How To Make Spray Paint Stencils

Learn about how to make spray paint stencils and you'll be able to create your own designs. Applying designs using stencils and spray paint is an easy way to change the look of any object whether it's adding small designs to a table or spray painting stencils of botanical images to a garden wall.

To make spray paint stencils, you will need:

  • Drawings
  • Clip art images
  • Acetate
  • Sharp graphic design knife, utility knife, or scissors
  • Cutting pad


  1. Decide on the design. Consider what you will be applying the stencil to. The size and scale of the piece in relation to the stencil is important. A line drawing with good border definition works well for stencils.
  2. Make the design. Either draw a design or image or go online and download a free stencil. Many Web sites have free stencils available to download. Search for the words "free stencils" and look at the clip art images.
  3. Copy the image on acetate. Acetate is a stiff, clear material perfect for making your own spray paint stencils. Office supply stores carry acetate sheets in boxes. Copy your original drawing or a clip art image onto the acetate sheets.
  4. Cut out the stencil. When the image has been copied onto the acetate, it's time to cut out the stencil. Be sure to work on a cutting pad or a piece of wood or something to protect the table or surface underneath. Use a good quality knife used by graphic designers or a utility knife to cut out the image that you will spray paint. Use scissors in a pinch; you won't have as much control with scissors though. Whatever you cut away will be where the spray paint goes. Whatever you leave will be the part that gets taped to the object to be spray painted.
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