Our 7 mil stencils are laser cut using a clear blue material. Since this material is on the thicker side it is extremely durable. However, we do suggest using a very dry brush when stenciling with this material to ensure small puddles do not occur around the outer edges of your stenciled design.
Whichever material you use they are both reusable and durable. It's all just a matter of preference. When purchasing our stencils we have given you a material choice, however, on some of our stencils we note the recommended material for that specific stencil project with an asterik (*) symbol. This is strictly a suggestion. Feel free to choose which ever material you would prefer for your new stencils.
What to stencil on... TOP
Goodness, where do we begin with this question!? Basically, our motto for this one is, "If it doesn't move, STENCIL IT!" We love stenciling on more than just wood. You can paint on fabric, such as table clothes, curtains, pillows, clothing, floor cloths, etc...the possibilities with fabric is endless!!!
You can paint on walls, cabinets, cupboards, boxes, paper Mache, chip board, chalk boards, paper, tables, chairs, most any type of furniture! It is so much fun to make something average become such a magical piece of art after you have "stencilized" it! Have fun with your stencils! The biggest suggestion we have is "THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX", you will be so glad you did! Please be sure to send us any pictures of your new creations! We would love to see them.
Choosing a paint... TOP
Acrylic Craft Paint
There are many choices when it comes to paints. My favorite is simply acrylic paints you can buy at your local craft store. We highly recommend Delta Ceramcoat. It is our favorite paint and it comes in every color you can imagine. The great thing about these acrylic craft paints is that they are odorless which means you can paint indoors and not have to worry about the smell affecting you, your family and your pets.
A great suggestion for those of you who want your paint to stand up to the weather is to use house paint found at your local hardware store. If you are going to use house paint and want it to be able to withstand the weather be sure to choose outdoor paints. One thing to consider when using house paint is the odor. Be sure to paint in a well ventilated area, or if at all possible outdoors would be best.
Stencil creme comes in a little pod and is pretty neat and basically trouble free. No drippy messes and no need to worry about paint seeping up under the edges of your stencil design. It is an oil based paint and is pretty much odorless and clean up well with soap and water. Paint creme can also be found at your local craft store.
Time to clean up those stencil supplies... TOP
Cleaning Your Brushes
For our brushes we generally just keep them clean with soap and water. However, sometimes the paint just doesn't come out! When that happens we take a wide rim jar or bowl and add rubbing alcohol to it. Just add enough alcohol to cover the bristles. Try not to add too much that the paint brush ferrule (metal or plastic area that holds the bristles together) becomes submerged. We often soak our brushes overnight just because that is when we are not using them. However, they clean up pretty quick. So depending on how much paint build up you have just keep checking on your brushes to find out how they are coming along. This method works GREAT!!
Cleaning Your Stencils
The best trick we have found for clean up is to keep a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol nearby while you stencil. Once you have used your stencil spray it down with the alcohol and pat it dry.
If you have stencils that have lots of build up we recommend you get a rubbermaid container and allow them to soak in a pool of rubbing alcohol. You will have to just check on them from time to time to see how they are cleaning up. The rubbing alcohol will not hurt them so they can soak for hours and hours. As a great method to cleaning both stencils and brushes at the same time we use the stencil brush for lightly scrubbing the paint away from the stencil. Do not leave your brushes soaking in the tub along with your stencils. This will ruin the handles and ferrule eventually. We also would like to suggest a container with a lid so it will help keep the smell of the rubbing alcohol down to the very minimum.
Why doesn't SMI offer EXCLUSIVE work? TOP
SMI does NOT offer exclusive work for a few different reasons.
One of them being that we have taken the time to design, create and bring your request to life. Our time and work is paid back to us in the multiple sales of our stencils. Because we profit from the stencil through multiple sales, this keeps the cost down for you not having to pay for exclusive art work.
Our biggest reason for NOT doing exclusive work is we have unfortunately had MUCH experience with. There is nothing more aggravating for us as well as our customer who requested the exclusive design then for someone to see that design and submit the idea to another company who may or may not be aware we are the original designers. They then do their own version of the design and everyone now has access to a VERY similar stencil. The unfortunate part is the customer paid the exclusive price, others are stenciling something that is pretty much the same thing and we, the original designers, are the only ones who cannot continue to profit from this work because we sold it as an exclusive.
All that being said, we hope you can understand why we are unable to offer exclusive work. Should we choose to use your creation on our website we do TRY to alter our website design so that you will still have a somewhat unique design. We do not always do this but we do try.