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DIY Reusable Stencils with Silhouette (The I-Bet-You-Didn't-Think-Of-That Technique)

I get asked weekly (at least) what the best reusable stencil material is to cut with Silhouette.  I'm gonna be honest, I'm always kind of  "".  Well, my friends, I'm pretty stinkin' sure I just found it in the most unlikely spot!

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

So a few weeks back I cutting some laminated pieces with my Silhouette...when I made what I'm considering the discovery of the year. After I cut the laminated pieces out I was left with a nice piece of lamination material with some perfectly cut shapes in it...and hello, lightbulb moment!!!

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

I could have have just thrown that piece of scrap out, but instead I did the next most logical thing ever...I added some adhesive to the back, got my paint out and proved myself right.  Indeed, cutting laminated sheet as stencils with Silhouette was straight genius. The laminated sheets are the perfect combination of not too thick, not too thin, not too flimsy without being too rigid, waterproof, see-through, and inexpensive. (The laminator was $22 and the 100 pack of laminator sleeves is $14....that's a lot of stencils!) 

So, here's how you're going to make reusable stencils with your Silhouette.

First you're going to get yourself one of these cheapo laminator machines. I got the AmazonBasics Laminator because as I said to my assistant, Ashlee, who thought laminators were much more expensive...

Of course now that I have a laminator I'm finding every excuse in the book to use it in combination with my Silhouette (I've already made bookmarks, luggage tags, planner inserts) and this little DIY stencil bit is just the latest.

I discovered this crafting hack while making some laminated paper pieces, but to make the stencils we're not even going to laminate anything. You're simply going to put the laminating sleeve through the laminator empty.  This will, of course, seal the two sides together making a nice rigid, but not too thick sheet.

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Then you're going to prepare to cut that sheet with your Silhouette.

Open up Silhouette Studio and find the design from your library you want to turn into a stencil.  Size it and make sure it's on the virtual cutting mat in the same area where the laminated sheet is on your mat.

Open the Cut Settings tool (right) and from the material list pick "Clear Sticker Material." The defaults here work great with the laminating material, too.  Blade on 3, Speed 4, Thickness 33, Double cut.

Don't forget to change your actual blade, load your mat and then 'Send to Silhouette."

Cuts like a dream, right?

Okay now you have a nice stencil...but there's one more step that's really going to blow your mind.  This is optional, but oh so helpful: run the stencil through the Xyron sticky machine to put an adhesive on the back.  You could also spray the back of the stencil with repositionable adhesive spray or just leave it without any type of adhesive. The adhesive just helps keep it in position while you're painting.

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils, xyron sticky machine

Now you're ready to place the stencil and paint.  You could put it on a shirt and use fabric paint or on a piece of wood or canvas or even the wall! 

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

When painting with a stencil, I always recommend blotting on the paint with a foam brush rather than making strokes which can push the paint under the edge of the stencil and cause paint bleed.

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

When you're finished painting simply peel up the stencil...and admire those crisp paint lines!

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

Use a damp paper towel to wipe the excess paint off the stencil and you can use it again and again.

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

I mean..I'm pretty proud of myself for that one!  Is that not the best way to make reusable stencils with Silhouette...ever?

do it yourself, DIY, Silhouette Cameo, reusable stencils

One final tip, when the adhesive on the back of the stencil isn't working to hold your stencil in place anymore, just run it through the Xyron again or hit it with some more spray adhesive.

And here's a look at how I used a laminated sleeve as a re-usable stencil for fabric paint.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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