After the design has been completed, it should be traced upon thin drawing paper or tracing paper. The stencil paper from which the stencil is to be made should be enough larger than the design to protect the material to be stenciled. When transferring designs to stencil paper, a sheet of carbon paper is placed face down between the tracing paper and the stencil paper. These papers should be secured to a drawing board with thumb tacks to prevent their becoming disarranged. Draw over the lines of the tracing with a hard pencil or any sharp pointed instrument; use enough pressure in tracing to insure a very clear line upon the stencil paper.
Before commencing to cut the stencil, go over the design and fill in roughly all of the parts that are to be cut. This will prevent the mistake of cutting the wrong space.
The knife used in cutting stencil must have a very sharp point, and this must be kept sharp through the whole process of cutting. If it is allowed to get dull, it will tear or drag the paper and thus spoil the clear-cut, sharp line necessary for a successful stencil. The stencil paper should be laid on glass and held firmly with the left hand. The knife should be held at an angle of about 45 degrees with the paper, and the forefinger pressed constantly upon the back of the blade. When cutting, the paper should be moved in such a way that the knife will always be drawn toward the cutter. The more the paper is moved in the cutting, the better the result will be. The glass will blunt the knife. Have an oilstone at hand, use frequently, and this difficulty is soon overcome. A sharp knife is the secret of a good stencil.
In cutting straight lines, do not use a straight edge to guide the knife, but cut it freehand and it will harmonize better with the rest of the stencil.
It is best to stop cutting before coming to the end of a curved line; then turn the paper around and start cutting back. This will prevent cutting too far, and possible destroying a tie.
When cutting small circles, a punch may be used. When using the punch, place the stencil paper over a lead block, and strike the punch a smart blow with a hammer.
When there are many curves of the same size in the design, a carving tool or gauge may be used in the same manner as the punch.
When cutting a large stencil, commence by cutting all of the small details first. This work is more difficult when the adjacent large areas have been cut out first, on account of the weakness resulting from the cutting out of the large areas.
The stencil brush is of great importance and should be selected with care. The round stencil brush with a broad, flat end is used for the broader or coarser work. This brush is made of hog's hair. The bristles must be short and held very close together; if they are too long they can be shorted by tightly binding them around with adhesive tape. The ends of the stencil brush must be flat in order to use the stippling or light-pounding movement when applying the color.
For the finer or more delicate work, the common bristle brush, such as artists use for oil-painting may be used if the bristles are cut off short and the brush made flat on the end.
A soft or pointed brush is not satisfactory for stenciling.
Stenciling is becoming more popular every day. It is so effective for so many uses, and is really quite an inexpensive trimming, if one doesn't not attach too great a value to his time. Not only walls, but curtains and pillows, are very attractive when stenciled. It is an art which is quite easily learned too. There is scarcely a school in the country furnishing a complete art course which does not dwell particularly on the art of stenciling. If one is decidedly artistic, although is does not require a great amount of art, it is easy to design his own patterns, and furnishes pleasant pastime.
--From The Home published in 1923 as a supplement by Womens Weekly.
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