Week 5 – DIY Stencils

Weekly DIY Idea: DIY Stencils

Weekly DIY Stencil

For this week’s DIY, we’re going to create stencils with this year’s Summer Reading Club artwork. This DIY takes a little extra precision and patience, but once you’re done you’ll have some custom SRC swag!

A Note on T-Shirt Transfers

Before, we go into the stencil making, you can also create your own Summer Reading Club t-shirts (hoodies, tote bags, etc.) by using characters from this year’s artwork to make your own t-shirt transfers. You will need to purchase t-shirt transfer paper such as one of these ones made by Avery that you can purchase online or pick up at a craft store. Download one of the designs below and follow the instructions of the transfer paper and look at the DIY tips on the Avery website. Also you may need to reverse the image or text to ensure that your transfer is the correct direction you desire.

Downloadable SRC Images for Stencils and T-Shirt Transfers

Select your characters and images you’d like to use for your design.

Cats Outline Image Full Colour Image
Chickens Outline Image Full Colour Image
Dogs Outline Image Full Colour Image
Fish Outline Image Full Colour Image
Hamsters Outline Image Full Colour Image
Mice Outline Image Full Colour Image
Raccoons Outline Image Full Colour Image
Turtles Outline Image Full Colour Image
Explore Our Universe Logo
*you’ll want to reverse the image if using a t-shirt transfer (but not for a stencil)
Outline Image Full Colour Image

SRC Stencils

So for this week, instead of making a t-shirt with transfer paper, I decided to make my own stencils to create a simple, yet bold SRC design. You;ll need the following supplies: pencil, marker, sharp fine tip exacto knife (with your grown-up’s permission!), scissors, print out of design you’d like to stencil, sticker paper or freezer paper, paint (I used acrylic), paintbrushes, and something you’d like to stencil on.

Stencil Supplies

You can download images (found in the above table) to use for your stencils. I selected the designs I was interested on stenciling and laid them out on Microsoft Word (you can also use whatever program you have) so I could get the maximum number of designs onto one sheet and I wouldn’t waste paper.

Stencils on Word

I printed my stencil directly onto sticker paper since I had some in the house. You can purchase sticker paper at your local office supply store or you can print off the design on regular paper and tape it onto a piece of freezer paper (the non-shiny side) to make a stencil. The tape will help prevent your design from sliding when you’re cutting it out. Follow these instructions from the Make website to make your design using freezer paper. You’ll need an iron when using freezer paper, so you may need to ask your grown up for help.

Since the artwork images have a lot of detail, it won’t be possible to stencil all of those little touches like whiskers or space ship buttons, etc. I wanted to focus on the shape of the spaceship and the cat shapes inside. To make it easier to cut my stencil out, I used a black marker to make certain thin lines thicker and to also black out the areas I was going to cut inside. Use your judgement on what areas you want to make easier to cut. You can also make it simpler by just cutting out the outline of the space ship.


Afterwards, use your exacto knife to cut your details. Remember to use a cutting mat or a piece of thick cardboard to prevent any damage to your table. Be patient. This part can be tricky and requires a bit of precision. You can also ask someone for help if you find it’s hard to cut around the smaller areas.

Once you’re done cutting the fine details inside, cut the spaceship shape out using scissors and be careful when cutting around the more delicate areas.

Once you’re finished, decide where to place your design and stick it down (or iron it). Make sure you don’t have any bubbles and it lays  flat. You’ll also want to add something below the layer like a piece of cardboard so the paint doesn’t seep through. I am using a cloth bag for my stencil, but you can use a t-shirt, cardboard box, bag, etc. There’s probably an old shirt you can revamp or a tote bag lying around. With this in mind I would also recommend making sure your surface is porous so the paint will absorb unlike a glossy box (as I learned the hard way >_<!).

I am using acrylic paint for my design, but you can also use fabric paint if you have it. I mixed up my paint colour of choice and began to colour in the space around and inside the stencil with my brush. A sponge brush works best, but you can use a regular paint brush as well. If using a darker fabric or item to stencil on, I would suggest using a lighter brighter colour like white.

Wait for your design to completely dry and then peel your stencil off. I added some extra details around (not too close to my stencil) while waiting for it to dry. You should probably wait until you peel the stencil to do this part.

You may have some spots that seeped or your lines might not be as crisp. Use a very thin brush to correct anything. Or leave it as is since it has an edgier distressed look :).

Add final touches like extra bits of flare to your stencil like stars. I used some puffy glitter paint and other paint.

Once you’re finished, you can throw your item in the dryer to secure the paint. And there you have it! The stencils are one time use, so make sure you’re making something special :).

And share your designs with us over here, so we can be sure to share them on our Instragram account!