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Stencil Design Specifications and Features FAQs

1. What is a stencil?

A stencil is a thin piece of plastic film or other impervious material with cut out design areas. It is placed flat against the surface to be stenciled allowing paint to pass through the cut out areas. The Stencil Ease system lets both the beginner and experienced user the ability to stencil beautiful designs.

2. What is stencil mylar?

Mylar is the flexible plastic material from which stencils are cut. Most of the material used at Stencil Ease is a durable and flexible blue mylar that is cut with a laser.

3. How thick is the mylar?

Our blue mylar is 7 mil thick and our milky white mylar is 4 mil thick. With proper care and cleaning, both types are durable enough to be used over and over.

4. What is a laser cut stencil?

Laser cut stencils are stencils produced on a special machine which uses a laser beam to cut designs into mylar sheets. These stencils are cut with a precision that was unobtainable in the past with die cut or hand cut stencils. The edges of the cutouts are crisp and there are no pieces for the user to punch out. This precise cutting is a plus for our more intricate stencil designs and our designs that have many overlays. Laser cut stencils use a triangle registration system for overlay, design alignment.

5. Are the stencils pre-cut?

All of Stencil Ease stencils are pre-cut.

6. What are stencil sheets or overlays?

Stencil sheets are the whole sheets of mylar. Sheet sizes differ to accommodate the size of each design. Overlays refer to the numbered sections that are used to complete a design. Multiple overlays allow quick and easy application of different colors, and stenciling is done in the order in which the stencils are marked - print 1, print 2, etc. There may be more overlays than there are stencil sheets in a design. Multiple overlays or design areas may be cut on a single stencil sheet.

7. What do the letters and numbers on the stencil sheets mean?

Stencil Ease stencil sheets include a series of letters and numbers which identify a particular design. Included would be one or more of the following:
- SE which denotes a Stencil Ease stencil design
- the stencil product number
- the stencil overlay number and the total number of overlays (On a three overlay stencil design, the first overlay would be marked 1-1, the second 1-2, and the third 1-3.)
- Cxx where xx is a two digit number representing the copyright year

8. What is included in a stencil package?

Each stencil package comes with a full color front-sheet, stencil overlays, and general stenciling directions. The front-sheet shows a colored design which is used as a color placement guide. It also shows the steps used to complete the design and gives information about the stencil including its size and the paint colors used.

9. How do I clean my stencils?

The method used to clean your mylar stencils depends upon the type of paint you are using. However, in all cases clean them gently so as not to bend the cutout areas. Also, clean them thoroughly; paint that is left to dry completely will not come off. If you take care of your stencils, you will be able to reuse them over and over again.

To make a good cleaning surface which will protect your tabletop or counter, cover several layers of newspaper with clean paper towels. Use this to lay your stencils on while cleaning.

Our Spill Proof( paint has a long drying time. If needed, excess paint may be periodically wiped off the stencil using a dry paper towel. Remember to make sure paint has not collected on the back side of the stencil which touches the wall. When you are done stenciling for the day, wipe the stencil with dry paper towels to remove as much of the paint as possible. If needed, with a paper towel dipped in mineral spirits, give the stencil a final cleaning on both sides and allow to air dry.

Our Japan paint contains a drying agent, which allows it to dry quickly on the stenciled surface. This also tends to make it dry on the mylar and collect along the edges of the cutouts. Periodically during the stenciling process, wipe the paint off both sides of the stencil with a paper towel dipped in mineral spirits. Make sure the stencil is completely dry before continuing with your project. When you are done stenciling for the day, using the same process, clean the stencil thoroughly on both sides and air dry.

If you are using a water based paint, the stencil may be wiped with a paper towel or sponge dampened with water. Do this periodically before the paint dries on the stencil. When stenciling is complete, give the stencil a thorough cleaning with water and air dry.

10. How do I repair a broken stencil?

If a stencil is used or cleaned too vigorously, there is the slight possibility that a tear could occur. If this happens, it most likely would be in an area of the stencil where a bridge (an uncut, dividing portion of the stencil) is very narrow. A successful repair can be made with the use of Scotch 'magic' tape and an X-Acto or craft knife. On a flat surface, the torn portion is repositioned to its original state. A small piece of tape is placed on the top of the stencil and another on the back. The tape is then trimmed even with the cutout edges using the craft knife. A sample should be painted on paper to make sure the repair has been made well.