How to Choose the Best Stencil Material for Decorating

What painting technique will you use for your project?

14 mil, 10 mil,  7.5 mil Rolling, brushing applications. Indoor uses. All vertical surfaces and most horizontal surfaces, Great for fine detail
7.5 mil adhesive Industrial surfaces for precision painting. Sticks to drums, pipes, buckets. Reusable. Spray or roll.


How thick is our material?

4 mil 0.10 mm

0.004 in

7 mil 0.18 mm

0.007 in

6 mil 0.16 mm

0.006 in

7.5 mil 0.19 mm

0.0075 in

10 mil 0.26 mm

0.01 in

14 mil 0.36 mm

0.014 in

Not sure what material to choose from? Get a material sample pack

Mylar films:

Mylar is a great plastic film for decorative stenciling. It is cost effective. It is very tough. It does not stretch, so it can replicate images accurately and repeatably. The material is cleanable, tolerates common paint solvents and  can stand up to multiple uses. It is light so that it easy to manage and place. If our repositionable spray is used, it will adhere to walls and ceilings; it can also conform to  gently curved surfaces.  It is flexible and is shipped rolled up. Once unrolled it will relax and again become flat. While usable outside, mylar film, especially the lighter grades, are affected by wind. You can apply paint by brush, roller, or spray. We recommend low air flow with spray applications especially for the lighter film grades to reduce bleed.

We carry three grades of mylar. The thicker mylar is more durable but less flexible.  Our application recommendations balance those attibutes. 

Medium-Duty Mylar 14 mil Mylar= 0.014 inches (0.36 mm)

Uses: this is an extremely durable polyester plastic. It is durable enough to withstand heavy repeated use and multiple cleanings. 14 mil is ideal for use with sprays, paints and industrial inks. Most commonly used for DIY playground stencils in rolling applications. This material is not recommended for fine decorative applications when paint is being rolled on. It can still be used on vertical surfaces. It is not as flexible as the lighter mylar materials and should only be used on flat surfaces. 

Standard-Duty Mylar 10 mil = 0.010 inches (0.26 mm)
This is our most commonly used stencil material for indoor uses.  Can be used outdoors but will be impacted by wind.  Can be used on almost any surface. Uses: for projects that require moderate repeated-use and repeated cleaning of a stencil. The 10 mil stencil material can be used with brushes, rollers, inks and most paints and stains. It is a great material for super fine detail like our cookie stencils. When used with our our repositionable spray, it can will adhere to vertical surfaces and to gently curved surfaces. When using with spray applications we recommend using the repositionable spray and light air pressure so reduce bleed under the stencil.

A big advantage of 10 mil Mylar is its thinness. A mil is 1/1000th of an inch, so 10 mil is 10/1000th of an inch. For comparison, a business card is about 12 mil thick, so 10 mil Mylar is pretty thin. This is good for home décor stenciling. 10 mil Mylar is thick enough to provide a crisp stencil finish, but thin enough you won't have a paint "lip" after you remove the stencil. Or a stenciled design that is noticeably thicker than the surface you stenciled on. Our 10 mil Mylar stencils are of the highest quality, in a deceptively thin package.

Light Duty Mylar 7.5 mil = 0.0075 inches (0.19 mm)
Our 7.5 mil mylar is can be used much like the 10 mil but as it is thinner is slightly less durable.  

Adhesive-Backed Mylar Material 7.5 mil = 0.0075 inches (0.19 mm)
Adhesive-backed, 7.5 mil material, comes with a repositionable, medium-tack backing to secure your stencil in place. This durable, reusable, plastic material can be used on any painted surface, floor, sign, car, boat or craft project. The adhesive-backing assures that paint will not seep under the stencil design if you are using liquid paints, spray paints, inks or other mediums. Additionally, the medium-tack quality of this material will allow you to easily lift the stencil from the surface and reposition it securely onto your surface over and over again. See Tips on how to use this material