View Full Version : Stencil Making Help!!!

zahia salhi
09-07-2009, 10:03 AM
Hi There,

I'm a total newbie and really really need all your help.

i've just inherited my uncles laserpro mercury co2 12w cutter, he sadly died early this month.

That machine is very heavy to transport Inearly broke my back lifting up three flights of stairs to have in our attic.

my wife and I are redecorating the house and we've decided to jazz up the walls with stencil designs embossed with venetian plaster.

we have got many images of stencil designs from various photos and images off the internet. we need to open the images in Corel Draw and Illustrator (we have both of them on the PC) and we need to know how to tell them to select the parts to cut and ignore the other bits and then send that to the Laserpro ready to cut out.

We're totally new to this and therefore all help, despite it being insignificant info to the specialist will be appreciated.

Thanking you all in advance.

Here's an example of an image we would like to cut a larger stencil out of.

Zahia (UK)

Scott Shepherd
09-07-2009, 10:16 AM
Welcome to the Creek! I haven't used that brand of machine, but as a general rule on other machines, what makes the laser cut out is the line weight (and color on some makes). In the examples you've showed, I'd select it all change the fill color to none and the outline to a hairline. Hairline, in the machines I have used, are part of the determining factor for whether it engraves or cuts.

On some machines, colors matter. For my ULS, I have it set to red to cut. So a red hairline will cut. Not sure about your machine, but it should be hairline.

Also, make sure that's a vector shape and not a bitmap.

zahia salhi
09-07-2009, 10:24 AM
Wow! that was a speedy reply, thank you

you mentioned 'I'd select it all change the fill color to none and the outline to a hairline'

can you give me a little more detail i.e. steps i need to follow to do this.

Indeed, i have read in the laserpro manual that in order to cut you MUST have hairline and the outline of the cutting part must be red as opposed to the black bits.

Can you explain how I can select the bits to cut in red and tell corel draw to keep that part as hairline.

Sorry to be a pain, but i have never used corel draw/illustrator.

Also if it's any help i've realised that we have along with corel draw the smart designer x3 add-on that has other features on it, are any of them going to be of any use to me whilst creating these stencils?

Thanking you all.

Mike Null
09-07-2009, 12:13 PM

My guess is that both of the images you have showed us are bitmaps. First I'd discard the image on the right altogether as I don't see any way to make a stencil out of it.

If the image on the left is a bitmap you need to convert it to black and white and trace it. The stencil will be the white area bordering the designs. So just outline the white area and hope that you get a continuous cutline line (that'll speed up the cutting).

I would suggest you have a look at every one of these tutorials as well as many others available free on the internet.


Dave Russell Smith
09-07-2009, 12:48 PM
Here is what you need for both of them as Scott discribed :)

zahia salhi
09-07-2009, 4:52 PM
Hi Dave,

That is exactly what I needed to have, and the images you sent were just perfect, The great question is How did you do it?

If it's not too much to ask, please could you just bullet point some instructions on how you acheived the results you posted so kindly.

I have a stack of these stencils my wife has left to do.

I really appreciate your help and thank you in advance for your kind effort.


zahia salhi
09-07-2009, 8:37 PM
Here's another couple of images.

Dee Gallo
09-07-2009, 9:00 PM

Do you intend to paint the white parts or the black parts of the stencil on the left? Similar to the first set you showed, this kind of design can only be done if you are painting the white portions... and even so, you will have a VERY delicate stencil. You would probably have to make several if you are covering a large area. You also did not indicate how big these have to be...that makes a difference.

If you have never used a stencil you might want to make a simple one and try it. Then you would understand how they work and what is possible.

You might want to study stencil designs to see what makes a feasible design. Then, you could create your own to meet your needs and likes. The geometric style you like is very easy to do.

I recommend you take some time to learn how to use the Corel drawing tools which will give you plenty of ability to make stencils.

cheers, dee

zahia salhi
09-07-2009, 9:09 PM
Hi Dee,

Thanks for the tips, indeed it would be the white parts, I think as long as you cut the stencil leaving a 2 inch gap around the border and use bridges i guess it should be possible. But the stencil on the left is rather delicate and hence it would need me to spend a bit of time making.

The size is pobably going to be about a meter squared.

Any help you can provide in my learning, do feel free to post some links to tutorials that are relevant to the kind of work i'm wanting to do.

Many Thanks Again for your kind words Dee.


Dee Gallo
09-08-2009, 8:13 AM
Try this, Zahia - here is a simple design based on the 6 sided star you seem to like. Once you master these techniques, you should be able to create your own stencils. You can use several different shapes, the procedure is the same.

The cdr file is version 10, so anyone should be able to open it.

Good luck, dee

sorry - one bit is missing from the instructions: you don't have to deselect the square to weld if you have not already made it. I made mine in the beginning to see how the layout would go.

zahia salhi
09-08-2009, 1:15 PM
Hi All/Dave

Here's my first attempt at creating a stencil

it's evident that there are discrepncies and mistakes, such as the redundant lines in the top right and left corners.

Also wanted to know how to get rid of the surrounding border, so as to copy and paste and join another section?

Let me know if i'm heading in the right direction.

Dee, i'm going to have a play with your instructions - Thanks for taking time to create the task.


Dee Gallo
09-08-2009, 5:58 PM
I took a look at your trial piece - it's made in too many pieces and has too many points to work correctly. It would take a tremendous amount of work to make it perfect. It also looks like you drew each shape separately, rather than duplicating for consistency.

Do a search for tracing tutorials and you will find instructions from several sources. Once you know how to trace, use your grid to help you get things in line but also use the alignment tools (select objects, press "c" and "e"). Geometric designs require precision.

There are also some threads here for making snowflakes. Many of them have shapes you can use for part of your designs.

Keep working, you'll get there!

cheers, dee