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How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut

Here are lots of tips for how to use stencil film with cutting machines like a Silhouette, Cricut, or Brother!

Get perfect, crisp lines on your next painting project!

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

[Many thanks to The Hungry JPEG for sponsoring today’s fun! All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support WTSHB!]

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut

Some of my favorite things to make with my beloved Silhouette Cameo are signs!

They’re great for the holidays, as home decor, make sweet personalized gifts and keepsakes, and are just so darn addicting to get crafty with.

I’ve used a variety of different materials to cut my stencils out of (’cause lord knows I can’t paint anything by hand), and today I’m sharing some some tips for using stencil film!

My Go-To Stencil Film for Making Signs

I’m in love with my Silhouette Cameo, and I’ve used lots of different materials to make stencils for painting projects as well as glass etching:

There are a multitude of products out there specifically designed for making stencils, such as these sheets, but my all-time favorite thing to use, especially with wood projects, is Oramask 813 stencil film!

Here are some projects that I’ve made with this stencil film:

This stencil film knocks my crafty socks off because:

  • A roll lasts forever!
  • It’s much more cost effective than vinyl and doesn’t cause frustration like contact paper can.
  • It cuts like butter, even tiny, intricate pieces.
  • Weeding is a breeze:
    • Cut lines are easy to see, and it’s not super sticky like vinyl or contact paper so it doesn’t pull or stick to itself.
  • It’s {sort of} repositionable, which is great for getting perfect placement.
  • It’s translucent, which makes it easy to see if the seal is good around the edges and helps ensure nice, crisp painted lines.
  • It’s just sticky enough:
    • Not too much, not too little…just right.
    • Sticky enough to create a nice seal for painting, but not too sticky (like vinyl) that it can peel up other parts when removing the stencil.
  • Since it’s a film, it’s sturdy and the edges seal nicely.
  • It’s made by the same folks who bring us the high-quality Oracal vinyl, so you know it’s good stuff.Oh, and I am not affiliated with this company at all….I just love their products!

My Rustic Woodland Nursery Sign Designs

The sign that I’m using as an example in this stencil film tips post is actually one of a set of four that I made for my son’s nursery.

Yes, I’m ready to pop!

[Update: I DID pop! Mr. Brayden arrived in October.] :)

We’re going with a woodland nursery theme and a color scheme of navy, orange, gray, and some white.

Since I’d be hand-painting the orange and white elements onto some sanded and stained pine boards, I knew this stencil film would be perfect for the task, and once again, it didn’t let me down.

Here’s a mockup of all four woodland signs, and for this post, I’ll be using the ‘Run Wild’ moose one.

If you’d like all the nitty gritty details on the entire set of my rustic woodland signs from start to finish, check this out!

How to Make Rustic Woodland Signs | Where The Smiles Have Been

One of the many nice things about this stencil film is that you can make some really intricate cuts without the sometimes troublesome problems that can happen when using vinyl or contact paper.

Things like miscuts, incomplete cuts, pieces being pulled off/lost during cutting, weeding hassles, paint bleeding, etc. don’t often occur with this.

And since I’d be using this super cool script font called Casual Brush, I needed something that could handle intricate details.

So, without further ado, let the stencil film tips begin!

Stencil Film Tip #1: Use the Grids on the Back for Easy Sizing

The paper backing of stencil film features some handy grid lines that make cutting off a correctly-sized piece a breeze.

Just like getting lucky with those rolls of wrapping paper that have grids on the back, it’s like someone out there was thinking of you from far away.

Hooray for straight cut lines by hand and no wasted pieces!

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #2: Load the Stencil Film Onto the Cutting Mat Face Up

I always cut my stencil film using the Silhouette‘s cutting mat (but I’m sure you could try it without), and it gets loaded FACE UP, just like vinyl.

No need to flip or mirror your image like you do with HTV.

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Oh, and here’s an extra non-stencil film related tip for ya:

Keep your cutting mat from slipping and sliding on large cuts by putting some heavy items on either side near the machine, at the front and/or back.

I’ve used paint sample jars, spray paint, and canned goods.

They all work like a charm!

Stencil Film Tip #3: Create Your Own User-Defined Cut Setting

I use this stuff so often that I decided to just go ahead and create my own default cut setting.

Now I don’t have to go back and look at all my previous tutorials to remember the specifics. ;)

Do a test cut first to determine your cut settings, then once you’re happy, create your own User-Defined option.

In Silhouette Studio, just click the little plus sign under the Material Type box, name your material (I used the highly creative name of ‘Oramask 813’), finalize your numbers, then bam!

