Wedding Stencil
March 11, 2010 6:36 PM   Subscribe

We want to make a stencil for our wedding invite - Some stenciling tips please!

I have done three color stencils before, using acetate, just as sort of a proof of concept, and we were thinking about making a stencil for our wedding invite. the idea was to stencil it on a piece of cloth so they could keep it for however long they found it cute, and it wouldn't tear or fall apart. A couple of questions:

1.) The acetate I have used in the past was always very thin. Can you recommend a good thickness of acetate so I can make cuts and it won't tear or fall apart?

2.) What kind of paint should I be using to make these stencils? In the past, I've used spray paint, which I don't necessarily have a problem with, but I don't want friends and family to open their wedding invites and get a waft of chemicals.

3.) What kind of cloth should I use for stenciling? I assume that some cloth absorbs the paint into the fibers better than others. I don't want to send out wedding invites that have paint crumbling off of them.

Any other stenciling pro tips would be appreciated. Thank you for your help.
posted by orville sash to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
I don't know about the kind of cloth, and have never worked with acetate, but I've found that making stencils out of laminating sheets is pretty easy. Just get an A3 laminating sheet and pass it through the machine without any paper in it and you've got a nice, thin, easily cuttable but strong sheet to make a stencil from.

As for the paint, using a spray will give you a better result. You could either spray each cloth with some nice scent after you've painted it, or get one of those 'home spray kits' - never used one before, but I believe you can fill it with whatever paint you like and it uses air pressure to spray it, so you avoid that characteristic aerosol smell.
posted by twirlypen at 7:13 PM on March 11, 2010

Don't forget you can get just about any pattern or material (metal stencil?) laser cut for a reasonable price, so you could make a doubles and triples of your stencil, for some tests or reuse. I would also guess a natural fibre would be the best choice, and there are fabric paints/dyes you could try as well. If you end up going with spray paint, just let it sit out for a couple days to off gas and you should be fine. What about silk screening?
posted by gillianr at 8:41 PM on March 11, 2010

It would be good to know more. Is there a lot of text involved? Did you want to do a lot of different patterns and motifs as well? Are you in a large city or a small town? How many of these are you planning on sending out?

Here is how I would approach it. If you are in a fairly large town, I would look for a production silk-screener. I would tell him/her what you want to do and ask if s/he has the ability to do an economical short run. Ask what the best fabric would be and ask about any limitations like type size, etc., might affect quality of final product. Then, go home and create the artwork that you want, fulfilling the stated requirements and then take it back for professional production. They have the right inks and production tools to do the job right. Ask for a 10% over-run so you will have a few extras and a few to keep as keepsakes.
posted by Old Geezer at 9:13 PM on March 11, 2010

You can add textile medium to any acrylic paint to make it into fabric paint that just needs to be heat set (iron over it once it's dry). I've used this to stencil onto fabric before, it turns out really well. As for the actual stencils, I've had success using plastic binder dividers (something like this), they're thin enough to easily cut with scissors or an Exacto knife, but thick enough that they don't flop around too much. Also, spray stencils lightly with repositionable spray adhesive and press all edges down onto the fabric well to make sure paint doesn't bleed under.
posted by illenion at 9:18 PM on March 11, 2010

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