Welcome to another blog from Ideal Stencils. Today we are going to be showing you how easy it is to wash and reuse your stencils. Also giving you some tips on how to store and care for you stencils. If you follow all this then there is no reason why your stencil should not last you for ever.

Soak your stencil

So we have just done a project with our flamingo stencil, we used acrylic paint on our stencil and we did about 15 repeats of the stencil. We want to clean the stencil at the end of our project, so the first thing to do, is to soak the stencil in warm soapy water. It really depends on how much paint build up the stencil has got on it, as to the amount of time you need to soak your stencil for. Ours had 1 hour soaking in water, but if you want to leave it overnight then it will only make the job easier.

how to clean a stencil - soak stencil

You will know when you paint is ready to come off as it will start to either bubble or peel of the stencil when you rub it with your finger.

how to clean a stencil ideal stencils

Clean the paint off your stencil

Putting your stencil on a plastic chopping board is a good idea as its easy to handle and gives you a surface to rub against. Smaller stencils in the sink and larger stencil can be cleaned in the same way in the bath. You can use a soapy washing up pad or brush to lightly scrub the paint off your stencil if necessary. The acrylic paint is harder to get off than emulsion paint so you can see below I picked some areas of paint off with my nail.

scrub your stencil clean

When you are cleaning your stencil be careful not to damage any areas of the stencil design, it is easily done. Hopefully with a good long soak in water even a thick layer of paint will come off without too much effort. When the stencil is clean , just pat it dry between 2 layers of kitchen roll. And then you have a stencil  that is as good as new to store away until next time.

how to clean a stencil - pat dry

Tips on how to care and look after your stencil

  • If you receive your stencil rolled then it may have a slight curl to it. Take the stencil out of the tube and lay it curl side down and lay it under a rug or some heavy books until the curl comes out.
  • Never leave your stencil in direct sunlight or it may become misshapen by the heat.
  • If you have used repositionable spray mount on the back of your stencil then store it on some kind of waxy or sheeny backing paper so that it doesn’t get stuck together and tangled with other stencils.
  • Stencils don’t necessary need cleaning after every use or project. Paint build up can clog smaller stencil openings or make the stencil more ridged and stiff. The main time to clean your stencil is when the paint build up is effecting the results you are getting.
  • Take care when separating stencils, as if they get tangled together you could damage them.
  • It is best to store stencils flat if possible. Smaller stencils in a file and larger stencils instead of rolling them up can be hung on trouser hangers to keep them flat.

So that concluded today’s blog. We hope that you have found it useful. Now you have no excuses for your stencil getting damaged, look after your stencil and it will last you a very long time.

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