How to: Making Stencil Masks From Stamped Images

I was on a stencil making frenzy the other day. I wanted to make stencils with my Silhouette Portrait out of some of my wood printing block and potato masher images. Since I love those  images, making stencils out of them would give me another way to use them. I’ve made stencils from photos and from drawings, but not from stamped images. This sounded like a challenge I was up for!

Wood block stencil mask
Wood block stencil mask

At first I was disappointed that they weren’t attached to the stenciling material. But when I started playing with them they worked out great. If you look at the two different wood block stencil masks you will notice that the top mask is in one piece. I was able to keep the design together by adding connecting lines in Photoshop Elements (PSE). The stencil mask at the bottom of the picture is two pieces because of no connecting lines. Also in that picture are several other stencil masks.

Then I took them for a test run on paper with spray inks.

Stencil masks with spray inks.
Stencil masks with spray inks

This was exciting because now I had more flexibility with that specific wood printing block. So I thought I’d post about the process from stamping on paper to stencil mask.

First I used black craft paint and stamped on white cardstock. I used my gelli print pad as a stamp pad.

Wood printing block stamped image

My next step was to get this image into my computer. I have a scanner on my printer which makes this easy and the reason I bought that particular printer.  However, I could have also taken a picture and uploaded it.

Since I am much more comfortable with PSE than the Silhoutte Studio Designer software, I brought the picture into PSE. I wanted to make sure it was black enough for the cutter and also to have a dark copy to have a thermofax screen made. More about that later.

I opened my scanned print into PSE. I went to Filter, Adjustments and then Threshold.

screenshot1a It started at a threshold of 128. If I moved the threshold higher, I’d get the blacker image that I wanted. screenshot1

I moved the Threshold to 238 which gave me a much blacker image which would mean a cleaner cut.


At this point I also magnified it and erased any stray marks and even added a little black here and there.

When I was happy with my image, I added connecting lines. See the first one below.


After adding five connecting lines, I saved the image as a jpg and opened it up in Silhouette Studio Designer Software. Of course, I could have opened the scan up in Silhouette Studio Designer Software and added the lines, and traced, but I also needed a dark image for a thermofax screen.

I love these new stencil masks. I played with them on fabric too, but that is for another day. Happy Monday!