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How to Print Large Stencils

Learn how to print out large stencils.
paint image of key image by Andrii Oleksiienko from Fotolia.com

Artwork is made from many different mediums, from oil or acrylic paint to sculptures made from marble and granite. For practical purposes, and for those who don't exactly have an artistic hand, stencils and other tools are available to form shapes and images. Stencils are typically small, about the size of a quarter or half-dollar, but can be made to accommodate any project size. With the aid of modern printers, you can make very large stencils to form large images for walls, signs, billboards, or any project you may need them for.

Save the stencil image that you'll be using on a disc or flash drive that you can use to transport to a printing shop. Save the image as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file for the best results. If you don't have this type of software available, you can download free PDF conversion software online such as Primo PDF, or Bean for MAC, or you can purchase Adobe Acrobat.

Locate a print shop in your local area. You can look in your phone book for locally owned printing services, but remember that large print shops such as Kinko's have locations nationwide, and shipping services such as UPS, and FedEx have large-scale printing services available as well. If you do not have a print shop near your home, online printing services are available such as at OnPrintshop.com or Earthtone.net that you can place orders with, and they will ship materials to you.

Upload the disc or flash drive to the print shop computer, and select the "print" option by holding down the control or command button and the "P" button. Note that some print shops may have a policy requiring a print shop employee only to handle all printing duties. If this is the case, simply hand over your disc or flash drive and let them do the work.

Select the print preview option from the dialogue box, and select the size that you want to print. You may see a "scale" or "size" icon, or dialogue box to aid you in sizing your image, which will scale the image in inches or feet to your desired size. Keep in mind that all print shop computers and printers will vary slightly in operation. Depending on how big the print shop printer is, you may also have several size options for your stencil. Consult with a print shop employee if you need help sizing or printing out your stencil. Once you've selected the size that you need, click on the print button and print out a copy. If the copy looks good, continue with your printing.


You can purchase graphic design software to alter the size of any image such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, Corel Draw, or Macromedia Freehand.

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