Find out why downloadable stencils and free printable stencils have so many advantages and how they work…
OK! I have a confession. I’m in love with my computer. Well, alright! But it does give me all the information and sources I ask for. It lets me browse and shop without ever saying a word. And it’s always faithfully waiting here for me to stroke the keys and zoom, off to our next project. If you are a crafter or artist you know what I mean.
Well, there are! Download, print and off you go! Sounds great, right? But some of you might be thinking, “How does this work?” Well, it’s really simple. Find a site offering downloadable stencils, make your selection and purchase (unless the designs are free). Then, just follow the instructions of the site to download your file.
If you are on a PC, just right click on any of the free printable stencils on this page and select print. If you are on a Mac, you can drag them to a file such as on Pages and resize and print.
If you share my lack of patience, then you need to at least look into stencil downloads. Even if you have patience, it is a great way to go and the choices available to you are growing all the time.
Stencils allow us to decorate with our own personal style even if we aren’t Leonardo da Vinci (or Picasso - if that’s more your style). If you find it difficult to sit down with paints and brushes and come away with a picture you’re satisfied with, then stencils are for you. They eliminate problems with proportion (a fleur de lis will always be perfectly symmetrical), or perspective (objects will be consistent in depth or dimension and show whether they are near or far).
With stencils, you decide where you want an image and you pick the colors. You are the designer of your project. It’s just that you have a little help along the way. And don't worry - I won't tell anyone.
Stencil downloads are great because, first you'll get your stencil immediately. No waiting for it to come to you in the mail and no extra cost for shipping.
You can find many free printable stencils (we have a few on this page to get you started) or you can find some that offer better designs for sale usually on the cheap compared to pre-cut manufactured stencils. Just check out the books in the right column for some quick options.
Need I mention that you’ll save money, too. Well, it’s true. Of course you don’t have to pay shipping. And downloadable stencils are much less expensive because there are no manufacturing costs, storage costs, tracking costs… You’re just paying for the design.
OK! So there is a catch. After printing the stencil you’ll need to cut out the openings (islands) where paint is applied. I think you'ill find that for the little extra work the advantages make downloadable paint-and-cut stencils a great choice.
Another important benifit: since a cut-and-paint stencil design is printed on paper, it can be reduced or enlarged to fit almost any project size. This is a big deal. If you like a Plastic Pre-Cut Stencil and it comes in two sizes -small at 2’ and large at 4’- and the area you have for an image is 1’ then the plastic stencil will not work. Take a cut-and-paint design to a copy machine and resize it to whatever your project area requires. Flexibility is great!
So, you say that a plastic stencil can last a long time and get used over and over again. Well, here are a few tips to preserving a paper stencil for long term use.
If you can get your hands on some clear Contact Paper, it works great to preserve your stencil. And it just doesn’t get any easier. Just cut a piece the size of your stencil, remove the backing and stick it to the front side of the stencil. Make sure you do this before you cut out the openings. Just use a damp cloth to carefully wipe it clean after each use.
I always look for the easiest way to get a job done. I also like to use what I have on hand. So, if you can’t find clear contact paper then packing tape works great too. Place your stencil flat on a non-pourous surface. Run strips of packing tape over the stencil making sure to overlap the edges so that the entire surface is covered. Run the tape past the edges and trim the excess with a pair of scissors.
I recommended a non-pourous surface because one time I did this on the dining room table and the tape that over ran the edges of the stencil picked up some of the wood finish. It wasn’t pretty.
The trick is to get the clear covering to lay flat without too many wrinkles or bubbles. It takes a little practice but you’ll get the hang of it.
I like to cover only the front of the stencil with a protective coating. I’ve found a slick back encourages paint to seep and run under, smudging up my project.
Well, that’s all for now on stencil downloads. I hope this page helped you find what you were looking for. If not please contact me or drop me a note. I would love to hear from you. I need your input so that I can constantly improve this site for everyone’s benefit. Thank you for visiting!