Creating Spray Paint Stencils

Spray Paint Stencil masterpieces can be quite challenging, especially when creating your own from scratch. However, adding multiple layers and making the artwork look professional does take quite a lot of work, and it can be hard to understand the technique too but this is all completely achievable. It all comes down to planning. I’ll teach you how here!

Start Planning

At first, you need to make sure that you pick the source image. This can either be sketched by yourself or chosen via the internet. Please be careful of copyright issues, though and get permission to use specific pieces of work to save from legal issues later on. You will also have to figure out how many colours you need and based on that, you will work out how many stencil layers you’ll need complete your art work. Not only this but you’ll need to decide what size you want to use. A4 is typically the most common due to being able to print these out on a common standard printer.

Digital Alterations

After you select the image, you’ll need to edit it a little bit in an image editor, such as Photoshop. You can use your chosen software to alter the Brightness and Contrast. First, change the image to Black and white using a grayscale filter. Raise the Contrast all of the way up to 100%. This will remove all of the colours but it’s very important to do this. You should keep a copy of the original piece so that you can refer pack to it later on for colours, shadowing etc


Draw/Sketch it

Once the templates are ready to go, you should draw your stencil. Most people go straight to Photoshop to do that but if you do then you may include far more detail than necessary. For example, if there is a small area (island) that needs to be painted then this will be removed as soon as you cut out the stencil. That is unless you include a small bridge that connects the island to the main part of the layer.

Everything needs to be connected and if you can’t do that then it needs to be removed! You can do this by editing each layer on software like Adobe Illustrator, or, manually do it by drawing out the stencil onto tracing paper and sketching where needed. The main thing to bear in mind is that you need the stencil to be sturdy and not flimsy, especially if you plan on re-using the layers.


Choose the Right Material

A really good idea here is to opt for quality stencils. Some people will want metal sheeting or cardboard and some artists opt for paper. Personally, I go for acetate sheets every time. These are easy to cut, transparent so you can see exactly what’s underneath, fairly cheap and very easy to roll up, carry around and re-use. As you can imagine, each environment comes with its own ups and downs. So you really have to take your time and figure out which are the right options in this regard. In the end it’s always worth the effort, so you totally need to at least check out multiple options and see which one works for you. Do remember that thinner materials make it easier for the stencils to spray.

Get Cutting

You may want a strong cutting tool like an artists scalpel to do that, depending on what material you used. That being said, a powerful cutter can do wonders and it certainly brings in front some nifty features for you to enjoy in here. Cut the most detailed areas at first, and then go for the others.

Creating Spraypaint Stencils is not as simple as you would imagine at first. But while it can be tricky, it’s also very fun and interesting. It all comes down to using the best approach you can in here, but it will certainly be worth the effort!


HI! I’m the guy behind this site.  Living in Bristol, England, I’m an independent filmmaker, blogger and a huge fan of Stencil Graffiti Art.

Using this site, I aim to pass on some of my knowledge to others. Enjoy!

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