Sunday, March 6, 2016

Make Stencils from Hot Laminated Film

McGyvering Laminated Film into Stencils
Yesterday I needed to make laminated tags for a sewing machine that was going in for repair.  Didn't want to take a chance that any part would fall into a black hole of other machines.  As a result I had several pieces of laminated film left over after I cut out the tags.

What, oh, what could be done with these?  I hate throwing away anything that may serve another purpose.  After a couple of hours, the thought hit me that since the left over pieces were very firm, impermeable to water and also transparent, they might be able to be used to make stencils.

Tools and Materials Used:
- White paper
- Laminated film
- Craft knife
- Freezer paper
- Water
- Paper towel
- Fabric
- Iron

My first attempt at cutting a stencil from the film was to freehand cut a vine form.  The picture below is of that stencil.  Because of the glass like transparency and light reflection, I placed the stencil(s) on a black background, so they appear quite dark but at least they are visible.
Vine Stencil
Since the vine cutting was successful, and because I had a couple of larger lamination scraps, I drew a picture of a sun shape on white paper, placed it under a laminated piece, taped it to the paper, and started cutting the stencil.
Laying Laminated Sheet Atop Paper Pattern
Cut Out of Stencil and Paper Pattern
Because the edges of the stencil are almost invisible upon fabric, placement became difficult.  To overcome this difficulty, I put painter's tape around all front and back outside edges of the stencil.
Painter's Tape Put on All Outside Edges
In order to be able to know where the cut out began and ended, I placed a couple of small pieces of tape onto the stencil.
Final Stencil Ready for Painting
The colors I chose to apply with stencil brushes were orange and red.
Palette Colors
I started stenciling directly onto the fabric; however, when the fabric became wet with paint, it tended to distort.  After the first sun shape print, I ironed freezer paper to the back of the fabric to provide stability to the fabric.
Freezer Paper Ironed to Back of Fabric
The width of the freezer paper was wider than the fabric and tended to make the whole unit roll up.  A simple solution was to cut away excess freezer paper.
Excess Freezer Paper  Cut Away from Fabric
In order to keep the sun shaped prints aligned, I placed a ruler onto the fabric as a printing guide.
Ruler as Guide
Aligned Printing
Clean-up was a breeze with laminated film cut stencils.  I merely sprayed plain water onto the stencil and then used a paper towel to wipe off the paint.
Stencil Cleaned with Water and Paper Towel
 Finished Stenciled Fabric with Stencils Used

The "experiment" proved to be so successful that I am sure that I will be cutting more stencils from laminated film in the future.  Their ease of use and clean-up and their permanency will surely be a go-to stenciling method for me in the future.  I'm so certain of this that I have edged 3 additional left over pieces of laminated film with painter's tape.  They are ready to go when the muse visits again.
Laminated Film Prepared for Stencil Cutting
Always remember, never fear to experiment.  
Sometimes wonderful things happen.
© Linda Friedman 2016.  All rights reserved


  1. Thanks, Mia! It's been fun taking a break from creating theme directed work and to have the time to explore serendipitous possibilities. After my friend from Texas departs, I'll be getting back to some themed work. In the meantime, I'm having fun allowing my hands to follow my brain into untried territories..