How to Make Metal Stencils

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Stencils can be decorative or informative.
Stencils can be decorative or informative. (Image: no cycling and skating sign stencilled on a pavement image by Stephen Gibson from Fotolia.com)

Use a stencil to make repeated patterns on walls, wrapping paper, cards or other craft items. Creating your own design for the stencil allows you to personalize your work. While card stock and plastic stencils work for a few repetitions, after a few uses they tear, warp or wear out. If you intend to use the stencil repeatedly, metal stencils pay back the time and effort it takes to create them. Additionally, they won't ever tear in the middle of a job leaving you scrambling to recreate the stencil.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Annealed sheet metal, about No. 25 brown
  • Razor knife
  • Tape
  • Marker
  • Metal chisel
  • Hammer
  • Small, fine file
  • Sand paper

Draw your design on paper; perfect your design before transferring it to the metal sheet.

Cut a piece of metal with the tin snips. Make it large enough to fit your design, plus enough border area to tape it to your work surface.

Transfer your design to the metal sheet. Cut out the desired sections from your paper worksheet. Tape the paper to the metal sheet. Color in the cut-out areas with a marker.

Cut your design out using stencil chisels and a hammer.

Smooth the edges of the stencil with a fine file. Using the file, angle the cut edges to make the edge sharp. Dull the exterior of the metal plate with the fine file and sand smooth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Metal edges are sharp; use care when handling the metal sheet.

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References

  • "Handicraft for Boys"; A. Frederick Collins; 1919
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