I've been wanting to make a stencil for awhile. It probably began when I read the Obeygiant.com
website several months ago. I don't have any social experiments to do, and I'm not that street punk (as most of you probably know), but the whole stencil thing seemed fun.
So, I finally made one today. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be! I randomly came across a photo of Sophia Loren yesterday when I was looking at the IMDB that I thought might make a neat stencil.
So the picture from the IMDB was fairly ideal because it has enough contrast, shadows and light. So I pasted it into Photoshop and did my favorite thing to it -- adjusted the threshold to make it into a two-toned picture. (In Photoshop: Image/Adjustments/Threshold and then slide the bar up and down until you get contrast that looks right).
Here's what I came up with. I was going to cut out all the black parts on my stencil, so I had to make sure there were no isolated white islands anywhere (because if I cut out the black, the white islands would fall out, too), so I connected a few spots where there were white islands (you can tell -- I did it on those weird highlights on her hair).
I enlarged the picture because it's a teeny-tiny 72dpi picture, so of course, the enlargement was pixelated. I figured I could make up for it when I cut the picture out by cutting smoothly.
I printed this picture on cardstock. Then I used an exacto knife (on a kitchen cutting board) to cut out the black parts (I started with the less-important parts and saved the eyes for last, because I figured I could use a little practice before I did those.)
Here's my stencil all cut out (yep, AFTER I already used it). I used a brayer (one of those rolly rubber things you use for printmaking) and spread my black acrylic paint out on some aluminum foil and mixed in some water. (If you don't have a brayer, you could use a paintbrush, a sponge, spray paint, or anything else you can come up with).
I taped the stencil on a t-shirt and held my breath and started rolling paint over it, carefully trying not to bend those little parts that stick out on the stencil.
It took a bit of paint to get an evenish covering, and it might be better to make a stencil out of something less thick than cardstock... a transparency, maybe?
So here's a close up of how it turned out. I think it looks pretty cool! (Her eyes are still pretty pixelated, but I think it looks neat, anyway). It turned out pretty well, I'd say! Stencilling is definitely fun and pretty easy.
This is the placement of the stencil on the t-shirt. I put the black part over a stain. Hee.
If I wanted to be really punk rock, I would have put the stencil on the bottom corner of the shirt or something. But, as I already said, I'm not that street punk, and if I would have put it on the bottom corner, I would still have a shirt with a stain on it, right?