Definition of stencil in US English:

stencil

nounPlural stencils

  • 1A thin sheet of cardboard, plastic, or metal with a pattern or letters cut out of it, used to produce the cut design on the surface below by the application of ink or paint through the holes.

    • ‘I would take the time to make a good set of letter stencils out of transparency film and then use acrylic paint with textile medium to paint the shirts.’
    • ‘Any idiot with spray paint and a stencil can put a name on a ship.’
    • ‘Pencil on your design or alternatively use a stencil to trace the outline of your design.’
    • ‘When painting with a stencil cut out use a short bristled brush and with a dabbing motion apply your paint.’
    • ‘Matt had made the design, a friend hit on the idea of using stencils and spray paint, and the crew started tagging.’
    • ‘It just takes a little glass paint and a stencil or template.’
    • ‘Many paint and craft stores sell pre-cut, reusable plastic stencils in a variety of patterns, such as leaves, ivy, flowers, etc.’
    • ‘Judging by the consistency of their designs, the quilts imitating fashionable appliquéd patterns may have been painted using professionally cut stencils, which were available after 1835.’
    • ‘Use your own imagination or buy a ready-made stencil.’
    • ‘Simply place the stencil in the desired location on the wall and hold it in place with masking tape.’
    • ‘Allow to dry, then remove the stencil to reveal the picture.’
    • ‘Carefully remove the stencil and wipe off the excess wet paint with a rag.’
    • ‘I would recommend looking at what ready-made stencils there are before deciding whether or not to use them.’
    • ‘Lay a tablecloth on a flat surface and place the stencils, securing them with a bit of tape.’
    • ‘In subsequent works, he created permutating, off-centered grids with spray paint applied through stencils.’
    • ‘Paint the walls blue, and then paint grass growing above the baseboard, and use stencils and white paint for clouds.’
    • ‘I cut out a paper stencil and sprayed through it onto the chairs.’
    • ‘Position the border and design stencils shiny-side-down on the fabric.’
    • ‘If stains are placed afterward, stencils should be left in place until after the staining process is complete.’
    • ‘Women purchased metal stencils with their names cut in, and used them for writing their names on household linens and clothing or other needlework and they also used them to sign their quilt blocks.’
    model, example, criterion, standard, basis, point of reference, gauge, norm, formula, guide, scale, guideline, yardstick, touchstone, benchmark, ideal, exemplar, paradigm, canon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A design produced by a stencil.
      ‘a floral stencil around the top of the room’
      • ‘Or use border tiles to define a panel or tiled splashback, and then echo the motif as a stencil along the bottom edge of your table linen or roller blinds.’
      • ‘Tactics these groups use include spray-painting stencils on pavements, altering billboards and displaying posters and stickers in public places.’
      • ‘The resulting paintings based on the stencil were popular and sold well to tourists.’
      • ‘Smack dab in the middle of the canvas, an enormous silhouetted hen sits contentedly on her nest, framed by a field of radiant orange-on-orange floral stencils over a hot-pink background.’
      • ‘He encouraged others to join in, with stickers, spray-paint stencils, and wheat-pasted posters.’
      • ‘The walls were dark blue with painted star stencils all over the walls.’
      • ‘The assumed permanence of a print is in this context also eroded - the stencils are often painted over by concerned city councils within days and sometimes hours.’
      • ‘The plates were placed on a roof with stencils covering the positive areas of the portrait.’
      • ‘Some of them are shelters like this major one with drawings and stencils.’
      • ‘Recently, this has found me making stencils, which, like lithographs, are quick, effective, and actually available for masses of people to see.’
      • ‘Other campaigners spray painted carefully designed stencils on pavements.’
      • ‘I agree with your comments about the impact of television, but certainly there's still a place for the static graphic, whether it's a poster, or a stencil sprayed on a sidewalk.’

verbstencilled, stencils, stencilling, stenciling, stenciled

[with object]
  • 1Decorate (a surface) with a stencil.

