How to Make a Stencil for Airbrushing - DIY Guide - Airbrush Guru

How to Make a Stencil for Airbrushing – DIY Guide

This tutorial will show you how easy it is to airbrush even if you have little or no drawing skills. Using stencils makes getting into the world of airbrushing, spray painting very easy for just about anyone. Airbrush artist, Brad DeLaTorre put this article together to show you how to use your computer to create your own airbrush stencil.

How To Make Your Own Stencil

Tools You Will Need:

  • Computer,
  • Printer,
  • Scanner,
  • X-acto Knife,
  • Paper,
  • Spray Adhesive,
  • Clothes Pins,
  • Airbrush,
  • Createx Paint,
  • Tape

First, you will have to decide what design you want to airbrush. For this tutorial, I am going to show you my work for a local small business. First, I will scan a business card logo in order to crop and resize the image to fit perfectly on three hats I’m working on for this small business. For those of you who do not have much experience with a computer, here’s how to scan the business card.

Scanning Your Image

Place the card on the scanner with the printed side of the card facing down. Open your photo program and look for an area titled “File” on your Menu Bar. Click that and then scroll down to “Import” and click. Next, select “Twain” and then click on “Acquire”. This will open your scanner program and scan your picture. Adjust the resolution in Pixels and Output Type to your liking. When all the scanner settings are where you want them, select “Accept” and the image will now appear on your photo program. Now you are ready to crop and adjust the area that you wish to print.

Printing Your Image

To print your image, go to the File menu and scroll down to “Print Layout”. Adjust the size so it will fit to the object you are painting on. Next, go into the Print Settings and find the setting for the printer that says “Quick Print”, select that so you do not waste ink. Now you can take the print to the object you are painting to test out the size. If it fits well, do not adjust it. If your image is more detailed, it is wiser to use photo, transparency, or sticker paper for your stencil. Also you may want to print multiple copies for different areas of the image and one for a reference.

How to Cut a Stencil

When I have my printed image, I take a X-acto Knife and apply enough pressure to cut the image out smoothly. Caution:X-acto Knives are very sharp, be careful!! Sometimes it is easier to cut the image out by dragging the paper while cutting. The cleaner and sharper that you cut it, the better the end result of the painted project will be and the less hassles you will have to endure.

How to Prepare and Use Stencil

Now I take the stencil and flip it to the backside. Use some Spray Adhesive and gently, lightly spray the back of the stencil two to three times. Let it bond to the paper for about two minutes before sticking it to your project or it may leave goo on your project when you are finished.

Your project must be properly mounted, so in my case I place all three hats at the top of my airbrush board with clothes pins, but I space them out enough so over-spray will not affect them. Then I line up and stick the stencil to the hat. Make certain that it is flat to the surface so that you will not have to much under-spray. Now use tape so you can cover or mask off the areas of the hat that will not be painted.

Airbrushing the Stencil

Because the hats are black, I spray a base of white first and use a hairdryer to set it. Next, I airbrush the colors that I want the image to be. Lastly, I airbrush the shadows and highlights.

After airbrushing, remove the tape first and then remove the stencil, be careful not to rip it! There will be some under-spray when it is removed, however it is easy to touch that up in this case because it is a black hat.

The flatter the surface, the better this technique works. Using the edge of a paper and placing the edge to the area that needs to be corrected, I paint the area black where the error is.

Now that your project is completed, you may use the same stencil for the remaining two hats. Remember, after each hat, step back to look at it, find any errors and correct them. Now you are finished!