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cutout device of oiled or shellacked tough and resistant paper, thin metal, or other material used in applying paint, dye, or ink to reproduce its design or lettering upon a surface. Designing an art stencil differs from ordinary drawing, since the design itself must be cut away, and ties must be arranged to hold the background together and to give definition to the pattern, somewhat in the manner of lines in mosaic or leaded glass. In a repeating border or design, registers are cut to coincide with some small detail or dot to enable the user to place the stencil accurately for each repetition. It is held securely upon the surface, while the stencil brush (with square-cut stiff bristles) is manipulated to work the medium over it (in a circular movement for fabrics) until every detail is evenly colored. The technique has been employed since ancient times for the decoration of walls and ceilings, pottery, furniture, textiles, leather, and small objects. It is also used in mimeographing, addressing, and lettering cases or cartons for shipping. The Chinese and Japanese employ a tough mulberry paper, making intricate stencils that are collected for their beauty. The silk-screen stencil, an innovation in silk-screen printingsilk-screen printing,
multiple printing technique, also known as serigraphy, involving the use of stencils to transfer the design. Paint is applied to a silk or nylon screen and penetrates areas of the screen not blocked by the stencil.
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, is used for posters, wallpapers and textiles. In handwork, silk fabric is stretched on a frame and then coated with glue or other impervious material; a stencil paste, rubbed on with a squeegee, passes through the uncoated portions. The method has been adapted by artists to make prints known as serigraphs.


See A. Bishop and C. Lord, The Art of Decorative Stenciling (rev. ed. 1985); L. LeGrice, The Art of Stenciling (1987).



a thin, flat rectangular plate in addressing machines used for the repeated printing of short addresses from texts of not more than 200 characters (for example, mailing lists and order forms).

Depending on the type of printing, distinctions are made between letterpress stencils made from metal or plastic and having punched-out letters, hectographic stencils made from art paper, and stencils made from a thin fabric coated with a waxlike substance. The last two types of stencils are held in plastic frames. There are projections or color indicators at the edges of stencils to enable rapid manual or automated retrieval. The application of a text on metal or plastic stencils is carried out by the stamping mechanism of the addressing machine. The text on a stencil for hectographic or stenciling addressing machines is typewritten.


Alferov, A. V., I. S. Reznik, and V. G. Shorin. Orgatekhnika. Moscow, 1973.



(graphic arts)
A template with either mechanically or hand cut openings.
A metal foil with openings made by chemically etching, laser cutting, or electroforming processes.
References in periodicals archive ?
Goodrich became familiar with hand-coloring stencils when she obtained a job doing piece work for publishers.
Shavata has devised a set of stencils that make copying four definitive famous eyebrow shapes a piece of cake.
When you come to use the stencil, make sure it is held securely in position.
Tape the stencil to the wall and fill it in using the stenciling brush.
Remember that while you do want to stencil cabinets, sneakers, and bookshelves, you should probably stay away from the dog and children.
Once you decide on the design of the stencil, you must find a shop or firm that can produce sturdy, durable stencils.
Smart-Release reduces the spread of solder paste under the stencil even when the stencil is not making good contact to the PCB pad.
The process gas, the laser focus position, and the process gas pressure all affect the weld penetration depth and hence the durability of the entire stencil.
Glassware to be etched, Rubbing Alcohol, Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream, Stencil Tape or Painter's Tape, Foam Cutting Board and X-Acto Knife, Adhesive Stencil Film or Contact Paper, design of choice
Stencil design becomes a formidable issue as the engineer tries to accommodate the miniaturized components.
The Stencil Library in Stocksfield has been a hit worldwide since opening 22 years ago by Helen Morris and her partner Michael Chippendale, with its designs used in a variety of interior design locations, including the set of Hollywood blockbuster Oceans 13.