    ‘the walls had been stenciled with designs’
    • ‘Don't limit yourself to stenciling on a wall.’
    • ‘Unusual features in this room are the vaulted, Georgian beamed and stencilled ceiling and a rather ornate tiled fireplace.’
    • ‘At Winscombe Hall, currently a residential home for the elderly, a bedroom, once wonderfully stencilled with Burges's elaborate gothic designs, is now a uniform cream.’
    • ‘Today, stenciling has become much more sophisticated, often involving intricate designs and any number of colors.’
    • ‘Using the graph paper, design your stenciled floor.’
    • ‘The stencil system includes a working area, at which the circuit boards are stenciled.’
    • ‘The open-plan room, which has about 15 tables, is very fresh looking with light walls, stencilled with vines, dragonflies and balustrades.’
    • ‘It was a beautiful room, with its chequerboard tiled floor and delicately stencilled creamy walls.’
    • ‘A white UN helicopter, stenciled with the blue symbol, buzzed to and fro.’
    • ‘Wash and dry the chosen fabrics to remove the sizing, and make sure any hard surfaces to be stenciled are clean and dry.’
    • ‘Continue building the design, adding stenciling with complementary paint colors.’
    • ‘Bluff Point, Spalding and Sunset Beach residents will have noticed roadside drains in their suburbs have been stencilled with the slogan ‘Water To The River’.’
    • ‘The banks of the river were 20 feet tall and vertical and stenciled with numbers - mile markers painted by Los Angeles County, which now manages the channel along with the Corps.’
    • ‘But when he opened the door stenciled EMPLOYEES ONLY, no one was there.’
    • ‘The Shelburne Museum in Vermont, the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and Old Sturbridge Village all have stenciled coverlets imitating the Whig Rose appliqué design.’
    • ‘Eventually the money went for a program to stencil the drains to tell everyone not to pour motor oil into the sewers, and some home-improvement loans.’
    • ‘If you don't have an embroidery machine, consider spelling out ‘Laundry’ with iron-on letters or stenciling.’
    • ‘‘Drink this,’ she said, handing me a dainty teacup stenciled with primroses filled with the substance she had just made.’
    • ‘Set in the ceiling were small plaster panels with renditions of bookplates; the walls were stenciled with representations of bookbindings; and quotations about books embellished the broad wooden cornice.’
    • ‘Each panel is stenciled with a large date and a small text that provides an artist's name and the title of a work.’
    1. 1.1 Produce (a design) with a stencil.
      ‘stencil a border around the door’
      • ‘She might be guilty of trying to make you stencil sunflowers onto your kitchen walls, but that is not a crime.’
      • ‘The name and registration number of the ship were stenciled near the nose, and a large, idealized picture of a flaming bird in dark reds and oranges wrapped around the forward fuselage.’
      • ‘But the chimney receives a fresh coat of beige paint each year with the name stenciled out in giant black letters.’
      • ‘The pair also stenciled a set of unsigned prose ‘poems’ on various walls throughout the exhibition.’
      • ‘I've never been arrested for stenciling political messages on footpaths.’
      • ‘He had spent the day stenciling tiny Christmas trees along the border of the sign.’
      • ‘The idea spread, and by now anonymous participants have stenciled the phrase in over 20 cities, he says.’
      • ‘The words State 51 had been stencilled on the gate.’
      • ‘They had printed in white stenciled letters their message on the inside of the leaf… which is silly because leaves fall with the outside upwards, so all the messages were obscured but one.’
      • ‘Cover the albums with pretty fabric or lace and stencil the recipient's initials on the front to personalize it.’
      • ‘Labour has assiduously made capital from that little nugget ever since, even stencilling the phrase on its campaign cars to remind people.’
      • ‘A very few quilts actually contain stenciled or embroidered designs along with the pieced or appliqué work.’
      • ‘You can even add a stenciled cut-out design around the edge of the box.’
      • ‘They stenciled the images onto various public places, like the telephone box pictured above.’
      • ‘His words, in old-fashioned Ottoman Turkish, are stencilled on the wall.’
      • ‘Last week, he stencilled nine images onto the Palestinian side of the West Bank barrier in Israel.’
      • ‘This guy spent three weeks with a pencil, stenciling a piece on the mural wall.’
      • ‘Shapes are stencilled onto coloured papers to make cut-outs, and onto photos, for cropping them into interesting shapes.’
      • ‘The dots in the background were stencilled in with each one being done by hand.’

Origin

Early 18th century: from earlier stansel ‘ornament with various colors’ (based on Latin scintilla ‘spark’).

Pronunciation

stencil

/ˈstensəl//ˈstɛnsəl/