plus double cut for very very intricate patterns). I personally had issues with the 9×18 size ones, the material seems diff. Also, please put the shiny side on top while cutting. The matte side should be down on the mat, otherwise, the really thin shiny film starts coming off and getting stuck some times under the motor or blade etc.

  • This is great news! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea, and I am giddy about it too. One quick question, I have a Cricut, chipboard even with the deep cut blade cranked up to the highest setting won’t go all the way to the bottom. And perforated just leaves a mess and jagged edges. I shudder at the thought of putting plastic in it.
    Can you suggest a strategy. .?
    Thanks again,
    Hugs from Texas

  • Hi,
    The blanks that come in the smaller size like 8 x 10 are imposible to cut. If you have been successful what settings have you used?


  • Thank you for the tutorial! Ginger shared your link with me. I was about to hurl my Cameo out the window this week. It does blame the user, doesn't it? I can't wait to order the blanks!

  • Love this! Have to get some of those blanks. I have never seen them before! I'll have to see how well it cuts on my Cricut =)

    Visiting from Lil Luna and now a new follower!

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