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DIY Wood Stencil Sign

I purchased these cute blank signs from Target--here's what the original item looked like. 
The original item
Then I created a stencil using 631-this is removable vinyl.  I chose removable vinyl mostly because I had ordered a large number of a color I didn't intend to use again and had extra, also it works great for things like ceramics where you're worried 651 permanent vinyl won't remove easily.  The key for me was USE TRANSFER TAPE.  In the past a majority of my bleeding has been from the centers of the letters because I was individually placing them by hand and they weren't sealing properly.  Transfer tape not only removes me individually placing letter centers, but it also gives you a better seal.  Just take an old credit card and burnish your transfer tape FOREVER.  

I had to use two layers of transfer tape cause my roll isn't wide enough. 

I mean, burnish until you think there can't possibly be any bubbles under that piece of vinyl...and then do it some more!  Then peel up your transfer tape...and voila!

Ready to paint.
This is the paint I decided to use.  It's a sample white I had left over from when I was working on another project.  You can use any white paint, just know what the rules are for it.  How to clean it up-if it will stick with what you're painting, etc.  I liked this because I already had it, its water-based for easy clean-up, and its not to watery.  When you're painting a stencil you want a DRY brush so the paint doesn't run, so this thick consistency was great for that.  

You can use anything you have from another project, it doesn't take much paint. 

Then take a stencil brush and LIGHTLY using an UP AND DOWN motion.  Start painting.  I use a sponge brunch "pouncer" you could also use a regular stippling brush.  I used a paper towel to remove excess moisture as the dryer the brush the better.  DO NOT use a normal paint brush, because then you will use the regular paint brush motion and you will inadvertently push paint under your stencil. 

Painting Complete.

Again, just a reminder...use an UP AND DOWN MOTION!  Do not use a regular paint brush motion cause that will just give the paint an opportunity to sneak under your perfect stencil!

Now, peeling is a personal preference.  I like to wait for all the paint to dry before I peel because I don't trust myself not to smudge the wet paint and/or get it all over myself.  The pros of peeling while its wet is that IF you had any bleeding you could wipe it with a damp cloth and probably not need to do any paint touch-up.  So its all about for the reveal!

The finished product.

You'll notice that even though I followed ALL the rules...there was some bleeding.  Now, if I had peeled wet I could have taken a damp cloth and wiped the excess, but since the paint is already dry I'm going to leave it as is.  If you're really unhappy I would recommend sanding and repainting.  Or, if you painted your background to begin with you could just touch-up around the letters.  Here's a close-up of my letters to show you what your bleeding is going to look like.  

Just a little bleeding.  

I don't mind a little bit of imperfection, so I'm going to leave it.  But that's another personal preference you'll have to decide for yourself. 

Now, go forth, and...


Susan said…
I am having a hard time getting my mind around the 'transfer tape'. Can you walk me through that? This is the way I understand (and I am probably all wrong! :-) ) First, prepare your wood. Then cut out your stencil from vinyl. Place stencil on prepared wood. (is it sticky on the back?) Here's where I am confused. Is the transfer tape on a roll? Does it go on top of the stencil on top of the wood? If so, how are the letters painted through the tape? Is the tape cut, also, just like the stencil? I am certain I am making this way more complicated than it really is, but my mind just won't wrap around it! Thanks!!
Jessica Braun said…
The transfer tape is essentially what you're using to get the vinyl from its paper backing to the wood. I used to just peel it off the paper backing and move the pieces one-by-one. But if you use the transfer tape your move it all in one piece. First, you weed your stencil. Then you take your transfer tape (you can use contact paper, or I order specific transfer tape I ordered online that's a little stickier than contact paper that comes on a roll cause I like its stickiness better) and put it over the weeded image. Burnish, to make sure its going to pick up all the insides of O's and A's and things. Then you peel the transfer tape and the vinyl off the vinyl backing paper. Then you stick your vinyl to your board. This way you're moving all the pieces at once instead of having to individually move insides of letters one-by-one. Then, since the transfer tape is still on top of your vinyl you can burnish like crazy to make sure that all those insides of letters are on there good and tight. THEN...remove the transfer tape, then it will just be your vinyl stencil on top of your wood and VOILA! Paint away!

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