Make Your Own Stencils [Quick & Easy]

Hi there! Looking to add some character to your mantel, or perhaps your antique booth? Farmhouse buntings can be a quick and easy way to accomplish this, but they’ll be even more unique if you decorate them with your own handmade stencil.

Using regular old plastic packaging, today I’m going to teach you how to make your own stencil! You can use it in a variety of ways, but I used mine to create a spring bunting. 

make your own stencil and spring buntingIt fits right in with my neutral mantel. [Read more about this Winter Mantel, and how I painted the vintage mirror and used an antique French door for the backdrop.]

Over the years, I’ve experimented with making stencils out of various materials. When I taught art for several years, I had my classes make them out of paper plates (elementary school) and acetate, available on rolls in hardware stores, (middle school).

Materials to Make Your Own Stencil

Plastic containerToday, I’m going to show you how to make them out of the thin, clear plastic that you can find as packaging, often for baked goods in the grocery store. I’ll be using a piece that I cut from a container that once held Christmas decorations.

Note: This post contains affiliate links for [the same or similar] products used to complete this project. This is both for your convenience as well as to support my website, since I receive a small compensation whenever you click on a link and make any sort of purchase, for which I thank you 🙂 See my full disclosure here.

Piece of plastic with Exacto knife


Draw the Design for Your Stencil

Bird drawing for make your own stencilI decided that I wanted to make a spring bunting with a special stenciled accent: a bird. You want to first draw a rough sketch and then begin to separate it into pieces for stenciling.

bird stencil outlined with sharpie to make your own stencilNext, outline your drawing with a Sharpie to make it stand out for cutting.

Cut Out Your Stencil Design

Tape plastic over drawing
Cover the drawing with the plastic and tape to my mat to hold it in place.

Cutting out sections to make your own stencilsCut out each part of the stencil with your craft knife.

Use Your Stencil

Cut out stencil on music paperOnce you’ve cut out all the parts of the stencil, your ready to use it! Here’s a short video I shot on stenciling basics.

Bird stenciled onto music paperI made my spring bunting out of vintage music paper, so I stenciled my bird onto that.

Bird StencilThat said, I wasn’t in love with that particular bird, so I decided to create another, simpler one.

You can right click on the photo of either bird design and save it to your photos if you’d like to use either of them as a guide. 

Bird Stencil on Vintage Music PaperI’m much happier with this design!

Close up of Spring Bunting on Vintage Music PaperI added him, as you can see, to a simple spring bunting.

Close up of Spring Bunting on Vintage Music Paper (3)The original stencil was a touch bigger than I bargained for; this one is smaller and cuter.

Spring Bunting on Vintage Music Paper (2)I hope you had fun learning how to make your own stencil–happy spring!

Thanks for hanging out with me today! If you enjoyed your visit,
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Bye for now,


I’d love it if you’d pin for later!

Make your own stencils from plastic packaging


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  1. I like making my own stencils, too, Diana. Lord knows we have plenty of these plastic packages comig into the house. Great way to recycle and repurpose! xoKathleen (The bunting is adorable.)

  2. OH my word he’s cute! I can’t draw at all – so this feels beyond me. But sure do love what you’ve done!

  3. Love your mantel and the Spring update. I like to try my hand at making my own stencils. Your bird is adorable and that banner is awesome. Thank you for sharing at Share It One More Time. Cathy

  4. Pingback: How to Make a Farmhouse Bunting from a Vintage Quilt
  5. So cute! Am I the only one who liked your first bird, too? In Maine we have our share of blue jays, cardinals, and occasional cedar waxwings so I love the pointy heads! I have been on a garland making binge for several years now and really enjoy them. Great way to use free printables, too. I ask my kids for printer ink cartridges as gifts; couldn’t live as well without my printer!

    1. Glad you liked him Kathy! Garlands are so much fun to make and have such an impact on our decorating, don’t they??

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