With your home printer and a little ingenuity, you can design and print all sorts of stencils using Microsoft Word. Your only limitation is the size of your printer, since home printers usually don't accommodate anything wider than A4. Planning is the most important element. Further, make sure your lines are thick enough that they will allow you to trace or paint over the stencil while getting the effect that you want.
THINGS YOU'LL NEED
Decide what the size of your stencil should be. With most home printers, you're limited to letter or legal sized paper, so for a large stencil you may need to put a word on each page.
Download a stencil font you can use with Microsoft Word. Stencil fonts make it easier to cut out letters like "O" and "A." Microsoft offers a stencil font for sale, but you can also download one for free from a font gallery website (see Resources).
Launch a new document in Microsoft Word. Use the rulers on the top and side of the document as a guide to ensure the stencil is the appropriate size. If you aren't using a stencil font, select the "Bold" option for the font you are using. Bold fonts are thicker than regular fonts, making them easier to cut out.
Drag and drop from your computer any original artwork you want to use for the stencil. You can also insert Word Art and Clip Art in Word.
Print your stencil on some cardstock, which you can get in any office supply store. Standard printer paper tends to tear easily when you use it for tracing and is even worse if you are going to paint over the stencil.
Place the stencil on a relatively soft surface, like a piece of plywood or a plastic cutting mat. Using a pencil, draw connectors from the outside edges of any holes in your design to the outside edges. For example, the letter "O" should have two connectors from the inside edge of the lines to the outside, so when you cut it out you won't be left with a big empty circle.
Cut out the stencil using a hobby knife. For straight edges, place a ruler against the line to ensure your edges are neatly cut.
TIPS & WARNINGS
If Word isn't showing you rulers in inches, you can change this by clicking the "File" menu, selecting "Options," then "Advanced." The "Show Measurements in Units Of" menu let's you select from inches, centimeters, millimeters, points and picas.
For large signs, office supply stores and printing shops can usually print your designs on poster-sized paper.
When you make stencils using your home computer and printer, you can create your own designs and then use paints and markers to customize T-shirts, tote bags, towels and even bedding like sheets and pillowcases. Design smaller stencils and even make your own greeting cards, scrapbook pages and home décor using the same stencils. Give your stenciled projects to family and friends for birthdays, holidays or other occasions.