How to Stencil a Design on a Car

by Filonia LeChat

Whether you're adding fire flames, a phrase or message or another kind of design to your car, you can create personalized artwork with a few supplies through stenciling. Stenciling works by transferring a cutout design to your car when paint or another substance is applied on top of it. For cars, Rod & Custom magazine recommends using an enamel spray paint, well-suited to layer on top of a car that already has its first coat of factory-created paint. Stencils are available at auto shops, craft stores and online.

Prepare the car by placing tire covers over your tires to protect them from paint splatter. (Optional)

Cover any details you don't want to get paint on with strips of masking tape, such as racing stripes or the edges around the vehicle doors.

Hold the spray can under warm water for 10 seconds, then shake it well. (Repeat for each can of color you use.)

Tape the stencil to the car with masking tape. If you're using multiple stencils with the same color of spray enamel paint, tape all of the stencils in place.

Stand three feet back from the vehicle and spray the enamel paint over the stencil, taking care not to go outside the outer edges. Let dry. Repeat with another coat for a solid, bright look if desired.

Unpeel the tape and stencils and move to the next section of the car, using the same color paint or a different one.

Repeat to apply the stencil to the entire car and let dry.

Use a touch up paint pen to fill in any specks of the old car paint that show through or cover any small areas the stencil didn't reach, such as the door handle or headlamp rim.

Tips

  • check Take your spray enamel paint for a test drive by spray painting an unused lightbulb. The lightbulb's curves and shine mimic the car; you can carry the lightbulb inside or outside to see how the paint looks in different lighting scenarios.
  • check Make your own stencils by cutting designs in thick manila folders, then taping them together. Test the stencils out by spray painting them onto a sheet of brown roll paper or newspaper to ensure the final product suits your preferences.

Items you will need

About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera yellow car, a honda japanese sport car model image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com