Laser Cut Cardboard Art Stencil – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Age Ranges

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CITC Fab Lab
CITC Fab Lab
Informal educator
We are Cook Inlet Tribal Council’s Fabrication Lab. We are based out of Anchorage Alaska serving Alaska Native and American Indian students based in the Anchorage school district. We teach design, building, and fabrication with a cultural emphasis. Our different… Read More


This is a basic tutorial on how to create an art stencil out of cardboard or paper. It can also be multiple layers of stencils all of which are easily created and edited in whichever program you use.


What You'll Need

  • Laser Cutter
  • Cardboard or Paper
  • Paints/Spraypaint

The Instructions

Creating the Stencil

I used Corel for the creation of the stencil. The steps are very simple so the instructions should be easy to follow with any program. The only thing needed before we get started is for you to choose the patterns, details, and number of layers you want. You can draw an image from scratch or trace an image. Using Corel, I chose to trace a simple drawing I found.

Choose your image you want. Import it into the drawing software.


If it is a complicated image, you will have to mess around with the settings in the tracing software you are using. More simple images, like line drawings, are the easiest to work with in the software.

I used this owl I found online. If it is already a vector, then it makes the tracing easier.

Trace the outline of your image in the software. Set the lines to whichever setting you use to tell the laser to cut them.

There should ideally be an outline of your image, filled with other designs/patterns.

Remove everything but the outline and save that as one layer.


This will be the first layer and background of your stencil.

Undo everything and revert to original image. Then delete the outline instead of everything else.

Save this as your second layer.


You can make as many layers as you want by removing everything but certain sections and saving them as separate files.

Cut each file out with the laser cutter. They can be on separate pieces of cardboard, or bunched together on the same piece.

Lay the stencil over whatever you want and start painting in the outline stencil.


Let dry for 15 minutes. Then line the second layer stencil over the image and start painting.