Professional Stencils – What You Need to Know Before You Buy Them

There are countless stencils available online for you to buy.  However, stenciling is a permanent process, so you can’t just jump into it lightly.  Before you buy any stencils, you need to learn the basics – like what letter stencils are, what a number stencil is, what an alphabet stencil is, and how to choose the best stencil ink. 

You probably spent time playing with stencils when you were a kid.  However, if you want to use them around your home or business, stencils are no longer a toy.  The letter stencils, the number stencil, the alphabet stencil, or the stencil ink that you choose will all have a major impact on how your stenciling project turns out.  Pick the wrong ones, and you could end up with a major mess on your hands.

Some stencil projects simply cannot be done wrong.  For example, there are federal specification stencils that have to be done a certain way – or else you can face penalties.  Places like handicapped parking spaces, arrows and warnings painted on roads, fire lanes, and no parking zones all have very specific guidelines that need to be followed before you start stenciling.

So, let’s go over the stenciling basics:

  • Letter stencils come as just that – individual letters.  Most letter stencils are made out of oilboard, which is a thick oil-treated tagboard.  Oilboard is a durable material that can be used time and time again.
  • A number stencil is similar to a letter stencil – only is comes as an individual number instead of a letter.  When you buy a basic number stencil, it will likely be made out of oilboard. 
  • An alphabet stencil is more diverse than a number stencil or basic letter stencils.  With an alphabet stencil, you get a bigger stencil that has every letter and number carved into it.  That was you can avoid buying a bunch of number or letter stencils.  If you just need a basic font, an alphabet stencil is also a cheaper alternative to ordering a custom stencil.
  • Stencil ink comes in practically any color, and how you apply it depends on the project you’re doing.  If you need to stencil something non-porous, like a sidewalk, painted wall, steel drum, you will need to find special stencil ink that’s designed specifically for non-absorbent surfaces.

Once you decide on a type, you can either buy stencil ink in a bottle – that’s applied with a roller – or stencil ink that comes in a spray can.  Whichever you choose is up to you.  And, luckily, most stencil ink is designed to be completely dry in 10-15 minutes.