It’s all saved and you’re good to go for next time.

These are the cut settings that usually work like a charm for me.

Remember, you just want the blue stencil film to be cut, NOT the white paper backing along with it.

  • Blade: 1
  • Speed: 5
  • Thickness: 10
Silhouette Studio Cut Settings for Oramask 813 Stencil Film | Where The Smiles Have Been

Stencil Film Tip #4: Peel the Mat Off the Stencil Film, Not Vice Versa

To get my cut stencil off the cutting mat, I find it’s easier to flip the whole thing over, then peel the mat up and away from the stencil film.

Just like with vinyl, when you try to do it the opposite way (pull the material up off the mat), it can cause some problems and also result in your material rolling up and being a real pain to flatten out again.

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #5: Keep Those Scraps!

You never know how big or small a future project will be, so keep those stencil film scraps!

I like to keep my smaller ones in my scraps organizer

The BEST Way to Organize Vinyl Scraps Plus FREE Cut Files! Whether you have a Silhouette, Cricut, Brother, or another die-cutter, this tool can help you get organized AND save you money! Via Where The Smiles Have Been

…and my larger scraps in my big vinyl organizer.

They both work great for storing all of my fun flat Silhouette supplies!

Easy Vinyl Storage Organization & TWO Free Cut Files!

Stencil Film Tip #6: Weeding is a Breeze, But a Little Help Never Hurts

Since this stencil film cuts like a dream and the cut lines are so easy to see, weeding is usually super easy and frustration-free.

However, I like to use my trusty craft tweezers to help out with the teeny tiny bits.

They are useful for not only grabbing and removing the small parts that need to go, but also making sure those small parts that need to stay put don’t go anywhere either.

There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve weeded too much and have to go searching through your wadded-up ball of rejects looking for a tiny dot or line! #beentheredonethat

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #7: Clear, Light-Tack Transfer Tape is Your Friend

Just like I have a favorite stencil material, I also have a favorite transfer tape.

This clear transfer tape is like the stencil film: just sticky enough.

If any parts of the design are being stubborn and don’t want to budge, all it takes is a little encouragement from my tweezers, scraper, or even my finger nail and the material releases onto or off of the tape.

And since it’s clear, it’s also really easy to see the final placement of your stencil on the surface before actually applying it.

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #8: Apply the Stencil Using the Hinge Method

I always employ the fail-proof application method known as the hinge method.

You can read more about it here, but you basically position your stencil with the paper backing still in place.

Then you add a strip of tape across the middle to act as your “hinge,” peel up the transfer tape and stencil on one side, cut away the paper backing, then apply the stencil to your item working from the “hinge” down.

Then you repeat the process for the other side so your entire stencil is now applied to your project’s surface.

A straight and even application is almost guaranteed!

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #9: The Translucent Blue Coloring is a Big Help

Since this stencil film is translucent, you can easily see any spots that need a bit more loving once applied.

I usually look for any lighter blue areas, especially around the edges or small pieces, and hit those up with some extra scraping.

This helps to ensure everything is stuck on there nice and good in order to get those crisp paint lines.

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #10: Use Matte Paint and/or Remove Stencil Quickly

I’ve used this stencil film with both spray paint and hand-painted designs and it’s worked great with both methods.

Also, sanded wood of course gets crisper lines than rough pallet or unsanded wood.

I have noticed, though, that matte paint works better than glossy.

With glossy paint, if you let it dry completely before removing the stencil, the edges can sometimes start to pull up and tear with the stencil…which means so long crisp lines.

Whomp, whomp.

Therefore, I would suggest either using matte paint or, if using glossy, remove the stencil before the paint starts to dry.

So work fast!

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #11: Caution! Wet Paint!

Like I just mentioned, it’s best to remove the stencil film when the paint is still wet so the lines stay nice and crisp.

Just make sure you pay attention to the wet paint!

Be mindful to not get any wet paint on your hands or allow the wet stencil to touch other parts of your design.

A smudged, messed up paint job is the pits, for sure.

How to Use Stencil Film with Cutting Machines like a Silhouette or Cricut!

Stencil Film Tip #12: It Does Not Play Nicely With Wood Filler

I recently accidentally discovered that stencil film (and probably vinyl) does not play nicely with wood filler.

Nope, when removing the stencil film, it pulls up the wood filler along with it and results in a big fat CRAFT FAIL!

Craft FAIL!

Luckily, a redo of this ‘Creativity Takes Courage’ sign sans wood filler worked great though!

