Stenciling is an often overlooked medium in the art world, however, it remains one of the most effective ways to construct clean, well-defined patterns, letters or lines.
In recent years, high profile street artists such as Banksy have been known to use stencil work in some of their pieces, so although it this piece of kit is often a common fixture in the classroom or office, it does have more potential than you might think.
Stencils have been used since Neolithic times and some of the earliest recorded works of art are thought to have been created by using rudimentary stencil type tools.
These days they are often used to create accurate lettering and well defined shapes. The materials used can vary and anything from durable plastic to thick cardboard can be utilized. Which type is the most appropriate will depend on what you will be using the stencils for.
This guide reviews the best stencils for various needs to help you make a choice.
- 1 What types of stencils are there?
- 2 These Are Picks for the Best Stencils in 2018
What types of stencils are there?
Many stencils are made from a perspex or plastic composite material that is similar to that which is used in rulers, protractors and other classroom equipment. This makes them very sturdy and hard wearing, they can also be flexible or shatterproof, which is a good idea when young children may be using them to create their art.
Other stencils are made from specially treated card that is designed for use with spray paints, acrylics or strong inks. Thinner material like this generally produces a more refined and detailed finish and is also less likely to pick up residual color from previous uses.
Some stencils are cut using machines or even lasers for additional accuracy whereas others are hand crafted to certain specifications. In some cases, stencils can also be made out of food safe material that is non toxic and designed for use in the kitchen.
These Are Picks for the Best Stencils in 2018
Deco Art ASMM68-38 Americana Decor Stencil
Ideal for: All rounder, our No.1 choice
If you want to cover your walls, boxes, furniture or even your clothes with inspiring artwork, these laser cut, Americana Decor stencils are absolutely perfect. Rather than single letters and numbers, this 8 x 6 stencil comes with a selection of complete words that will convey a clear and positive message whenever you see them. Each word has been cut using slightly different fonts so you have a variety of styles to choose from.
Love, Dream, Wish, Be Happy and Hope are just some of the infectiously positive words that are included here. Those who are interested in craft projects such as card boxes, pictures or decorations for the home will love this design as this style of lettering is very fashionable at the moment.
Other designs are also available and sold separately. Each stencil with repeating patterns have special guide marks so you can join them up when using them, this a great feature that helps your finished work to look professional.
Whether you want to mark your journal with a positive, inspiring word to help you start the day the right way each morning or perhaps you have a small home business, creating handmade art, this is a great quality stencil that could be used for a variety of different purposes.
- Selection of fonts
- Inspiring words
- Laser cut
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Bullet Journal Stencils 4×7 Inch
Ideal for: Students
These small but stylish stencils are perfect for jazzing up bullet journals or for use with any other blank surface you choose.
At just 4 x7 inches, they are small enough to fit into a satchel or even a larger pencil case, so you can carry them around with you if you need to.
They can be used with brush pens, ballpoint pens, pencils or fine line markers as well other media, so whether you want to decorate the pages of your diary or perhaps add some solid looking lines and shapes to your artwork, you should be able to get some great some use from this product.
These stencils could also be a great gift idea for students, artists or those who like to add a touch of flair to their books and stationery. As they are compact and sturdy, they can fit inside the pages of books as a semi-permanent fixture or be used for art projects and although they may be a little small and simple for some users, they are ideal for beginners or casual users.
- Small and portable
- Great for use with journals
- Ideal for use with markers and ballpoint pens
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Art with a smile Drawing Stencil Kit for Kids
Ideal for: Kids
This 54 piece kit is a fantastic buy for those with children or perhaps people who work in schools or community centers.
Budding young artists will love the 14 large plastic drawing stencils that are included in this well-stocked package. There are over 280 different shapes that can be created from the durable plastic sheets so there is really no limit to the creative designs and patterns than can be made. In addition to the stencils themselves, you will receive 14 colored pencils, 22 sheets of paper, a pencil sharpener and even a handy carrying case so you can transport or store everything neatly. This a great little bonus feature for those with young children.
The stencils themselves measure 26 x 18 cm so they can be used on A4 pieces of paper and larger formats, too. They are sturdy but lightweight and the carrying case is constructed from waterproof fabric so there’s no need to worry about spills or getting caught in the rain. The plastic stencils are non-toxic and safe, which means they are suitable for use in schools or nurseries as well as in the home. Overall, though these are clearly designed for children rather than adults, this a great package that provides everything you need to keep the little ones busy for a rainy afternoon.
Though this is a product clearly aimed at children, there is no reason that it could not be used by artists, professionals, teachers or anybody else who needs a great selection of well-cut stencils. The reason this product has made it to our top spot is that it features so many different shapes and styles. This means if you are considering getting into stencil work, you could pick up this inexpensive pack and experiment until your heart’s content.
- Perfect for children
- Includes carrying case
- 280 different shapes
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Aerolatte Cappuccino Art Stencils
Ideal for: Very young children (food safe material)
If you are looking for something a little different, this set of specifically designed coffee stencils are a quirky, fun addition to your collection. Aerolatte have been around for two decades as manufacturers of coffee and hot chocolate accessories but this latest addition to their range is ideal for baristas with artistic flair.
Unlike most art stencils, these are made from food-safe material so could be great to use with children on things like milkshakes or smoothies. Though not recommended for serious artists, if you are an avid stencil collector or just want to jazz up your morning coffee, they are a fun way to combine food and art.
This set contains 6 designs including swirls, stars, snowflakes and more. Though designed for use on hot beverages, primarily topped with hot milk, they can also be used to decorate cakes or other edible foodstuffs.
They are wipe-clean, dishwasher safe and designed to sit comfortably on top of any mug or other drinking vessel. If like many artists, you enjoy a cup of coffee before, after or even during your creative sessions, this set could be a great way to keep your creative juices flowing.
- Food Safe
- Six designs
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Deco Art Americana Decor Stencil, Old World Numbers
Ideal for: Street Art
If you need to mark books, documents or perhaps even craft projects with numbers, this set of old world style stencils offers you a practical and stylish solution. The classic, rounded shapes include numbers 0 to 9 and also have a large percentage sign, dollar sign, letter F and the abbreviation for numbers “no.” Though some other stencil sets do include numbers, this durable plastic piece has been specifically created so you can mark clear, large numbers on anything you like.
The manufacturers recommend using a chalky finish paint but it could also be used with pens, pencils, or any other media that you choose. At 12 inches by 12 inches, the laser cut, sharply defined stencil offers you a great way of placing numbers without having to draw them freehand.
- Numbers 0 to 9 plus a range of symbols
- Large and clear
- Laser cut
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