6 MUST haves for stenciling wood signs
See the top 6 MUST haves for stenciling wood signs using your vinyl cutting machine
Sign painting can be super frustrating when you’re first starting out. Seriously, I’ve been there. I’ve been in the place where you feel like you’ve done everything right only to have your paint bleed under your stencil. Or have your background paint color peel up when you peel your stencil off your wood base. IT SUCKS!
Thousands of painted signs later I feel like I’m somewhat of a pro 😉 and I want to share my top 6 sign painting must haves with you.
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What must haves do you need to paint stenciled wood signs?
1. CUTTING MACHINE
I personally have always used a Cricut cutting machine. I have heard great things about other craft cutters but will probably be a Cricut girl for life. For me the software is easy to use, even my preteen daughters use it effortlessly. This is what I use to cut all of my stencils out with.
2. STENCIL FILM- ORAMASK STENCIL FILM
When I first started making signs I tried everything BUT stencil film because I was trying to save as much money as possible while learning what I thought would be just a hobby. What I didn’t realize was that I was actually WASTING money by not using the proper material made just for stenciling. So many projects and materials ruined. While shelf liner can work sometimes a lot of the time it didn’t work without error for me. I finally took my husband’s advice and bought the good stuff. Boy was he right about that, and I’m not afraid to admit he was right because buying oramask stencil film has made my business a success!
3. TRANSFER TAPE
I am in several craft groups online and read lots of posts about how others are having a difficult time getting their stencils to stay on their wood base. A lot of the time this can be fixed if you are using the right type of transfer tape. I have used MANY different types and now have my favorite go to’s. If you are using oramask stencil film you will need a MEDIUM TACK TRANSFER TAPE. If your transfer tape is too strong it won’t easily release the stencil film when you’re trying to apply it to your wood base. And if your transfer tape isn’t strong enough it will have a hard time picking the stencil film up off of its paper backing. Again, I used to use shelf liner, the clear kind for this, but it didn’t always want to work depending on the design I was doing. Granted I will still use this if I’m in a bind and run out of the good stuff, but that’s only if I’m desperate OR if I have an easy design I’m transferring.
4. XACTO KNIFE
I use an xacto knife several different times during my sign painting process. I use an xacto knife to weed my designs and remove pockets of air or to smooth out an unruly area in the stencil film. This is what I use to take out the middle pieces and to peel up my design. And I use it to fix any oops spots once the stencil is removed. This little tool is SO HANDY and is really inexpensive.
5. VINYL SQUEEGEE
I tried to find other things at home that I could use instead of a true vinyl squeegee but none came close to using this. They actually aren’t very expensive at all. I have bucket full of these and I think they were worth every penny. They much thicker than any store rewards or a bank card could ever be. If you’ve ever used one of those you know that with use the right pressure they can and will break. Order a couple of vinyl squeegees and see the difference, they are a dream for stenciling wood signs!
And finally the most overlooked but so important must have for successful sign painting…
6. MOD PODGE
This will help you to create the signs of your dreams! Matte finish mod podge has been my saving grace when painting wood signs. I am a mom of 4 little girls, I don’t have time to cosmetic sponge layer after layer after layer onto the signs I make for my customers. While this technique works if you only had a handful of signs to make, this is not a practical or business savvy way to paint wood signs. Dabbing paint on like that takes FOR-EV-ER. Instead I use matte finish mod podge to seal my signs from paint bleed and I have not regretted it since!
I hope these tips help you with your sign painting adventure. If you have any questions please feel free to ask away. If you want to really deep dive into the world of sign painting click here.