This is SUCH a cute, happy sign! Colorful 'Creativity Takes Courage' Sign + FREE Cut File! Where The Smiles Have Been

The Final Painted Sign Using Stencil Film

And here’s how my first woodland sign painting with stencil film turned out!

Pretty perfect, huh?

You can see all the details about the entire set of DIY rustic woodland nursery signs too.

I told you this stencil film was quite amazing!

Rustic Woodland Animal Nursery Sign | Where The Smiles Have Been
Rustic Woodland Animal Nursery Sign | Where The Smiles Have Been
Rustic Woodland Animal Nursery Sign | Where The Smiles Have Been

Here’s how all four signs look hanging in my son’s modern woodland nursery.

We just love them!

The Super Easy Way to Add Legs to an IKEA Kallax Shelf | Where The Smiles Have Been
The Super Easy Way to Add Legs to an IKEA Kallax Shelf | Where The Smiles Have Been

To Wrap Things Up…

In summary (because this post isn’t already long enough, ha!), here’s a condensed version of my tips for using stencil film with cutting machines to make painted signs:

  1. Use the lines on the back as guides when trimming the roll to size
  2. It cuts great on cutting mat (but you could try cutting without a mat), and remember to load it face UP
  3. If using this stencil film frequently, set up and save your own user-defined cut settings in your cutting program
  4. Remove cut stencil from cutting mat by flipping over and peeling the mat OFF the stencil film, not the other way around
  5. Save those scraps!
  6. Craft tweezers are great for weeding tiny little bits, and for helping keep small cuts in place while peeling away transfer tape (I’m looking at you, dotted i’s!)
  7. Light-tack clear transfer tape is stencil film’s BFF
  8. Apply stencil using the hinge method
  9. Use the blue translucent coloring as an indicator for areas that need more scraping/sealing onto your surface
  10. Matte paint tends to work best, but if you’re using glossy paint, don’t let it dry completely
  11. Very easy to remove, just watch out for wet paint smudges
  12. Do not use stencil film on surfaces that have wood filler applied

What a fun craft supply to get your DIY on!

If You Enjoyed This…

Make sure you check out my Project Gallery to see all of my other crafty creations, easy home improvement projects, and freebies, including more Silhouette tutorials!

FREE Silhouette Cut Files at Where The Smiles Have Been!
Pretty Foaming Soap Dispensers with Etched Glass Vinyl + FREE Silhouette & SVG Cut Files! | #Silhouette #Cricut #soapdispenser #freecutfile
Here are 25 creative DIY kitchen vinyl ideas that are pretty AND practical! Whether it’s vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, printable vinyl, or even car wrap vinyl, you don’t want to miss these inspiring ideas (lots include FREE cut files, too)! | Where The Smiles Have Been #vinyl #kitchen #home #homeimprovement #organization #Silhouette #Cricut #freecutfile #heattransfervinyl #HTV
Learn all about how to use printable HTV! This is so handy! Printable Heat Transfer Vinyl 101 + HUGE Font & Graphic Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.


Monday 4th of March 2019

Hello, I would like to know if the stencil film can be used in silk screen printing too. Thanks


Monday 14th of January 2019

Thank you so much for the cut settings for the Oramask 813 stencil material. My first attempt at cutting didn't work at all - my Cameo chewed it up and it got all caught up in the cutter. Then I googled "optimal settings for Silhouette Cameo and Oramask 813 stencil material" and your blog post came up. I used your settings and it cut perfectly. Now I just have to transfer the stencil to my sign. Will post pic of finished sign once it's completed.

Jill G.

Thursday 21st of June 2018

Love the signs! I am curious if you have an SVG file available? Thanks!


Thursday 31st of May 2018

I love this post! I purchased the Oromask 813 after reading this but I am having trouble with weeding it. You make it sound like it should be super easy but it just doesn't pull up easily for me. I even tried a double cut which helped a little I guess but its still really tough. What am I doing wrong? It's a brand new machine so it can't be a dull blade. Any tips?


Friday 1st of June 2018

Hi Alisha! So sorry to hear you're having troubles! My cuts are usually very easy to weed with the Oramask 813. Sometimes they'll stick a little at corners or sharp angles, but a little tug is all it takes to loosen them up. Have you tried upping the blade depth? That's usually what I do when I have weeding problems. Good luck!


Wednesday 21st of March 2018

Hello, I'm looking into getting the Silhouette Cameo machine that you recommended. My question is do you have the original Cameo, or do you have the Cameo 3. you have them both linked throughout your blog, so just wondering which is better in your opinion. Thank you for your blog, it's excellent!