Carly Rubach

Make your Own Black Metal Stencil

Learn how to cut out your very own black metal stencil that's sure to scare the neighbors.

By - Aug 5th, 2012 04:00 am

Do I look look like the kinda gal who’s itchin’ to fashion you a satanic stencil? Apparently so. My fellow TCD-er, Sahan, asked if I’d hook him up with a stencil to help decorate his new studio. I was happy to contribute to what will inevitably be a creepy but inspired practice space.

This most recent TCDIY project was a true challenge since I’d never attempted or thought to attempt cutting out my own stencil. I had the hardest time with the image itself—I don’t often work with abstract goat/bat/horse/devil heads—so I had to think about which areas of the image I needed to cut out. There was a lot of shading and gray area in the original image, so I imported the jpeg file into Illustrator and played around with some effects that gave me a clearer vision on what I needed to do. If you have Illustrator, you most likely know how to play with effects, and you most likely know how super fun it is. If you haven’t had good times in Illustrator, you should get on that.

Once I got my image the way I needed, I headed over to the corner Kinkos and freaked out the sales clerk by continually asking for more and larger prints of the Bat Lord. “I’m making a stencil,” I calmly explained as though that would make him forget that I like devil horses.

I originally planned to print on a transparency but ended up just printing on an 11 x 17 piece of paper. I took my prints home and taped the 11 x 17  image to an 11 x 17 piece of blank card stock (this would become my stencil). I cut out all of the white elements of the image with my X-acto knife. This was incredibly taxing on the fingers but also surprisingly addicting. I spent an hour and half working straight through the whole image without taking a break.

When the stencil was ready, I took it outside to test on some scrap paper that I found in our apartment paper recycling bin—it looked clean enough. In retrospect, I should have used a heavier weight stock or posterboard for my stencil, but then it becomes more difficult to cut. You just have to make sure you tape your stencil down nice and flat so that the paint stays within the lines. My edges were a little blurred here and there, but hey, that’s an “effect,” right?

I considered using my wood-burning tool to cut the stencil, but I thought that would start the paper on fire. Anyone know a good shortcut for stencil-cutting?

I was definitely pleased with the result and now I want to make stencils for everything. I love the idea that I can put a devil horse on ANYTHING. Everything is cuter with a devil horse on it anyway.

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