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Creating Stencils with your Printer

Stencils, stencils, stencils- such a simple concept and yet they function in so many different settings. There are stencils for children to trace, stencils to decorate our walls, stencils to quilt and sew with, and even stencils that help another permanently embellish our skin. The best part about stencils is that we can now get them so easily, and quite frequently with no cost associated. If you want to try creating your own stencils at home, keep reading.

First, you will need to get some stencil friendly paper. One of the best options is an inkjet friendly transparency paper. This is sturdy and waterproof, which makes for great stencil paper. You can buy it at a variety of discount and office supply stores. You will also need an small craft knife and a safe surface to cut on.

Next you will have to find a stencil pattern that fits your needs. This is most easily done by searching the hundreds or thousands of free patterns available online. These can be found relatively easy by performing a simple internet search, such as a Google search for "stencil pattern." You can also use clip art, which is available via the internet and your word processing software. Locate the library of images in Microsoft Word 2007, but locating the "insert" tab, then "clip art." These simple images can often be easily cut out and used for stenciling purposes. Also try searching coloring pages, which are another source of simple line drawings easily translated into stencil form. Television station websites will frequently have free coloring pages associated with their most popular cartoon characters. You can visit each site individually or perform an internet search for "free coloring pages." You may want to use something like a Google image search to accomplish this task.

Once you've selected a pattern you like save it to a location where you can easily find it again. Then, open your word processing software. Locate the "Insert" Tab, then select "picture," "from file." Recover and insert your image. You will have to use the corner of the adjustment box to resize the image until it is the size that you desire. You might consider trying a print preview in order to ensure everything falls within the printed borders. You may want to save this file now in case you need to access it again in the future.

Now, load your printer with the transparency film (or other stencil appropriate paper), ensuring that it is loaded properly so the image will be printed on the correct surface, and make sure that you have plenty of printer ink. When it has been printed and given time to dry fully, use the craft knife to carefully remove the portions that are meant to be painted or traced. Keep in mind this should only be done by adults.

You can now use your stencil for a number of different projects. Whether you are painting the wall, helping a child, carving a pumpkin or attempting a new sewing project, you should feel a little more pride at having made your very own stencil.

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