graffiti, spray paint, stencils, tiles

I Put all my Hard Work on the Ground

So after sitting on the tiles from last post for a few days I decided that I should go out and actually DO something with them.  Stencil time!  Here is the finished product that a few friends and I whipped together in the dark of night at our skatepark.

When making a stencil, you are creating a sheet that has been perforated with a pattern or design, in my case a Rabbit tile.  Using paint, the sheet can be used to transfer the single image over and over again.  Here is the Image that I decided to use.

I found this video on YouTube.  It does a good job of explaining the basics of stenciling, and is similar to the process I used.

Instead of doing a single layer stencil (1 sheet for the entire image) my image owned itself better to multiple layers.  After looking at my original design above I settled on 3 layers.  I separated my image into three parts:

The First layer is used to set out the basic background colour.  I probably could have done without this layer and gone straight for the black outlines of layer two, but I really like how the finished product turned out.



Next the outlines are painted black on top of the white background.  If you click on the image you can see how spaces had to be added to the monsters arms and the rabbits face to prevent the spaces from ‘falling out’ of the stencil.  The arms, for example, have to be physically connected to the body, otherwise the middle section will fall out, causing the whole arm to be black.

Finally, round 3!  There are some places where connecting pieces so they don’t ‘fall out’ is impossible, which is why I decided to add a 3rd layer.  This layer is to be painted white, to fill in all the ‘holes’ (eyes, teeth, nails) that I could not connect directly to the the second layer.

Now, all the theoretical work is done, time to get cutting.  I decided to cut my stencils out of cardboard so that they could be used multiple times.  Sharp Xacto blades are a must when cutting out of cardboard, and don’t be stingy on grabbing new ones.  I always tend to use a blade longer than I should, often to the detriment of my stencil.

Using my photoshop work as a guide, I measured out the size of tile I wanted on the 3 pieces of cardboard.  The images themselves I hand drew, starting with the first image, then moving on to the 2nd and 3rd.

By working through the stencils in the order you will be spraying them, you can make sure that the images will line up.  Most important for this stencil, because it is a tile that is meant to join to itself, is to make sure the entry points are in the exact same spot on all 4 sides.  Feel free to lay one piece over the next and check your cutouts to make sure all is going well.

This was by far the longest part of the process, I think it took me three hours to cut!  It didn’t help that I tried cutting the first layer out of thick matte board, big mistake!

Almost to the fun part!  I picked up a few cans of regular spray paint, some rubber gloves, some friends for help, a headlamp, and we were off!  So simple, just spray layer one, let it dry, put layer two on top, spray, dry, and finish with layer three.

The spraying went so fast, maybe half an hour?  In the dark, with two people who had never sprayed a stencil in their lives (and one sub par teacher) I think it’s pretty good.  We were no Banksy though, thats for sure.

Let me know what you think!

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