How to use Stencil Vinyl

High impact signage graphics and complex patterns created with low tack stencil vinyl

Stencil or masking vinyl can be used for many applications from large to small scale painted lettering, signage and environmental graphics and way-finding. Highlighted here are benefits and considerations of using paint masking stencil vinyl.

Why use stencil vinyl for signage and lettering?

Advantages of painting signage and lettering over signage vinyl.

Painted lettering has a permanent feel; the paint becomes integral to the surface.  Provided paint quality is good and applied to a well-prepared surface, a painted sign will have longevity.

Vinyl lettering is temporary to mid-term solution, typically signage vinyl has a 7 to 8 year exterior durability, worth noting that if the vinyl is applied inside it will last much longer.

The Foundry, London. Image credit/ Jim Stephenson

Examples of painted text quotes onto ceiling and under stair area of The Foundry, Social Justice Centre. Graphic Design/ Richard Wolfstrome. Installation/ Standard8

Paint Effects can be achieved when using stencil vinyl for signage. Many textures and brush effects can be achieved when using paint. Stencil vinyl has been used in the example below to re-create old signage during a refurbishment of an industrial building in central London. The lettering mimics what once may have been there.

Choose paint for non-flat surfaces such as bare or painted brick work or concrete. Concrete is porous and retains moisture making it not suitable surface for applying vinyl. Vinyl will not adhere to bare brick work which is textured or dusty and not be suitable for vinyl applications.

Painted text to concrete, The Foundry, Social Justice Centre, London. Installation/ Standard8.

Painted signage lettering onto brick using low tack stencil vinyl at The Puma Non-Corporate Box at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium. Realisation and installation/Standard8

Stencil vinyl is cut using a digital plotter allowing the production of intricate and complex designs, not achievable by hand.

Masking vinyl stencils in preparation at Inkmill Vinyl. Vinyl stencils are prepared by hand once the plotter has cut the design the intricate design.

Intricate patterns with a distressed paint effect for ceiling panels. Created by decorative artists Rag Arts for Kings Cross restaurant Hoppers.

How to use stencil vinyl?

Ensure surface are clean and dry as advised by the paint supplier to get best results. Position and apply your stencil vinyl. Apply a base paint coat that matches the existing wall colour, second and if necessary third coats will be the contrasting colour. Contrasting colour can alternatively be applied directly in one or more coats . Removing and discarding the stencil vinyl when paint is absolutely dry.

Large painted lettering to wood panelling at Battersea Power Station development. Design/ Holmes Wood. Installation/ Standard8

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