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Tyvek® Stencils

Want to create your own stencils?

For stencils, one material that is easy to use and a snap to cut is Tyvek®. Tyvek® is a synthetic material originally produced by DuPont. It is a non-toxic plastic which textile artists have embraced. When heated it curls and produces bubbles and holes which are fascinating. However, we won't get sidetracked on that!

Tyvek is available as a paper and as a fabric. To make stencils, it is best to use the paper version. The paper version is firmer and more like regular paper. One source for tyvek paper is tyvek envelopes, found at office supply stores or online. Or, you can prowl the residential constructions sites for discards.

Another plus for this material is that it is reusable and wipeable. Just do not iron it!

Tyvek paper can be run through an ink jet printer, but I find it easier to print my stencil and then transfer the drawing to the tyvek using graphite transfer paper.

The first step is to draw the image you would like as a stencil. Remember to have connections so the stencil will stay together as one piece.

This photo is of a towel I used for the design of my stencil. I photocopied the towel and used that copy to trace my stencil. Once drawn I cut it out. Tyvek is easily cut with an exacto knife on a cutting board. Below is the stencil after cutting.

One of the best things about making your own stencils is that you will most likely end up with a mask from the cutout that can be used as well.

Or the cut out bits can be used to create a mask that is a different look with a different layout. I've shown a layout for using the cutouts from my towel design stencil above.

Below are a few other stencils I've cut out.

And finally a photo of a monoprint on which I used one of my stencils.

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