Stencil: Do I Look Illegal?

In honor of May Day and in light of Arizona’s recent racist ass Immigration Law, We wanted to show you how to make your own “Do I Look Illegal?” stencil – a slogan some of the many activists working around this issue have put forward as a rallying call. Stencils are a great way to put a message on just about anything. Please use the following resources responsibly.

So, How to make a Stencil:

1) Make a design. You can draw it or print it or both. This one’s real simple. Some big words typed on a computer, printed on two sheets of scrap paper. You could print it on acetate or cardstock for a more durable stencil, or affix it to a stronger backing. But for us, plain old paper works fine.

Stencil 1 – Prints Tiled Across 2 8.5×11 Pages
2) Cut the stencil out. Now this is where it gets tricky. The most important thing to consider is enclossed white spoace (like in the middle of an “o”). You can either disregard them (as we do here) resulting in a blocky font with no counters or leave small strips attaching them to the rest of the stencil. (check for an example of that in a later post).

3) When you have everything cut out the way you want it, its ready for deployment. We like to tape ours down with masking tape since its flimsy paper. But if you did it on oak tag or cardboard (or even if you didn’t) you can just hold it up in front of whatever surface.
4) Ummm Paint it. Duh. If you are using spray paint, use thin even coats, not one heavy slow one. If you don’t have a can you can use any kind of liquid paint with a roller or sponge or wide brush.

5) Pull your stencil back and go do the next one. If you took the time to make a really nice stencil (on a durable surface) you can use it almost indefinitely.

Also, check out what other folks, like my girl Sofia Snow with First Wave Panama, are doing around this:
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About the author: PS-Pirates

Pen and Sword Political Pirates is a full service graphic / web design firm and a politcial artists collective. Meet Our Team »

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