Step 1: Sketch It!
Choose the word or phrase you would like to make a stencil of, and start sketching. Try to avoid letters such as o's, a's, e's, etc... since these letters have a counter (internal space) and you will have to include a gap in the letter. I decided to go with the word "Word", I like to say it and the letters are interesting and vary greatly. I wanted it to have a classic feel but also a modern, hip look so I sketched it out with loopy curves and a slightly upwards angle. It also has an "o" and a "d", so you can see an example of how to solve the problems these letters create for stencils.
Step 2: Cut It!
Use an xacto knife with a fresh blade to cut the letters out. If you have a very detailed stencil, begin with the details and work from the center out. This will help the paper keep it's strength. When cutting the stencil also be careful of the direction you cut. I tend to cut into points, for example, if you are cutting a V shape I would start at the upper left and cut down to the lower right ( \ ), then cut from the upper right, down to the lower left ( / ). Once you have your stencil cut, place it on a dark background to see if there are any stay pieces of paper or any areas that need extra cutting.
Step 3: Use it!
Use flat spray paint since it doesn't drip as much as glossy and stencil it on canvas, shirts, whatever.
Hope you enjoyed this quick little tutorial and come see this stencil on some shirts for the T-Shirt Art show at 229 Hogan this Wednesday from 5-9 for Artwalk.