How can I get a custom stencil made?

It's as easy as 123...

1. Just email us with your requirements and we'll get back to you with your no obligation quote.
2. Give us a thumbs up and we'll send you an invoice for payment. You can pay online or via bank transfer.
3. Once payment has been received we'll cut your stencils and post them to you.

    Please allow approx 1-5 working days for cutting (depending on current workload and job size) plus shipping time. If you need your custom stencils urgently just let us know and we'll do our very best to meet your deadline.

    What are your custom stencils made from?

    All of our custom stencils are laser cut from Mylar, this is the best material for stencils. Mylar is a polyester strengthened plastic sheet available in different thicknesses. We can advise which thickness is best for you. It will depend upon how you plan to use your stencils. 

    We stock 190 (our standard), 250 and 350 micron Mylar sheets. All our Mylar is food safe (but we would recommend your stencils are washed prior to use).  Mylar is strong, flexible, washable and suitable for use with any type of paint. Our Mylar is not sticky in any way.

    How much does a custom stencil cost?

    That really depends on the size and complexity of your design and the quality of the file you send us. We'll assess how much material & cutting time is required plus any extra time we may have to spend getting your image ready for our laser to read. In order to avoid extra design fees please send us the best image you have, ideally a vector file. 

    Your quotation may contain details and costs for..

    Design/Image Adjustment Fee - We'll prepare your design ready for our laser. We may add small bridges to your design or adjust it to make it 'stencil friendly'. Minor amendments are made free of charge, however, if we need to spend a considerable amount of time adjusting your design, re-drawing it or adding significant bridges, we will add an 'Image Adjustment Fee' to your quotation based on the estimated time it will take our design team to complete the work.

    Stencil Cost - Usually this will be the cost of the first stencil, further copies of the same stencil can be ordered with a significant discount.

    P&P - We'll include P&P in your quote. 

    VAT will also be added at the standard UK rate, if applicable.

    Quotations are valid for 30 days.

    Payment is required in full before artwork is prepared or cutting commences.

    Do you ship abroad?

    Yes we do, in fact we send our products all over the world every day! For security and traceability we only use trackable or signed for services for custom stencils.

    How long will it take to get my custom stencils?

    Our normal response time to requests for a quotation is 1-3 working days, if you would like us to follow up with an invoice let us know as soon as possible, our invoice is payable online via a PAY NOW button or you can follow the instructions to pay directly into our bank account. In all cases we require full payment before beginning any work on your order. Once we have payment for your stencils please allow 1-5 working days for creating artwork and cutting (depending on current workload and job size) plus shipping time.

    If you need your stencils urgently just let us know and we'll do our very best to meet your deadline.

    What sort of file type can I send?

    Just send us what you have. We prefer an Adobe Illustrator vector file, however we can process most file types and will be able to convert most jpeg/raster files to vector, it really depends on the quality of the image you send us and the amount of detail required in the finished stencil. Just send us the largest picture you have and we will advise. 
     If you have multiple pictures or very large files please send them zipped.

    If you are technically minded and know about Ai and vector files, you can find technical information and advice for creating a stencil friendly vector drawing here.

    What is a vector file?

    A vector image is a series of mathematical points (anchors) on a grid, the anchors are joined by a path. A vector image can be scaled to any size without losing clarity. Lasers simply follow the path between anchor points to cut a shape.

    Jpeg or raster images are made up of coloured squares called pixels, as you enlarge a jpeg the pixels are stretched and the image loses clarity. We are able to convert some jpeg images into vector images. High resolution jpeg images will convert better.

    What happens if I don't have a vector file?

    We understand that not everyone has a vector file, or even understands what a vector file is! Don't worry, just send us the largest picture (jpg, tif, png) of your design you have and we'll advise you from there. We'll cast an eye over your picture to judge if we can use it, a lot depends on the amount of detail in your design and the size you need it to be cut.
    Whatever file type you send us we will assess if it is suitable for converting into a usable format for our laser and if the design itself is suitable for a stencil.
    Our quotation will be based on these initial findings so please make sure you give us as much information as possible.

    Will you charge me for converting my image to a vector?

    No, not usually, it depends on the amount of estimated time we think it will take us to prepare your image. We often have to add small bridges to the design to make it 'stencil friendly' and a final cut line for the stencil sheet. Small amendments like these are made free of charge. If we need to spend a considerable amount of time adjusting your design, re-drawing it or adding significant bridges, we will add an 'Image Adjustment Fee' to your quotation based on the estimated time it will take for our design team to complete the work.

    The 'Image Adjustment Fee' will be itemised as a separate charge in your quotation, it's a one-off charge per design. We'll keep your design on file in case you require further copies of your stencil in the future. When we've created adjusted artwork for you we are happy to provide a proof before cutting your stencil. We do not provide proofs for artwork at the quotation stage, proofs will only be provided for paid-for artwork. Proofs are not provided as a general rule for free adjustments but please ask if you need one. 

