Stencil materials

In my last post I wrote about making my own stencils from my drawings. Today I wanted to share with you the stencil materials I use in my cutter.

I’ve really enjoying making stencils since I bought my Silhouette Portrait machine several years ago. Since then I’ve moved on to the Brother ScanNCut and continue to look for stencil materials. For those who have the ScanNCut I’ve posted the settings that work for me at the end of this article.

I started out using Grafix Dura-Lar, but felt it was too stiff. I also tried Grafix Craft Clear Plastic, similar to Dura-Lar. It will do in a pinch, but I don’t really like it except that it comes in 12 x 12 sheets.

My go-to stencil material is report covers. You can purchase these at the office supply store for $8 for 10 covers which makes 20 sheets or 40 cents a stencil. They are strong enough, but pliable. Then last week I found a another option at the office supply store: Avery 8 tab Insertable Style Edge Pocket plastic dividers ($8 or $1 a sheet) made of  “extra durable tear resistant plastic.” They are similar to the report covers, but even more sturdy. However, they are a bit pricey.

Lastly, I tried heavy duty 2-pocket plastic portfolios for 50 cents each or 25 cents a stencil. I found them at Office Depot in the school supplies. They came in all colors, but I thought white would work best. These are even heavier than the report covers or the tabs.

Here is the stencil made with the portfolio.

I like all three of these. The 2-pocket portfolios are the cheapest and the sturdiest, but they all work.

One of my favorite for fabric, when I’m looking for perfect and not in a hurry, is freezer paper. I use precut sheets, but you can also just buy a roll at the local grocery store and cut your own size.

For those of you who have a ScanNCut, here are my settings. Make sure you test on your machine before cutting out the design.

  • Grafix plastic sheets – Blade 5, Speed 1, Pressure 5
  • Report covers – Blade 5, Speed 1, Pressure 3
  • Plastic dividers – Blade 5, Speed 1, Pressure 3
  • Two-pocket portfolios – Blade 7, Speed 1, Pressure 7
  • Freezer paper – Blade 4, Speed 1, Pressure 1

If you don’t have a machine, you can cut these by hand, but the cutter sure makes it easier. I love being able to take my drawings and make stencils.

If you have a favorite material you use to cut stencils, I’d love to hear about it. Meanwhile, I’m off to Office Depot to pick up more of those two-pocket portfolios before they’re all gone!