Mylar Properties: All grades of mylar are:
Which Mylar is best for cutting stencils?:
Tips for creating your own stencils:
1. Use the correct surface. when using a manual knife or Gyro cutter protect your table, I like using a self healing mat or you can use a cutting board from the kitchen. A cutting board also works for the heated cutter though you will likely get soe plastic residue on the the cutting surface so don't use your favorite kitchen board...I learned the hard way.
2. Tape or use our Repositionable Spray Adhesive to hold the stencil to keep it from moving during the cutting. If you are tracing a picture or printed lettering fix that first to the cutting surface and fix the stencil material over the picture.
3. Slowly and methodically cut the stencil along your pattern. You can lift up to insure that you have cut corners completely.
Why Mylar is the best material for stencilling?
Stenciling is a traditional yet still highly effective method for rendering lettering, graphics and artwork on surfaces. It allows those of us without the ability to draw to make professional and pleasing displays.
So the stencil material:
1. Must have openings cut precisely into it with available tools.
2. Must maintain those openings spatial relationships from the time it is cut until it is used.
3. Must not be impacted by the paint or material used to project the art.
4. Must be able to be cleaned or be a few use stencil.
5. Finally unless the stencil is being cut with a computer controlled machine, it needs to be transparent enough so that one can see contrast through it.
Paper stencils are problematic: The simplest and most common material is paper. While usable paper has some fatal flaws. While easy to cut,it is even easier to tear. While OK for large lettering, fine stencilling is not possible as the smaller breaks will tear. It if is not kept flat or rolled carefully it will fold or crinkle and lose its spatial integrity ( the art will not be in correct place.) It is hard to trace as it is generally too opaque. Unless it is coated it will absorb paint. Finally it is not cleanable.
Be wary of vinyl. People also try to use vinyl. It easy to cut, and it does stand up to paint. But it can stretch and tear fairly easily. Take great care when placing these stencils.
We recommend mylar. If you are cutting by hand or using an electric cutter 4 mil is easy to cut, it does not stretch or crinkle with reasonable care. It is still quite tough and can handle fairly fine detail. It is fairly transparent making it easy trace cut from a drawing or a picture. It can handle most paints and can even be carefully cleaned. 4 mil also can be molded around curved surfaces which is very handy.
The thicker grades of mylar 7, 10 and 14 mil increase in durability, but are tougher to cut. These require either a hot knife, a commercial grade cutter, or an laser cutter. They also become milkier is they are thicker and 14 mil is difficult to trace cut. The also become somewhat stiffer. We do not recommend 14 mil for rounded surfaces. However these stencils can be cleaned and with proper care can last for hundreds of uses.