    Can you create a stencil design for me?

    No, we don't design to order. You need to send us a picture or image, we convert it to a vector and cut your stencil. Please make sure you have permission to use the images you send us.

    What are bridges and do I need them?

    Bridges may be required to help keep centres of letters or shapes in place. We are happy to add bridges to your designs and make them 'stencil friendly' for you. Minor amendments are free of charge. Major work will incur an 'image adjustment fee' but this will be listed in your quote.
    For example, the letter 'O' - if we cut the outer edge of the letter the centre will fall out with it, creating a circle.

    In order to keep the inner part of the 'O' in place we need to leave small joining strips, linking the outside to the inside part of the 'O', we call these 'bridges'. Bridges are an essential part of the stencil, they join elements that would otherwise fall out of the design, and they add stability to the stencil.

    Do I need to add bridges to my design before I send it to you?

    No. Not at all, we can add bridges to your design and make it 'stencil friendly'. Minor adjustments to a design are done free of charge for you it is only if we need to spend a considerable amount of time adjusting your design, re-drawing it or adding significant bridges, we will add an 'Image Adjustment Fee' to your quote. If you would like to add bridges yourself and send your design laser ready, please see our Technical Information page.

    What's the largest/smallest stencil you can cut?

    There is no upper limit to the size of your stencil although we may have to split your design onto several sheets if it's very big. The largest sheet size we can offer is 100 x 60 cm, we'll need to add a border around the edge of the cut areas of your design so that means the largest we can cut a design on a single sheet is approx 90 x 50 cm with a 5 cm border all round.
    Very tiny stencils are possible, however, we recommend that cut elements, bridges and gaps between cut elements are no less than 1mm wide. 

    What is a multi-layered stencil, do I need one?

     There are several reasons why it may be necessary to cut a stencil design on different sheets (or layers).

    When you want to add layers of colour to your design to paint one colour on top of another. For instance if you wanted to paint an eye on top of a face, you could have a stencil with the face shape cut from it and another sheet with the eye shape cut out, you'd place the face stencil down first, paint it and allow the paint to dry, then position the eye stencil over the top of the face and paint it.

    When you want to paint the design several colours. It may be easier to have a stencil for each colour to avoid mixing colours on one sheet. For example you want to paint the Union Jack flag onto some fabric, the blue and red areas are very close and you'd have to be extremely careful no to get red paint in the blue areas! We'll cut the blue parts on one sheet and the red on another so you can paint them one at a time.

    When there are elements of the design that are touching. Instead of trying to add a bridge between very close or touching elements, we can cut each on a separate sheet.

    In all cases, if the design is cut on separate sheets (or layers) we will add etched marks or alignment holes to each sheet to show you where to position it.

    How many stencils do I need?

    Your custom stencil can be used literally hundreds of times! Keep the stencil clean and store flat for optimum usage. There are several reasons why it may be useful or necessary to have more copies.

    Multiple copies of the same stencil may be useful if you want to paint your design several colours and keep colours separate from each other, having one stencil per colour will save time washing the stencil between uses.

    Maybe you have help with your project, an extra pair of hands and extra stencils will get the job done quicker.

    Stencils are reversible, if you want to paint the reverse side as well as the front then two stencils will save having to wash and dry the stencil between uses.

    If you're using very thick paint or applying it in a vigorous technique it may be necessary to have a spare stencil, just in case the stencil gets damaged or needs time soaking to remove the paint.

    In all cases we offer a substantial discount for multiple copies of the same stencil.

    Can you supply large quantities?

    We can supply just one stencil or thousands of stencils, just let us know your requirements.

    Will I pay tax on my order?

    If your order is being dispatched to a destination outside of the UK you will not be charged VAT however your parcel may attract local taxes, custom duties and handling fees upon delivery. Please advise us of your delivery address when you request a quote.

    What's your return policy for custom stencils?

    We do not accept returns for custom stencils.

    Can I see a proof before ordering?

    We generally don't supply proofs unless you request one. We are happy to provide proofs prior to cutting as long as payment has been received.

    Who owns the copyright to my custom stencil design?

    You do. We will not use or sell your design. The Stencil Studio Ltd retain ownership of any physical files and artwork produced in order to cut your design.

    Can I re-order at a later date with a discount?

    Yes you can! We'll keep your design on file, and because all the technical work is already done, we can offer you a significant discount off future copies of your custom stencil. We'll need your original invoice number when you re-order. This offer only applies to identical copies of your original custom stencils, we'll re-quote if you ask for a different size or make any changes to the design.

    Any further questions or you would like a quote?


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