Contact Paper Stencil

This is a tutorial on how to use contact paper as a stencil for more flimsy materials that need to be washed like canvas or fabric.

So for all of my readers who love to stencil, I just want to address the question of why contact paper?

Well, there are times when I need something sticky but not too sticky so I can move it around.

Plus, contact paper is cheaper and disposable.

Stencil vinyl vs contact paper

I find when I am stenciling on more flimsy materials like a canvas or fabric pillowcase, I need something that I can readjust and doesn’t get all tangled up like vinyl. I also need it to be sticky so that it stays in places and doesn’t cause too much paint bleeding.

I also find for bigger designs, I always get the vinyl stencil all tangled up.

Can you use contact paper as a stencil for paint projects?

Many people think contact paper cannot be used for paint projects because it soaks through.

Well, I have a really easy solution. Don’t apply so much paint that it soaks through.

I find contact paper works particularly well with fabric paint because it tends to be more viscous and stays on top of the contact paper.

*this article contains affiliate links for your convenience, see full disclosures here

Materials for Contact Paper on Canvas/Fabric/Upholstery Projects

Contact paper – If you don’t have any leftover from lining your drawers, you can always order more online.

Exacto knife – You need something to cut out the design.

Fabric paint – I find the 3D paints work really well for this project. There is a lot to choose from on Amazon.

Sponge – Any kind of sponge works, I like using makeup sponges for smaller designs.

Optional items…

Cutting Machine – I use a Cricut. Check out my recommendations for Cricut machines and accessories for beginners for more info.

Stencil friendly design – If you are interested in the designs I used for this project, they are free and available in my resource library.

Get access to all my project templates and printables.

Join my templates and tutorials newletter and get access to 100+ FREE SVG cut files and printable templates starting with this one.

    Unsubscribe at any time.

    Cutting contact paper with the Cricut

    If you are using a cutting machine, I would recommend using the vinyl setting and applying less pressure.

    I find the vinyl setting tends to cut through the sheet which isn’t a big deal for this project because it is a stencil but on the lesser setting, you minimize cutting through.

    How to use contact paper for stenciling with paint

    I find just peeling back the main piece of the stencil as I am applying it to the fabric works best.

    So peel a little bit, stick it on the pillowcase, then peel back the rest.

    I then do some readjustments.

    After I have arranged the main piece as I like it, I manually place the floating pieces. This is where not having a super intricate design with lots of floating pieces is helpful.

    I then take the sponge, apply some paint and smear it around so it’s not one big glob.

    Then I use a stamping motion to paint the cutouts. It helps to do some pre-stamps elsewhere to make sure the paint is not in one big glob on the sponge. This minimizes bleeding underneath the stencil.

    (a quick side note: depending on your material, you may want to place a sheet of paper underneath/in between the layers so the paint doesn’t soak through)

    It takes about a couple of hours for the paint to dry. Then I just peel off the stencil.

    If you are worried about excess paint bleeding, I would consider smearing on a layer of Mod Podge for Fabric on the cutout areas before applying the paint.

    Related Articles:

    How to Stencil on Fabric

    Throw Pillow HTV Design

    How to Stencil with Freezer Paper

    Vinyl Letter Stencils for wood signs

    how to stencil using contact paper, diy home decor project, diy farmhouse rustic decor ideas
    fixer upper farmhouse rustic diy home decor, farmhouse throw pillow idea, modern farmhouse diy
    free farmhouse svgs, cricut cut files, rustic sign ideas

    2 thoughts on “Contact Paper Stencil”

    1. Barbara Nelson

      Hi….love your designs. Following instructions sent in email to comment on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook!!

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Privacy Policy

    Scroll to Top