Stencil Lettering Process


I’ve just finished four pieces of lettering which are currently being exhibited at our local cafe — my first ever exhibition! The finished pieces are stenciled onto plywood, and involve a lengthy (but satisfying) process.

Here is a short little video which gives some insight into my process:

Step One

Firstly, I wrote the lettering by hand using a brush pen. I did countless sketches to get the composition right, while trying to keep it simple enough that I would be able to produce it as a stencil for the final piece.

Step Two

Once I had a decent sketch, I took a photo and brought it into Adobe Illustrator. I digitized the lettering using the pen tool (a process I have mentioned in a previous post), and refined it over and over … and over.

Step Three

After countless hours drawing bezier curves in Illustrator, I had a piece of lettering I was happy with. Next, I printed it at full size (I had decided the final piece would be stenciled onto 600 x 600mm plywood), and proceeded to cut out the letters carefully with a scalpel.

Step Four

The last step was to take my cut out letters (including the outer area, which I also cut out) and arrange them on the plywood. I used spray adhesive to ensure they stayed in place. I wanted this piece to be subtle, so I used gloss varnish spray to darken the wood just enough to reveal the lettering.

Note: I did a couple of test prints first, before the final one, to be sure I was happy with the result.

I really enjoyed the process of creating this piece, and all four pieces that are now hanging at Lucky Bat Cafe in Nightcliff.

As often happens, the act of being creative breeds more creativity, and I’ve got a bunch of ideas I’d like to try out in the near future!

Interested in working together?