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Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette

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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 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 I’ve picked up for using stencil film!

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette | Where The Smiles Have Been

[Many thanks to the awesome folks at The Hungry JPEG for sponsoring today’s fun!]


Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette


My Go-To Stencil Film

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: permanent vinyl, removable vinyl, Silhouette vinyl, contact paper, etc.

There are a multitude of products out there specifically designed for making stencils, such as this and this, 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 stuff:


This stencil film knocks my 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 with a Silhouette….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 pretty 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 Designs

The sign that I’m sharing in this post is actually one of a set of four that I made for my son’s nursery….yes, I’m about ready to pop!  [Update: I DID pop!  Mr. Brayden arrived in October. :)]

We’re going with a woodland theme and a color scheme of navy, orange, gray, and some white (and since it’s now only four weeks out from my due date, I guess I should probably finish the room already!).

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 signs, and for this post, I’ll be using the ‘Run Wild’ moose one.

Rustic Woodland Animal Nursery Signs | Where The Smiles Have Been


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


Let the Tips Begin!


Use the Grids on the Back for Easy Sizing

The paper backing of Oramask 813 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 also have grids, it’s like someone out there was thinking of you from far away.  Hooray for straight cut lines by hand and no wasted pieces!

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Load the Stencil Film Onto the Cutting Mat Face Up

I always cut my stencils 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.

{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, canned goods….they all work like a charm!}

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Do a Test Cut then Create Your Own User-Defined Cut Setting

I use this stuff so often that I decided to 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 Silhouette cut settings, then once you’re happy, create your own User-Defined option.  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 what usually works for me:

  • Blade: 1
  • Speed: 5
  • Thickness: 10

Silhouette Studio Cut Settings for Oramask 813 Stencil Film | Where The Smiles Have Been


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.  Just like with vinyl, when you try to do it the opposite way, it can cause some problems and also result in your material rolling up.

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Keep Those Scraps!

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

Easy Vinyl Storage Organization & TWO Free Cut Files!


Weeding is a Breeze, But a Little Help Never Hurts

Since this stuff 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

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Clear, Light-Tack Transfer Tape is Your Friend

Just like I have a favorite stencil material, I also have a favorite transfer tape to use with it.  This clear transfer tape is called high-tack, but it seems to actually be a low-tack in my opinion, which I prefer.  Like the stencil film, it’s 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 on your surface before actually applying it.

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


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 painter’s tape across the middle to act as your “hinge” (or in this particular case, I’m using some festive red and white striped washi tape), 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.

A straight and even application is almost guaranteed!

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


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 nice, crisp paint lines.

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Use Matte Paint or Remove Stencil Quickly

I’ve used this stencil film with both spray paint and hand-painted designs and it’s worked great for both methods (also, sanded wood of course gets crisper lines than rough pallet 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.

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

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


Caution!  Wet Paint!

Like I just mentioned, it’s best to remove the stencil when the paint is still wet so the lines stay nice and crisp.  Just make sure you pay attention and don’t 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.

Tips for Using Stencil Film with a Silhouette + Font Bundle Giveaway! | Where The Smiles Have Been


The Final Painted Sign

And here’s how my first woodland sign turned out!  Pretty perfect, huh?  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 up my son’s modern woodland nursery.  I just love them!


To Wrap Things Up….

In summary (because this post isn’t already long enough, ha!), here are my takeaways for using this magical stencil film:

  • Use lines on the back as guides when trimming to size off of roll
  • Cuts great on cutting mat, but you could probably try cutting without it
  • If using this material frequently, set up your own user-defined cut settings in Silhouette Studio
  • Keeps those scraps
  • Remove from cutting mat by flipping over and peeling the mat off the stencil film, not the other way around
  • Craft tweezers are great for weeding tiny little bits, and for helping keep small cuts in place while peeling away transfer tape
  • Light-tack clear transfer tape is its BFF
  • Use the blue translucent coloring as an indicator for areas that need more scraping/sealing
  • Works best with matte paint, but if you’re using glossy, don’t let it dry completely
  • Very easy to remove, just watch out for wet paint smudges
  • Can be used for painting on wood, canvas, automobiles, etc., and I’ve heard of using it with stain, air brushing, or even glass etching/sand blasting

Another bonus tip: I recently accidentally discovered that stencil film does not play nicely with wood filler.  It led to 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


If You Enjoyed This….

Make sure you check out my some of my other crafty creations, 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


How To Use the Text Tool in Silhouette Studio | Where The Smiles Have Been


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


The Hungry JPEG’s September Bundle Giveaway!

But wait, there’s more! :)  {It’s over now….sorry!}

The awesome folks at The Hungry JPEG are continuing their generosity and offering up another FREE bundle for a lucky reader!  For your chance to win The September Bundle, just complete as many entries in the giveaway widget below as you’d like.  Good luck and happy designing! :)

Giveaway for The September Bundle from The Hungry JPEG & Where The Smiles Have Been!


{This giveaway runs from today through Thursday, September 15th at 11:59p eastern.  Winner will be randomly chosen and have 48 hours to respond to email or another winner will be selected.}

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